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30 percent workforce reduction also considered

By Fili Sagapolutele PAGO PAGO, American Samoa, (Samoa News, Dec. 29, 2010) - Faced with a serious financial shortfall n American Samoa, Governor, Togiola Tulafono is heading towards implementing measures to cut costs that include a reduction of working hours, although all American Samoa Government (ASG) employees will still get their full 80-hours pay next week.

Togiola is even looking at auctioning off government property to "shore up" revenues for ASG.

The Governor met yesterday morning with ASG Treasurer Magalei Logovi’i to discuss the government’s financial situation after implementing earlier this month other cost saving measures, such as a freeze on hiring and pay increments for career service employees.

The next step was to either implement a reduction in working hours or work days, as previously announced by the Governor.

However, following yesterday’s meeting; the governor’s office says that Togiola "is now potentially considering taking extreme measures to sustain essential government operations."

"In addition to the reduction in hours, these measures include a thirty percent reduction in [work] force for government operations not funded by federal grants, the statement says, adding that the Governor’s staff will be working with the Treasurer and the Director of Human Resources to work out a reduction in force plan for the Governor’s review. To shore up revenues, the Governor is also considering auctioning off government vehicles and equipment purchased with local funds," it says.

Togiola will reconvene a meeting today with the Treasurer to finalize measures to become effective next week.

Government employees will be paid their full eight hours on Monday, the statement says.

Payroll for Monday’s government pay day is being processed this week.

With American Samoa Government facing financial constraints, the Treasury Department is also planning to meet with vendors to discuss details of their payments, according to a government official.

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