The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development, Fuimapoao Beth Onesemo-Tuilaepa, has tendered her resignation.
But she denies that her decision to resign, and therefore not reapply for her position, is related to a Public Service Commission (P.S.C.) investigation into the handling of “human resources matters” at the Ministry.
“I have tendered my resignation and I have three more months to serve,” she told the Samoa Observer yesterday.
“My strength is strategic thinking, to start things moving but sometimes, in order to sustain, complete and see the changes through I think there is a need for a whole new set of skills. I think this time, it is time for someone new to come in, sustain and continue the changes.
“It has nothing to do with the inquiry.”
Among the issues being investigated is her decision to replace five of seven Assistant Chief Executive Officers at the Ministry.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer yesterday, Fuimapoao, who had served as the Chief Executive Officer of P.S.C. prior to her M.W.C.S.D. role, said the changes needed to be made. She also welcomes the P.S.C’s investigation.
“The terms of reference for the Inquiry is to look into human resources matters,” she said. “We have been going through a lot of changes of mandates, focus, approaches, programmes, lots of changes. And the challenge is the implication of these changes amongst the staff that are needed to deliver the mandates of this office.”
According to Fuimapoao there was little integration, systems, services and programmes when he arrived.
“So part of the changes that I have been leading in the past three years, is to change the approach and so we now take an inclusive development approach,” she said.
“In doing so there is no longer a division for women alone, it is now a social development division which looks at development needs of families.
“The former division for youth is now doing economic empowerment for everybody and the former division for internal affairs which was the division for men in the past is now looking at governance.
“These changes have been quite challenging for a lot of people.”
According to Fuimapoao, in the past the Ministry carried out a lot of programmes such as giving courses for sewing and printing.
“Whereas the core function of every government is policy, coordination of the implementation, planning, monitoring and its evaluation. Obviously with these changes, and just like every change, it is quite challenging,” she said.
“And especially when you require someone who has been doing the same work for the last twenty years to now come and do something different.
“The changes have not been as smooth as I would have liked it to be.”
Fuimapoao said the changes have been tough on her and the Ministry.
“The reality is we have been trying to address the core issues of violence against women and girls and for many years and the recent survey in 2016 showed that the numbers are going up,” she said.
“And as with anything, if you try to fix the same problem with the same solutions, you’ll end up in the same place.”
She said that part of the inquiry by P.S.C. looks at the new changes.
“We now have a mandate, new focus and a new approach and they are looking at the skillset that are needed and the competencies so that the Ministry can facilitate or best deliver the new changes,” she said.
“I am looking forward to the report and seeing the good changes, what needs to be improved and if there are any negative changes.”
“I have tendered my resignation and I have three more months to serve,” she said.
Asked as to why she has tendered her resignation yet her goals have not been fulfilled, she said: “My strength is strategic thinking, to start things moving but sometimes, in order to sustain, complete and see the changes through I think there is a need for a whole new set of skills.
Fuimapoao said there are also issues with the employees including changes of A.C.E.O. positions and these are hard decision that had to be made.
“Out of the seven originals A.C.E.O. that I had, I made changes through the merit on five positions, because you do need new leadership skills for the work that is required for the mandates.”
It was not possible to get a comment from the P.S.C. yesterday.