12 Nov 2012

American Samoa utility chided over electioneering

1:49 pm on 12 November 2012

An American Samoa senator, Galea'i Tu'ufuli, says the American Samoa Power Authority, or ASPA, is acting like a political action group with its campaign against the veto override referendum.

The veto would have given the Fono the power to override the governor's veto, rather than the US Secretary of Interior.

He says by sending employees a memo to vote no on the referendum, the board and management were infringing on the first amendment rights of employees to vote without pressure or influence from their employer.

The memo claims the Fono didn't appropriate adequate funding for ASPA over the past three budgets and had not approved mandated subsidies.

The company says this forced it to establish new fees to cover costs.

The ASPA board and management charged that some Fono members were trying to exert budgetary control over the utility.

But Senator Galea'i says ASPA has become too big and powerful it doesn't like the Fono reining in its spending.