American Samoa legislature confirms Economic Development Authority nominees
On July 22, 2021, the House Budget and Appropriations Committee approved the Governor’s nominees for the American Samoa Economic Development Authority. The three nominees are the Director of Public Works, Faleosina Voigt, currently the chair of the board and its longest-serving member, Director of Commerce Petti Matila, and Chief Procurement Officer Ti’alemasunu Dr. Mikaele Etuale were all approved. Interestingly, the members of the Budget and Appropriations Committee did not have any questions for the trio of nominees.
The peculiarity of this proceeding continued into July 23, when the trio was approved by the full House of Representatives. Usually, House confirmation votes are done by secret ballot, but this time, the vote was done by a simple show of hands. The trio was easily confirmed by a unanimous vote.
During the hearing in the full House, Vice Speaker, Fetu Fetui, said that Voigt, Matilda, and Etuale all had the prerequisite qualifications that will allow them to provide the necessary expertise and service to the Board of the American Samoa Economic Development Authority.
Following his statement, Vice Speaker Fetui moved that the three nominees be excused so that the members of the House could vote. His motion was approved.
As Ti’alemasunu, Voigt, and Matila have already been approved by the Senate, the approval of the House was all that was necessary in order for them to receive government approval for their new roles.
However, during the hearing with the Budget and Appropriations Committee, the chairman, Representative Vailiuama Steve Leasiolagi reminded them that this hearing was only for their confirmation. There will be another hearing for approval by the American Samoa Economic Development Authority Board in the future. The approval of the board is necessary for the nominees to assume their roles and begin to help the economy of American Samoa by helping to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and begin to recover in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.