Kolonia, Pohnpei: March 12, 2024 — Governor Stevenson A. Joseph and Lt. Governor Francisco L. Ioanis presided over their first cabinet meeting, assembling the first confirmed cabinet members and acting heads of Departments/Offices. The gathering, held at the Lt. Governor’s Office, laid the foundation for an administration centered on communication, transparency, and collaborative governance.

Those in attendance included confirmed cabinet members:

Belsipa Mikel-Isom, Attorney General

Stanley Etse, Director of the Department of Education

Luciano Abraham, Director of the Department of Land

Daniel Isaac, Administrator of Transportation and Infrastructure

And Acting Department Heads:

Dr. Marcelle Gallen, Acting Director of Health Services

Kehper Joel, Acting Director of Public Safety

Clay Hedson, Acting Administrator, OFA

Reynold Bardellas, Acting Commissioner, PTA

Eugene Eperiam, Acting Director, R&D

Alperina Donre, Acting Election Commissioner

Also in attendance were Public Affairs Officer, Peteriko Hairens, Commissioner of Pohnpei Public Broadcasting Corporation, Peterson Sam, Executive Officer of EPA Francisco Celestine, Overseas Development Assistance Unit Coordinator Shirley Ligohr, and Chief of Finance Judy Rodriguez.

In his opening remarks, Governor Joseph articulated the importance of checks and balances within the governmental system, emphasizing the need for regular updates on work plans and supplemental budget requests. He underscored the crucial role of open communication, urging cabinet members to keep him and Lt. Governor Ioanis informed at all times.

Governor Joseph emphasized the shared responsibility of the cabinet, asserting that Department Heads are tasked with implementing the agenda set by the Executive Leadership. Emphasizing the administration’s commitment to teamwork, he shared, “Any wins or victories are ours, but any failure is mine,” reinforcing the shared responsibility among the members of the administration.

The Governor also looked forward to fostering a positive working relationship with the Legislature, advising all stakeholders to collaborate effectively for the benefit of the state.

Addressing the acting cabinet members, Lt. Governor Ioanis assured them of their full authority as the heads of their respective departments/agencies, empowering them to make decisions that propel their initiatives forward. This directive aligns with the administration’s commitment to efficient and responsive governance.

To ensure transparency and dissemination of the administration’s vision, Chief of Staff Kapilly Capelle distributed copies of Governor Joseph’s first State of the State message to all cabinet members and acting cabinet members.

The inaugural cabinet meeting serves as a testament to Governor Joseph and Lt. Governor Ioanis’s commitment to an open, collaborative, and accountable administration. The administration eagerly anticipates working hand-in-hand with the Legislature and other stakeholders to achieve the collective goals set forth for the betterment of Pohnpei.

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