By Alfred Sasako
FOR 18 years, he served as under-secretary in as many as eight ministries, twice as provincial secretary.
But last week Stephen Walaodo Maesiola landed the big one – he was appointed Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID).
Island Sun caught up with him over the weekend, when he was “familiarising” himself with his new office environment.
You have no computer on your desk, I remarked.
“No, I don’t. Police have taken the computer as part of their investigation,” he said.
“I’ll be getting a new installed soon. There are lots of challenges here, I can see,” Mr Maesiola said.
“I can see cleaning up the Ministry administratively is a challenge – things like the accounts here, the shipping grants and so on,” he said.
These challenges are not new for the man who entered the public service in 1996, when he was appointed Provincial Secretary for Makira/Ulawa Province.
The two-year appointment was the stepping stone for more to come. In 1998, he was under-secretary for the Ministry he now heads. Two years later, he was appointed Provincial Secretary for Guadalcanal Province, a position he held for another two years.
He held under-secretary positions in a number of other Ministries, including the Ministry of Youth, Women and Sports [2001-2002], Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace [2003-2004] and the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination (2004-2005).
When Mr Maesiola was under-secretary of the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services (2011-2017) he was tasked with securing funds to settle gun owners’ claims.
Despite some minor hiccups, in general the program went smoothly, with gun owners receiving payments after waiting more than a decade.
Maesiola holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Development Studies from the University of the South Pacific where he later graduated with a Master of Arts in Governance.