Cabinet rejects C.E.O. recommendation

The chair of the Chief Executive Officer at the Samoa Life Assurance Corporation (S.L.A.C.) remains vacant after Cabinet rejected a recommendation from the Corporation's Board.

The position has been vacant since April when the former Head of the Corporation, Leiataua Alden Godinet, resigned to take up a position in the Catholic Church.

The S.L.A.C. Board of Directors recently made a recommendation to Cabinet on a replacement after the interview process, which was rejected.

This was confirmed by the Minister of Public Enterprises, Lautafi Selafi Purcell, who told the Samoa Observer that the Board has been instructed to choose another panel to carry out a second interview with the same applicants.

“The interviewing panel was not accepted [by Cabinet]," Lautafi said. "It wasn’t in accordance with guidelines for recruitments approved by Cabinet three months ago."

Asked what guidelines he was referring to, the Minister said: “The new guideline [approved] is that there has to be an independent member and someone from P.S.C. (Public Service Commission).

“I don’t think S.L.A.C. was aware that those changes have been made and (they had gone ahead and) elected the interviewing panel which was mainly Board members as per the old process. (But they have now)  been asked to select a new panel with an independent individual and someone from P.S.C."

The Samoa Observer understands that seven applicants were shortlisted for the interview. The S.L.A.C. Board submitted its recommendation to Cabinet in July.

But Lautafi stressed that the recruitment process must not only be seen to be transparent, it has to appear to be transparent.

Contacted for a comment, Chairman of S.L.A.C., Tuatagaloa Alfred Schwalger, confirmed they have organised a second panel with the required changes.    

Asked why the Board did not follow the guidelines mentioned by the Minister, Tuatagaloa said S.L.A.C. did not receive a copy of the guidelines in question.

“That is why we did it the way we did,” he explained.  “Besides the Board felt that since they will be working with whoever is appointed it was probably more correct [for them] to interview the candidate.” 

The Chairman was also asked if he does not agree that an independent person should be on the panel. In response, Tuatagaloa made reference to the recruitment process from P.S.C. where it highlights the importance of personal attributes. 

“I know it was also in your paper where it said that the problem with the whole system [recruitment] is the personal attribute of a person,” he said. “Because other people don’t know the applicant and can’t really put a personal attribute to that person. 

“So when you have someone from P.S.C. or an independent person that does not know this person they probably won’t know about their personal attribute…”

Tuatagaloa said the Board met on Monday last week to organise the new panel to interview the same applicants.

He added that the Board had submitted its recommendation in but they were only informed recently that it had been rejected.

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