Chapter 01 - Governor and Lieutenant Governor

Chapter 01 - Governor and Lieutenant Governor

Reviser’s Comment: PL 15-23 § 1 (1977) provided:
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Omnibus Local Governor Act of 1977.

4.0101 Election of Governor.


The Governor and the Lieutenant Governor shall be elected at the same time as the U.S. Presidential year general elections.

4.0102 Qualifications of Governor and Lieutenant Governor.


(a) Candidates for the office of Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall be:

(1) either a United States citizen or a United States national:

(2) a bona fide resident of American Samoa for 5 years immediately preceding the election; and

(3) at the time of assuming office, 35 years of age or older.

(b) Persons otherwise qualified for nomination as candidates for either Governor or Lieutenant Governor are not precluded from nomination for reasons of not qualifying under paragraph (a) (2) of this section if by reasons of absence from American Samoa the absence occurred in connection with:

(1) service with the armed services of the United States;

(2) service with the United States Government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities;

(3) service with the government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities; or

(4) while in the pursuit of his or her education.

(c) Persons who are serving as the incumbent appointed Governor and Lieutenant Governor at the effective date of this chapter are not eligible for election to the office of Governor or Lieutenant Governor at the first gubernatorial election in American Samoa.

(d) Any person convicted of a felony under the laws of American Samoa, the United States, or the laws of any state of the United States is not eligible for election to the Office of the Governor or Lieutenant Governor unless the convicted person has been pardoned and has had his civil rights restored.

(e) Any person separated from the Armed Forces of the United States under conditions other than honorable is not eligible for election to the Office of the Governor or Lieutenant Governor.

(f) Candidates for the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor who are employees of the government in whatever capacity and for either the executive, or judicial branches, must resign their position with the government before commencing active campaigning. “Active campaigning” includes but is not limited to: the acceptance of a petition from the election official charged with that responsibility; any effort whatsoever that is designed to influence or obtain votes from qualified electors; and any activity that would cause a conflict of interest at the candidate’s position of employment with the government. In any event, candidates must resign no later than 60 days prior to the election date even if the events above have not occurred.

4.0103 Nomination procedures.


The candidates for the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall be nominated jointly by filing a petition in the same manner as candidates for members of

the House of Representatives except that the nominating petition for candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall be signed by at least 300 qualified electors without regard to their representative districts.

4.0104 Election procedures.


The Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall be elected jointly, by a majority of the votes cast by qualified electors. Each vote shall be applicable to both candidates. If no candidates receive a majority of the votes cast in any election, on the fourteenth day thereafter a runoff election shall be held between the candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor receiving the highest and second highest number of votes cast.

4.0105 Term of office.


The first elected Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall serve terms of 3 years each from 12 noon on 3 January 1978 until 12 noon 3 January 1981 and until their successors are elected and qualified. All succeeding Governors and Lieutenant Governors shall serve terms of 4 years each commencing on 12 noon on 3 January next after their election and terminating at 12 noon on 3 January 4 years later, and until their successors are elected and qualified.

4.0106 Line of succession.


(a) In case of temporary disability or temporary absence of the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor has the powers of the Governor.

(b) In case of permanent vacancy in the office of Governor, arising by reason of the death, resignation, removal by recall, removal by impeachment, permanent disability of the Governor or the death, resignation, or permanent disability of the Governor-elect or for any other reason, the Lieutenant Governor or Lieutenant Governor-elect shall become the Governor, to hold office for the unexpired term and until he or his successor shall have been duly elected and qualified at the next regular election for Governor.

(c) In case of temporary disability or temporary absence of the Lieutenant Governor, or during any period when the Lieutenant Governor is acting as Governor, the powers of the acting Lieutenant Gover4nor shall be exercised by the Attorney General, then the Treasurer.

(d) In case of temporary disability or temporary absence of both the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, the powers of the Governor shall be exercised, as acting Governor, by a person as the law may prescribe. In case of a permanent vacancy in the offices of both the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, the office of Governor shall be filled by the Speaker of the House for the unexpired term.

(e) In case of permanent vacancy in the office of Lieutenant Governor, arising by reason of the death, resignation, removal by impeachment, or permanent disability of the Lieutenant Governor, or because the Lieutenant Governor or Lieutenant Governor-elect has succeeded to the office of Governor, the Governor shall appoint a new Lieutenant Governor, subject to confirmation by Legislature, at a special session called immediately for that purpose, to hold office for the unexpired term and until he or his successor shall have been duly elected and qualified at the next regular election for Lieutenant Governor.

4.0107 Right of succession.


No person who has been elected Governor for 2 full successive terms may be again eligible to hold that office until one full term has intervened unless otherwise provided by law.

4.0108 Recall procedure.


(a) Governors of American Samoa may be removed from office by a referendum election in which at least 2/3 of the number of persons voting for Governor in the last preceding general election at which a Governor was elected, vote in favor of recall and in which those so voting constitute a majority of all those participating in the referendum election.

(b) The referendum election shall be initiated by the Legislature following:

(1) a 2/3, or more, vote of the members of each house of the Legislature in favor of a referendum; or

(2) a petition for the referendum to the Legislature by qualified electors equal in number to at least 50 percent of the whole number of votes cast for Governor at the last general election at which a Governor was elected preceding the filing of the petition.

4.0109 Impeachment.


(a) The Governor and the Lieutenant Governor are subject to impeachment and, upon conviction, shall be removed from office.

(b) The Legislature shall provide for the manner, procedure, and causes for impeachment including for conviction of felonies and for a course of conduct amounting to a gross abuse of power, as defined by law.

(c) The House of Representatives has the sole power to bring articles of impeachment upon a vote of at least 2/3 of the entire membership. The Senate has the sole power to try impeachment, with the Chief Justice presiding, and, may not convict unless at least 2/3 of the entire membership concur. The members when sitting for that purpose shall be on oath or affirmation.

(d) Conviction shall extend only to removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of trust, honor, or profit under the Territory. The party, whether convicted or acquitted, is also liable to other prosecution under the law.

(e) At the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner, this section or its substance should be considered as a Constitutional Amendment to the Revised Constitution of American Samoa.

4.0110 Compensation and perquisites-Allowances for former Governor and surviving spouses-“Former Governor” defined.


(a) The Governor is entitled to an annual salary of $85,000 and other perquisites provided by law including but not limited to: the rent-free use of Government House (the Governor’s official residence in Fagatogo); the free use of vehicles for executive,

ceremonial duties and family use; and a reasonable food, beverage and entertainment budget for the official residence specified by line item in the Governor’s annual fiscal budget.

(b) The Lieutenant Governor is entitled to an annual salary of $75,000 a year and other perquisites as provided by law including rent-free government quarters, and free use of a vehicle for executive, ceremonial duties and family use.

(c) Each former Governor shall be entitled, for the remainder of his life, to receive from the American Samoa Government a monetary allowance at the rate per annum of 60% of his highest salary during his last year in office, payable monthly by the treasurer of American Samoa Government.

However, such allowance is not payable for any period during which such former Governor holds an appointive or elective office or position in or under the American Samoa Government or the Federal Government to which is attached a rate of pay other than a nominal rate.

(d) The surviving spouse of each former Governor shall be entitled to receive from the American Samoa Government a monetary allowance at the rate per annum of 30% of the former Governor’s highest salary during his last year in office, payable monthly by the Treasurer of the American Samoa Government. The monetary allowance of such surviving spouse;

(1) commences on the day after the former Governor dies;

(2) terminates on the last day of the month before such widow;

(A) dies; or

(B) remarries; and

(3) is not payable for any period during which such widow holds an appointive or elective office or position in or under the American Samoa Government or the Federal Government to which is attached a rate of pay other than a nominal rate.

(e) As used in this section, the term “former Governor” means a person:

(1) who, on or after January 1, 1978, shall have held the office of the Governor of the Territory of American Samoa for a full term of at least 4 years;

(2) whose service in such office shall have terminated other than by removal pursuant to A.S.C.A., 4.0109 of this chapter; and

(3) who does not then currently hold such office.

(f) Funds shall be made available from the Office of the Governor’s budget.

4.0111 Powers of Governor-Appointment and confirmation.


(a) The elective office of the Governor of American Samoa is created. The Governor is responsible for the faithful execution of the laws. The Governor has powers and duties and responsibilities as delegated to him from time to time by the President of the United States or his designee, those portions of the U.S. Constitution applicable to American Samoa, the U.S. law applicable to American Samoa, the Revised Constitution of American Samoa, the American Samoa Code and by the direction of his own executive rules.

(b) The Governor has general supervision and control of all departments, offices, divisions, bureaus, agencies or instrumentalities of the executive branch of the government.

4.0112 Appointive powers and confirmation procedures.


(a) Appointive powers of the Governor and the legislative confirmation procedures are as follows: directors of cabinet departments (those under 4.0301), and the heads of bureaus or offices who do not report either to the head of a cabinet department or to the head of a bureau or office whose appointment is subject to confirmation by the Legislature, shall be appointed by the Governor, and confirmed by a majority vote of the entire membership of each house of the Legislature. All other appointments shall be by the Governor unless by law that particular position is subject to confirmation by the Senate or by the Legislature.

(b) Nominations of appointments made during an adjournment of the Legislature or less than 5 legislative days from the end of a legislative session shall be acted upon at the next regular session convened.

(c) Appropriated funds shall not be used to pay employees for service in positions requiring confirmation if their names are not submitted for confirmation prior to the end of the next regular session after they begin service in those positions, and no person shall serve as an acting director of a department, office, or bureau for more than 90 days whether consecutive or not, without confirmation by the Legislature.

(d) If a nomination of appointment is rejected, the authority to serve in office ceases immediately. Failure to confirm a nominee at a session at which his confirmation is considered does not preclude the Governor from resubmitting that name for the same position, at the next succeeding session.

(e) The head of each executive department, bureau, or office subject to confirmation may hold office during the continuance in office of the Governor by whom he is appointed and until his successor is appointed and qualified unless sooner removed by the Governor.

(f) It is the specific intent of this chapter to empower the newly elected Governor to select his own team of department, bureau, and office heads, subject to confirmation.

(g) All department heads incumbent upon the first day of the administration of the newly elected Governor, 3 January 1978, shall automatically tender their resignations effective that day. This resignation procedure shall be followed by incumbent department, bureau, and office heads, subject to confirmation, by tendering their resignations effective on the first day of a new Governor’s administration.

4.0130 Powers of Lieutenant Governor.


The elective office of the Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa is created. The

Lieutenant Governor has executive powers and duties as prescribed by the revised Constitution of American Samoa, the American Samoa Code or delegated by the Governor. The Lieutenant Governor has no legislative duties or functions.

4.0131 Delegation of executive authority.


Authority but not the responsibility vested in the Governor or any other persons in the executive branch of the government may be delegated by that person to other officers and employees of the executive branch.

4.0140 Authorization to borrow money and incur indebtedness.


The Governor is authorized to allow the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority (ASTCA) in the name of the American Samoa Government, to borrow money and incur indebtedness for infrastructure projects, and mortgage, assign, hypothecate and give security interests in ASTCA property and earned revenue to secure such indebtedness. Such authority to borrow shall be limited to only funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service (RUS) made available on July 2, 2009 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This authorization to borrow money and incur indebtedness shall in no event exceed a total aggregate amount of ten million dollars ($10,000,000.00) and shall be limited for the purposes set out in ASTCA’s application for funding dated August 21, 2009.