“Still under consideration,” was Rep. Puleleiite Tufele Lia Jr’s response when asked about rumors that he is stepping down from his House seat to devote full attention to being interim CEO and chairman of the Board of the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority.
Governor Lolo Moliga appointed the Sua faipule as Chairman of the Board of ASTCA in April and the following month Puleleiite took over as interim CEO.
In an interview with KHJ News yesterday, Puleliite said stepping down was under consideration but he was elusive as to whether it was the House seat he would be leaving or the ASTCA positions he now holds.
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In the House of Representatives, Puleleiite chairs the Communications Committee which reviews legislation and conducts hearings on telecommunications related issues.
Many have said it’s a conflict of interest to have a lawmaker be the chairman of the Board and also Interim CEO.
When asked about this, Puleleiite, who previously headed ASTCA’s technical division, and spent more than ten years at the helm of Blue Sky’s Engineering section, said under the executive order establishing ASTCA, the governor appoints the chairman.
He said after their appointment, the new ASTCA Board decided that he step in to take charge of the ASTCA operations and make needed changes.
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The CEO position was advertised and there were three applicants, whom the board didn’t feel were up to par.
According to Puleleiite, come September, the position will be re-advertised and hopefully a new CEO will be appointed.
Asked if he would apply, Puleleiitte’s response was, “Like I said it’s under consideration.”
Former CEO of ASTCA Alex Sene Jr., is no longer working for ASTCA.
Puleleiite said his contract ended in July and Sene didn’t agree with terms of a new contract as head of the Technical Division, a position he was transferred to when the new Board came in.
ASTCA Engineer Carl Sene resigned two months ago.