Chair of Public Service Commission Issues Statement to All CEOs and Public Servants

”During these unprecedented times with our political environment, I believe our public servants need hope. Hope that their jobs are secure, and that the new government has our best interests at heart. Hope that what they do daily, still matters, and that they can truly make a difference". 

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The Chair of the Public Service Commission, afioga Lauano Vaosa Epa, has issued a statement to all Chief Executive Officers and Public Servants as Samoa navigates a change of Government for the first time in 40 years.

“Let me hasten to state that in these unprecedented times, we find ourselves as public sector Chief Executives and leaders working in an era of stormy political discourse and facing yet another predicament in confidence in our government. I know this has been a time of profound change, no doubt extremely uncertain and volatile for some of you”.

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The PSC Chair offers encouragement and empathy to her colleagues while reminding them of their role to serve the government of the day and the ultimate goal of working for the good of all people in Samoa.

“As your current Chairman of the Public Service Commission, and a fellow public servant, let me say that I understand and acknowledge the rollercoaster of emotions you are all experiencing right now as after all we are only humans. While we may have different callings and titles as public servants, each of us has a name and a story. We have families, friends, dreams, fears; we are as every bit as vulnerable as they come..

“That said, I continue to feel an undiminished pride in working as a public servant, and I know you do too. I truly believe that this country is blessed with innovative, dedicated and creative public servants, like yourselves The value of public service is vital to our way of life and the success of our communities as a whole”.

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To the Heads of Government Ministries and State Owned Enterprises, Lauano calls on CEOs to be a “beacon of hope” for their respective teams.  

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” During these unprecedented times with our political environment, I believe our public servants need hope. Hope that their jobs are secure, and that the new government has our best interests at heart. Hope that what they do daily, still matters, and that they can truly make a difference”. 

“As public sector leaders, I truly believe that your actions now will shape the desire of your employees to continue to serve, in times like these. I urge you to focus on reinforcing that belief across your organizations, that they are working for the public good and have an important role in shaping a better future for Samoa”. 

A former CEO for the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Lauano reminds the public service of their responsibility to serve the country.

“Regardless of our political affiliations, we are here for one purpose, and one purpose only – to serve the people of Samoa to the best of our abilities and God-given talents. Balancing the needs of the many is a complex task, and even the most astute and wise politicians make mistakes. But more often than not, these individuals stand by their duty to do their absolute best for all and do their job in making difficult choices that frequently will not please everyone. We also as public servants have a duty to our beloved Samoa, and we must uphold it as such”.

Lauano also makes mention of proper communication channels, most likely in view of a widely shared Facebook post of an unsigned letter entitled, “Open Letter to Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa”.

“Finally, let me hasten to remind our class of CEOs and Public Sector leaders, that in bringing to the fore any concerns or issues you would like the Government to address, there are proper processes and official communication channels to execute and facilitate such matters”. 

Lauano’s Internal Memo is published in verbatim below:

To: All Chief Executive Officers & Public Servants 

PSC CIRCULAR MEMORANDUM 2021/2022 0

Afioga e

WE SERVE THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DAY, REGARDLESS OF WHO THAT MAY BE 

It has been brought to the attention of the Public Service Commission that there are correspondences relating to the new government, circulating amongst public servants mainly through the social media. These, as we have come to understand, are in the form of a letter or petition, and it voices your displeasure with recent undertakings involving some of your fellow Chief Executive Officers. It is noted that some of these writings expresses mixed emotions, from feelings of frustration, to anger, and with fears of losing one’s employment. 

Let me hasten to state that in these unprecedented times, we find ourselves as public sector Chief Executives and leaders working in an era of stormy political discourse and facing yet another predicament in confidence in our government. I know this has been a time of profound change, no doubt extremely uncertain and volatile for some of you. 

As your current Chairman of the Public Service Commission, and a fellow public servant, let me say that I understand and acknowledge the rollercoaster of emotions you are all experiencing right now as after all we are only humans. While we may have different callings and titles as public servants, each of us has a name and a story. We have families, friends, dreams, fears; we are as every bit as vulnerable as they come. 

That said, I continue to feel an undiminished pride in working as a public servant, and I know you do too. I truly believe that this country is blessed with innovative, dedicated and creative public servants, like yourselves. The value of public service is vital to our way of life and the success of our communities as a whole. 

Consequently, it would be remiss of me not to remind you all of the significance of your role as a public servant, not just to the government of the day, but to the people of Samoa. As such I wish to remind you of our responsibilities: 

  • We serve the government of the day, regardless of who that may be

As public servants, our obligations stipulated under our respective legislations though in particular the Public Service Act 2004, is to remain politically neutral. We have a duty to serve the government of the day, regardless of who that may be. We must: 

Be honest and impartial; 

Work carefully and diligently; 

Treat everyone with respect; 

Use official information only for official purposes; 

Act with integrity; 

Uphold the values of the public service 

Uphold the good reputation of the public service.

 

We have a responsibility to serve the country 

Regardless of our political affiliations, we are here for one purpose, and one purpose only – to serve the people of Samoa to the best of our abilities and God-given talents. Balancing the needs of the many is a complex task, and even the most astute and wise politicians make mistakes. But more often than not, these individuals stand by their duty to do their absolute best for all and do their job in making difficult choices that frequently will not please everyone. We also as public servants have a duty to our beloved Samoa, and we must uphold it as such. 

  • Spirit of service

Under my leadership, the PSC has recently introduced and incorporated the term “Spirit of Service” across the organization; it was the theme of our Office Review for this year. It can mean a lot of things to different people. But a spirit of service is one that ultimately puts the needs of the country and your agency clients, before yours. It is more of a what’s in it for the whole country rather than what’s in it for me. It’s about how I can make our own small niche in this vast universe a better place to exist in through my enhanced skills and knowledge – selfless giving. After all, in the realm of public servants and service, that’s what it’s about, isn’t it? Its ensuring that you’re not in the public service for personal gain or benefit, but because you have the skills and knowledge, to contribute to the betterment of your country, and for the greater good of our people.

I believe this is crucially important, particularly for us in the leadership domain; I believe we have a responsibility to drive change, and to get the public service ready for the future. 

  • Chief Executives should be seen as a beacon of hope for your staff 

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” During these unprecedented times with our political environment, I believe our public servants need hope. Hope that their jobs are secure, and that the new government has our best interests at heart. Hope that what they do daily still matters, and that they can truly make a difference. 

As public sector leaders, I truly believe that your actions now will shape the desire of your employees to continue to serve, in times like these. I urge you to focus on reinforcing that belief across your organizations, that they are working for the public good and have an important role in shaping a better future for Samoa. 

  • Proper communication channels

Finally, let me hasten to remind our class of CEOs and Public Sector leaders, that in bringing to the fore any concerns or issues you would like the Government to address, there are proper processes and official communication channels to execute and facilitate such matters. 

I sincerely trust that this be taken in the true Spirit of Service according to our calling, for God and Country.

Lauano Vaosa Epa, Chair of Samoa’s Public Service Commission.