C.E.O. defends $121,000 six months contract

JF
By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i, 17 February 2019

A former Chief Executive Officer of the Land Transport Authority (L.T.A.) has been hired by the authority on a six-month contract worth $121,000.

But the current Chief Executive Officer, Galumalemana Taatialeoitiiti Tutuvanu-Schwalger, has rubbished claims there was “favoritism” in the hiring of her former boss, Leasi John Galuvao as a consultant.

Galumalemana told the Samoa Observer that the hiring of Leasi was important, due to a significant number of urgent road works that the Authority is implementing as the organisation currently has capacity issues. 

Leasi served as the C.E.O. for the Authority for three consecutive terms, before Galumalemana was appointed to the position last year. 

The Samoa Observer contacted Leasi, who declined to comment, but made it clear he did not go looking for a job at the Authority.  

“The Board and the C.E.O. reached out to me for assistance,” he said. 

Leasi signed his contract with the L.T.A. last Wednesday. 

According to Galumalemana, the “urgent road works” include one for the Pacific Games to be completed before July.

His contract will also cover major donor-funded projects such as the reconstruction of the Vaisigano Bridge, upgrading of the West Coast Road, the construction of the Loto Samasoni crossing, the construction of the Maliolio Bridge and the executing of critical road maintenance.

“To ensure any project delays are minimized, we have been forced to outsource some of our current operational work, until such a time when we will have finalised our recruitment processes and filled some of our vacancies within our technical divisions,” he said.

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“To avoid discontinuity in works and ensure that our road works meet set deadlines, the LTA have been hugely fortunate to acquire the services of Leasi Galuvao. 

“As a consultant, Leasi will assist the LTA’s technical Divisions over the next few months on a periodic basis but not as a permanent employee of LTA.” 

Furthermore, the C.E.O. said Leasi is a qualified Civil Engineer and is registered with the Institute of Professional Engineers Samoa (IPES) and possess over nine years of work experience. 

“He is very familiar with L.T.A. engineering works as well as management. Leasi’s invaluable experience means ensuring a smooth transition, into the operations of L.T.A. and high levels of productivity being maintained.” 

In relation to the contract, Galumalemana said Leasi’s contract was procured in accordance with the guidelines “Government Procurement and Contracting: Consulting Services 2014” and the Ministry of Finance’s Samoa Consultancy Remuneration Framework 2018. 

All aspects of the contract are within the L.T.A. Board’s scope of approval.

“L.T.A, like every other government Ministry/Authority, are continuously challenged to meet resourcing needs to ensure the cost-effective, cost-efficient running of our operations. 

“It has been a constant struggle for L.T.A. to fill vacant positions in its technical Divisions due to the limited pool of engineers and other technical professions within Samoa. 

“L.T.A. has always taken a proactive approach in recruitment of Engineers, this has been done through our Student Work Experience Scheme. 

“Working in collaboration with other government Ministries, we have focused on aspiring youth who wish to pursue an Engineering career. 

“With unwavering support from the L.T.A. Board, we actively head hunt local Samoan students undertaking studies in a Bachelor of Engineering degree in universities overseas. 

“We offer these students work experience during their holidays so that they may gain practical work experience which is a pre-requisite of an Engineering degree,” explained Galumalemana. 

She further told this newspaper that the said initiative affords the Authority the opportunity to present itself as an organisation that has a progressive outlook in investing early in Samoan youth, to build an organisation for the Samoa of tomorrow.

JF
By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i, 17 February 2019

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