Government recruitment panels a charade: M.P.

The Member of Parliament for Salega, Olo Fiti Vaai, says Ministers should simply “handpick” top Ministry executives because Cabinet's ability to overturn recruitment panel's recommendations makes them a waste of time and money.

“It is a total waste of time when the Cabinet can easily trash the decision by the panelists despite its strong recommendation,” said Olo. 

His comments follows the recommendation of a selection panel to re-appoint To’oto’oleaava Dr. Fanaafi Aiono Le Tagaloa as the Samoa International Finance Authority (S.I.F.A.) C.E.O. That advice notwithstanding Cabinet chose not to renew her contract earlier this month. 

He described To’oto’oleaava Dr. Fanaafi as an asset to the Government. 

“She holds a Bachelor in Law; a Bachelor in History and also has a PhD in law; and yet Cabinet opted to re-advertise the position. [They] may as well [have] handpicked the C.E.O. of S.I.F.A.,” said the M.P. 

Olo was a member of the Parliamentary Committee with remit over the Authority; he judged To’oto’oleaava a talented and bold leader. 

“This is happening too often,” said Olo. 

Earlier this year, another Member of Parliament, Sulamanaia Tauiliili Tuivasa, accused the Cabinet of interfering with the Public Service Commission’s recruitment process for Chief Executive Officers. 

The M.P. made the comments in Parliament during debate  bill to amend the Ministry of Health Act 2006 and repeal the National Health Services Act 2014. 

“It’s also good to hear that Public Service Commission will soon focus on the training aspect of the Government workforce. One of their mandates is the interview process for Chief Executive Officers – and in completion of the interview process [and] the Public Service Commission has finalise their decision and they are ready to appoint their recommended candidate.," the M.P. said, 

“However, Cabinet turns around and [changes] the recommended candidate and so it is a total waste of time. May as well just announce the vacancy and the candidates appear before Cabinet and let them decide,” he said during the debate. 

But the Prime Minister rejected the M.P.’s comments. 

“This must be corrected as it is wrong. There is a panel of three that conducts the interview and the process is not always perfect and waiting for the decisions are 13 Cabinet Ministers," he said at the time. 

According to the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers have experience in hiring people. 

Tuilaepa said that 95 per cent of the decisions by the Public Service Commission are honored by the Cabinet. 

“The [remaining] five per cent are decisions the Cabinet knows [are] not quite right – and also the 13 Ministers know much more than the three panelists – conducting the interview process. 

“Also the proverb we hear, the older you become the wiser you are and all the Cabinet Ministers as you can see are very wise."



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