Govt. moves to change law for Cabinet to appoint A.C.E.Os

By Sarafina Sanerivi ,

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Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi and Ali’imalemanu Alofa Tuuau.

Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi and Ali’imalemanu Alofa Tuuau. (Photo: File)

One more responsibility will be added to the Cabinet’s list of things to do once the Public Service Amendment Bill 2017 is passed.

That responsibility is the appointment of Assistant Chief Executive Officers for any government department.

The proposed amendment says all A.C.E.O positions are appointed by the Head of State, on the recommendation of Cabinet. 

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi clarified the changes saying this new process will lift the status of A.C.E.O’s.

The selection of Chief Executive Officers and A.C.E.O’s were originally done by the Public Service Commission. 

However, since 1991, the appointments of C.E.O’s were made by Cabinet. 

And soon, the selection of A.C.E.O’s will follow the same process. 

Speaking during his weekly media conference, Tuilaepa said the change is important.

“The main objective is that, if we select the right person to be the A.C.E.O, he or she can automatically move up to become the next C.E.O,” said Tuilaepa. 

“So the status has been lifted for A.C.E.O. The selection of A.C.E.O’s is now very important. I can say that before this, Cabinet didn’t really care about the selection of A.C.E.O. But that is going to change.”

Tuilaepa said a Special Panel would be chosen by Cabinet to interview applicants before a decision is made by Cabinet. 

“As you know the selection of A.C.E.O is based on their qualifications and their academic backgrounds. 

“That’s why we have a special panel to interview the applicants. They will then report to the Cabinet about whom they think is the right person to do the job. Once we (Cabinet) agrees, then we will inform the Head of State and then the appointment will be made.”

When the bill was tabled in parliament this week, concerns were raised by some Members of the House.

M.P. for Alataua West, Ali’imalemanu Alofa Tuuau said it appears as if the government no longer trusts the P.S.C in carrying out one of their core functions.

“If this is the case, it would leave the Commission (P.S.C) less than 50% of the work responsibilities to tend to, which is unacceptable,” she said.

Faumuina Wayne Fong, M.P for Urban West, backed Ali’imalemanu. 

“Cabinet should leave it to the Commission to carry out its roles and duties.”

He said things should stay the way it is.

“The Cabinet should focus more on major issues and should not spend much time on minor responsibilities such as the appointments of A.C.E.Os.”

However, Member for Faleata West, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi, showed his support for the proposed change. 

Leala agreed that the proposed change addresses the weakness in the existing selection process. 

“The change will put more emphasis on the importance of selecting the right people to do the job.”

He also raised concerns over the lack of right of appeal by those whose contracts have not been renewed; or one’s right to question decisions made by Cabinet. 

The bill now stands referred to the Standing Orders, Electoral, Petitions and Constitutional Officers Committee for Scrutiny. 

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