Lolo Urges Strict Enforcement Of Overtime In Am. Samoa

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Thousands of unapproved leave hours ‘puzzle’ governor

By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Jan. 6, 2014) – American Samoa Governor Lolo M. Moliga has issued a stern warning about enforcing compensation and leave time statutes. "The report from the Treasurer on our accrued compensation liability attributed to the accumulation of annual leave, sick leave, and compensatory time has been very disconcerting," said Lolo in a letter sent to his cabinet members last week.

The governor said to each director and agency head they must take "bold steps" to abate factors contributive to this financially crippling trend.

"I’m puzzled by the revelation that some of the employees have accumulated annual leave in excess of 1,000 hours along with compensatory time accumulation dating back to 1999.

This puzzlement stems from the fact that there are existing compensation statutes that prevent an unreasonable accumulation of overtime, annual leave, sick leave and compensatory time," he stated. Lolo pointed out that his administration has failed to enforce these law and "it is time for strict enforcement."

The governor further noted that each director and agency head is to take every step to review all existing annual leave, sick leave and compensatory time and come up with an appropriate strategy to reduce all accrued leave, while at the same time complying with the existing laws.

"I will expect that this desired outcome will be fully complied with before the beginning of the next fiscal year," Lolo said.

He also asked that each department and agency provide the plans for his review, however the director bears the "full burden of resolving this challenge within your respective organizations."

Lolo warned that all excess annual leave, sick or compensatory time will not be carried beyond October 1, 2014.

He added that Human Resources Director, Sonny Thompson will work with the Attorney General’s office to determine the legal avenue to ensure compliance with existing laws while accomplishing what needs to be done to reduce accrued compensation liability.

The governor also mandated that each department and agency is to work with the DHR and the Treasury Department for the proper reconciliation of leave balances.

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