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Raises for ASG employees must be in FY 2012 budget

Through a new executive order, Gov. Togiola Tulafono made it official for the Treasury Department to pay in January next year increments for employees of the Executive Branch as long as the increments are already budgeted in the current fiscal year 2012.

The ASG FY 2012 budget was approved by the Fono in late September and signed into law by the governor, just before Oct. 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year for the government.

Togiola  revealed on his weekend radio program several weeks ago that he had given authorization to Treasurer Magalei Logovi’i to pay increments for Executive Branch employees. He said paying the increments has been made possible because of the slightly improved revenue collections.

The governor said these ASG employees are deserving of this pay as they were greatly affected earlier this year with the reduction of working hours.

Last December the governor issued an executive order, which included provisions that suspended the “incremental salary increases” for Executive Branch employees and that this benefit could  be restored in FY 2012.

The new executive order dated Dec. 20, this year, states in part that government employees of the Executive Branch “eligible to receive a step-increment increase shall be granted [a] one step-increment increase provided that it was included in the Fiscal Year 2012 budget of the employee’s department or agency.”

Togiola says this policy goes into effect immediately until it is rescinded or repealed.

It was revealed during Fono hearings on the FY 2012 budget that all departments and agencies included in their budget annual increment pay for workers as required by government regulations.

Togiola said that increments have not been paid for four years due to the government’s financial constraints, although such pay increments have been included in the annual government budget all these years.

Several government employees reached by telephone by Samoa News or in personal contact, said they are “very happy” with the pay increment, and that it will help them especially now, with the cost of living on the rise and many personal expenditures to deal with.

“The pay increment comes at the right time after the holidays, when there are bills to pay,” said one Executive Branch employee, who has worked for ASG for more than 10 years. “Despite complaints about the government workforce, there are still a lot of us who are honest workers and deserving of this pay increment.”

Not yet clear from the administration is how many employee will get the pay increment and how much money will be expended. There has been no official word from the Treasury Department on these two issues.