Some exec branch workers still paid below Gov’s salary threshold
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Before the conclusion of last week Thursday’s cabinet meeting, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga told executive branch directors that there are still workers getting paid below the new $12,000 salary threshold and he wants it increased to $12,000 annually.
Lolo identified the local Education Department, Port Administration and Public Works where there are some workers paid $11,000 annually or lower. He told directors to submit paperwork to correct the salary to $12,000 for anyone paid under this threshold.
He reminded cabinet members that one of the actions by the administration early on was to raise a village mayor’s salary to start at $12,000. And all executive branch workers should also make $12,000 for any below this salary threshold.
Another reminder for cabinet members is their reports to be submitted to the transition team for the administration to put together its report to be presented to the new incoming administration.
ASG compensation threshold policy for graduates holding Associate of Arts degrees and high school diplomas entering the workforce,was established by Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga through a directive issued in July of this year, which is also when the new policy went into effect.
“To expand the integrity of the concept of elevating the quality of new entrants into the government’s work force by encouraging the young people to obtain higher educational credentials, a salary threshold of $16,000 is established for Associate Degree holders,” the governor’s directive states.
For high school diploma holders, the salary threshold of $12,000 is “to reflect the workplace demands for educated workers with the capacity to assimilate new technological requirements in all professional fields,” the governor explained.
Those already in the ASG workforce holding an Associate degree or high school diploma with salaries below the new thresholds will have their salaries adjusted utilizing the adjustment ratio of 3:1 — three years of service since obtaining the degree or diploma to one increment step.
The maximum salary adjustment is set at 5 steps, the governor pointed out.
As to the justification of this new threshold policy, the governor said building the quality of the workforce, measured by effectiveness and productivity, through recruiting employees with higher educational credentials, “is the fundamental driver of this new policy.”
“Sending a clear message to the young people of American Samoa that education is the keystone to employment recruitment also reflects one of the underlying factors which facilitated the creation of this policy,” the governor explained.
“Convincing and persuading college graduates to return home to support our skill-set needs currently satisfied by expatriates added impetus to the articulation of this policy pronouncement,” he said.
The governor further explained that this initiative is intended to send the message to existing employees without educational credentials to take advantage of the distance learning programs to obtain educational credentials.
“Setting the salary threshold for the lowest entry level for the American Samoa Government workforce takes into account escalating cost of living compelling the establishment of a living wage also gave substance to this policy as well,” Lolo pointed out.
He instructed the ASG Human Resources Department to implement this policy.
The governor pointed out that incentivizing the territory’s youth to pursue the highest educational level is triggered by the direct correlation between educational attainment, work performance, and professional success.
ASG — during the Lolo Administration — established salary thresholds for all bachelors and masters’ degree holders to clearly articulate the desire of the government not only to motivate engagement in post graduate studies, but also to compel college graduates to return home to stop dependence on expatriates to provide the skill-sets needed by the local government and businesses, according to the directive.
The salary thresholds established for a bachelor and master degree are $23,000 and $27,000 respectively.
The federally mandated minimum wage under “government” activities for American Samoa is currently at $5.21 per hour.