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Lolo admin’s cost containment order issued due to fed shutdown

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga and Lt. Gov. Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Before the partial federal government shutdown ended last Friday — with affected federal agencies re-opening Monday this week — Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga had issued a general memorandum outlining cost saving measures due to the shutdown.

This was the memo, which outlined the measures that the Department of Education then used to cancel (last Friday) sporting events that resumed Monday this week after the governor intervened.

It noted that “Overtime is not permitted,” and that directors are responsible for managing the schedules of their employees to ensure that government services are provided and no overtime is incurred. And if there are “extreme circumstances”, then any overtime must be approved by the governor before it is incurred.

According to Lolo, travel using local funds “is not permitted” while trips fully paid for by federal funds or other sources are permitted upon arrival (of funds) — any exception must be approved by the governor.

He also made clear that there “shall be no new hires using local funds.” However, if “there is an extreme need in order to provide critical government services then that must be explained to the Governor in a letter and the hire will require his approval,” the memo said.

For contract renewals, Lolo explained before could be renewed, directors “shall review, scrutinize and justify the contract to ensure that the position is needed before its renewal.”

“Our local government is beginning to feel the effects of the... federal shutdown,” he said in the memo.

As previously reported by Samoa News, federal legislation to re-open certain federal agencies is up to Feb. 15th.

Samoa News understands that the Lolo Administration is working on finalizing financial information on the impact to ASG of the 35-day partial shutdown, which began Dec. 22, 2018 — affecting some 800,000 federal workers.