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Senate confirms two nominees to the ASEDA Board of Directors

Port Administration Director Falenaoti S.A. Loi-On Fruean (left) and Governor’s Legal Counsel Terry Van Eaton

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Senate last Friday confirmed the governor’s nomination of Falenaoti S.A. Loi-On Fruean and Terry Van Eaton as members of the American Samoa Economic Development Authority (ASEDA) Board of Directors.

Before the Senate session, a brief hearing by the Government Operations Committee was held where the two nominees testified.

At the beginning of the hearing, committee vice chairman Senator Magalei Logovi’I, who is also a member of the ASEDA Board, explained that both Mrs. Loi-On Fruean and Mr. Van Eaton were currently serving on the board after they were selected in February to serve out the terms of two former members.

Port Administration Director Falenaoti S.A. Loi-On Fruean had continued the tenure of her predecessor, the late Christopher King, while the Governor’s chief legal counsel, Terry Van Eaton replaces former counsel, Jason Mitchell.

Senator Magalei clarified that now that their predecessors’ tenures have officially expired on July 10, 2023, Gov. Lemanu P. S. Mauga has again nominated the two to be full members of the ASEDA Board of Directors.

In his letter to Senate President Tuaolo Manaia Fruean, Governor Lemanu stated that Mrs Loi-On Fruean “currently serves as the Director of Port Administration. Prior to her current position, she had been the Department’s Deputy Director since January 2020. She has held various positions in that department since January 1994.

 “She began her education in American Samoa and after graduating from the American Samoa Community College, she received her B.S. in Economics from the Northwest Missouri State University in 1993 and her M.A. in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix in 2005.

 “Director Falenaoti’s educational accomplishments and her long history with the Port Administration will make her a valuable member of the Board.”

In his nomination of Terry Van Eaton, the governor stated, “Counsel Van Eaton had joined our office of the Governor’s Legal Counsel last year.

 “Most recently, he served as Director of Compliance with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. In that role, he was responsible for the auditing needs of all its state and federally funded programs.

 “Before that, he worked as Attorney III in the Nebraska Department of Revenue handling tax disputes and litigation. Counsel Van Eaton brings valuable legal and finance expertise to the Board.”

When Vice Chairman Magalei opened the floor, Senator Fonoti Tafa’ifa Aufata responded by asking Counsel Van Eaton how the COVID-19 federal funds had been utilized.

Van Eaton explained that he had just joined the Office of the Governor’s Legal Counsel last year and he had no knowledge of how the funds were distributed or spent.

Senator Malaepule Saite Molliga thanked Senator Fonoti for bringing up this very important issue and requested that the Senate look into this matter at an appropriate time.

During the Senate session which followed, members voted by written ballot on the governor’s nominees. Falenaoti S.A. Loi-On Fruean was confirmed unanimously while Terry Van Eaton was confirmed with a vote of 12 to 2.

The two new members of the ASEDA Board of Directors will serve until June 30, 2027.