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Banks v. American Samoa Gov’t,

BARBARA BANKS, Petitioner

v.

AMERICAN SAMOA GOVERNMENT, Respondents

High Court of American Samoa
Appellate Division

AP No. 030-85

December 5, 1985

__________

The personnel advisory board's decision that one of two conflicting processes for selecting a person for a government position was the correct one is an executive decision not reviewable under the Administrative Procedures Act.

The mere aspiration for a particular position does not create in a person seeking that position a vested interest subject to protection under the Administrative Procedures Act.

The proper procedure to contest a Personnel Advisory Board decision affecting a person's vested interest is to seek review at the trial, not the appellate level, of the High Court.

If the decision of the Personnel Advisory Board resolving a dispute within the executive branch regarding the selection of a person for a government position violates a person's civil, common law or statutory rights that person may proceed against ASG in the Trial Division of the High Court or the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.

Before MURPHY, Acting Chief Justice, ALA'ILIMA*, Acting Associate Justice, TAUANU'UChief Associate Judge, and VAIVAO, Associate Judge.

Counsel: For the Appellant, William Reardon
For the Appellee, Donald Greismann, Assistant Attorney General

This matter comes before the Court on a Motion by the Respondents for summary judgment. Present were the Petitioner with her counsel Mr. Reardon, esq. and representing the respondents was Mr. Greisman, Assistant Attorney General.

The posture of this case is that Mrs. Banks is appealing to this court for review of the Personnel Advisory Board's decision ordering the hiring of Mr. Penei Sewell instead of her. Admittedly the Personnel Advisory Board's decision had a direct and substantial impact on Mrs. Banks' aspirations for the position in question and she may have some cause for complaint. However, the procedural route taken by Mrs. Banks in this [2ASR2d89] instance is not available. The Personnel Advisory Board in this instance was reviewing two conflicting selection processes held for one government position.

The Personnel Advisory Board's decision that the original procedure for selection was proper and ordering the hiring of Mr. Sewell is an executive decision which is not reviewable under the Administrative Procedure Act. Mrs. Banks was not a party before the Personnel Advisory Board and her mere aspiration for the position is not a vested interest subject to protection under the Administrative Procedures Act. She has no standing. Even if we were to find some vested interest there is adequate review provided at the trial Level and pursuant to A.S.C.A. sec. 4.1040(b) the appellate court would decline this review.

The Personnel Advisory Board's decision resolved an internal dispute within the executive branch about a selection procedure. If that resolution violates Mrs. Banks' civil rights or other common law or statutory right she should proceed with an action in the Trial Division against the American Samoa Government or in the alternative the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.

Motion for summary judgment is granted.

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*Honorable Charles Ala'ilima, Judge, District Court of American Samoa, sitting pro tem by designation of the Secretary of the Interior.