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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Jan. 26) - The American Samoa Treasury Department is no longer accepting any requests for paycheck advances from government employees, even if the plea comes from a department director.

Treasurer Velega Savali issued a memo last week that was distributed to all government agencies saying "effective immediately," he will not authorize any advance payroll checks.

American Samoa Government sources said this has been a long standing issue where employees are constantly asking for their paycheck in advance because of funerals, emergency cases or travel off-island.

Velega said he will be not be accepting any written or verbal requests from directors for Government employees leaving on off-island trips, to get their paychecks in advance.

The government treasurer, who is a former Legislative Financial Officer for the Fono, suggested that employees sign up for direct deposits either at their respective banks or the payroll division of Treasury. Two American Samoa Government employees said "everyone should use (direct deposit), so they don't have the hassle of road traffic and standing in line."

Under direct deposit, Government employees get their money into their bank accounts sometime over the weekend, before the Monday pay-day.

The memo comes a week after some American Samoa Government employees started complaining that certain cabinet members are helping "their favorite employees" get 'advance' paychecks, while requests by other employees are being ignored.

January 27, 2006

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