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Task force established to review DoH nurses’ salary reclassification proposal

DoH nurses submitted proposal to governor

Through a Sept. 27 general memorandum, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has appointed an eight-member task force to review Health Department nurses’ salary reclassifications, following a proposal by the department’s nurses.

The governor appointed his special assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira to “coordinate and expedite this assessment with the report containing recommendations transmitted for our review and decision” within 30-days after the issuance of the memo.

Iulogologo said DoH nurses submitted their proposal to the governor for his review and action. “Since this is a DoH based effort, the Governor wanted an independent group to review it and make recommendations to him,” Iulogologo said Wednesday responding to Samoa News questions.

“It is the same pathway we are using to review the Teachers and Administrators,” he said referring to the ten-member Teacher and Administrator Compensation Task Force established by the governor on Sept. 13 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the compensation structure and policies for teachers and administrators and to make any recommendations for changes that will improve the system of compensation.

“We will compare the proposal to current salaries being paid to the LBJ Medical Center nurses to obtain base line information on the minimum criteria common within the nursing profession and then assess areas of differentiation to determine criteria from which to develop the salary scale for the DOH nurses,” Iulogologo said.

Besides Iulogologo, other task force members are Human Resources director Le’i Sonny Thompson (or his designee); ASG Budget and Planning Office director Catherine Aigamaua Saelua (or her designee), DoH official Margaret Sesepasara, DoH deputy director Faraitoafa M. Utu; Simamao Tuato’o of LBJ hospital; Dr. Mikaele Etuale of the American Samoa Community Center; and Otomalesau John Ah Sue of the Governor’s Office.

The move to reclassify salaries for nurses at DoH comes at a time when several lawmakers in the past months have stated there is a need to revisit salaries of the nursing professional in the territory — both at DoH and LBJ.

Two DoH nurses told Samoa News yesterday there is a need for the government to “thoroughly review current salaries of nurses in DoH so their salaries are comparable with salaries offered at the hospital and other US jurisdictions.”

“It’s a matter of economy and taking home a good paycheck especially when you have all the qualifications in the nursing profession,” said one of the two nurses — who only responded to Samoa News questions, under the condition of anonymity. They also said that based on their information, there are RNs at LBJ getting paid more than those at DoH.