Apr 05, 2011 News
Outgoing Minister of Local Government Kellawan Lall has asked former City Hall Commission of Inquiry head Keith Burrowes to investigate whether there was any irregularity in the move to have Royston King appointed as Town Clerk.
Kaieteur News understands that Burrowes is expected to complete and report on his findings by the end of the week.
A year ago, Burrowes had completed a tedious inquiry into the workings of the Mayor and City Council upon the instructions of President Bharrat Jagdeo following allegations of several discrepancies in the administration of the entity.
Last week, King, the current Public Relations Officer at City Hall was identified by councilors to take over the position of town clerk, from Acting Town Clerk Yonnette Pluck-Cort.
The move was described by Minister Lall as movements akin to “political shenanigan”.
Lall during a press conference at his Ministry’s Fort Street, Kingston, boardroom early last week described the process of appointing king as town clerk as “null and void …(and) attempts to create mayhem.”
It is the belief of the Minister that the manner in which efforts are being made to have King installed “is going to have some serious implications”, since he said that he was made to understand that King attempted to usurp the functions of the Town Clerk.
The Minister voiced his belief that such an act is characteristic of an offence and therefore he intends to seek legal advice in order to adequately pursue the matter.
“I do intend to hold an investigation into this matter and if it is true King and any other officer in the Council who attempted to usurp the position of the Town Clerk, especially King, I would consider him not worthy of the position of Town Clerk any longer.”
“He claims to be an officer of the Council for 25 years. He is making a pretension to be the Town Clerk but he ought to know what the procedures are; one cannot simply go and start performing and exercising authority of statutory officers in such a manner. He will have to pay the penalty.”
That investigation has been mounted with Burrowes spearheading it.
The Municipal Personnel Officer will also have to give reason why she should not be dismissed, the Minister said, as she allegedly had instructed the Acting Town Clerk, Mrs Yonette Pluck-Cort, to remove herself from office and hand over to King.
King had confirmed that he had assumed the role of Town Clerk following a resolution by the Council to have him act in the capacity until such time that he was appointed by the Minister.
King has since sought legal advice from Attorney-at-law, Nigel Hughes, who in a correspondence to King detailed that he is of the opinion that based on the documents presented, the substantive Deputy Town Clerk (Pluck-Cort) has never been appointed to act as Town Clerk by the Minister.
“In the absence of such an appointment by the Minister, the Deputy Town Clerk cannot act as Town Clerk for the City. Our review of the Council’s records reveals that historically the Council has recommended that various officers of the Council perform the duties of other specific statutory officers.”
These actions by the Council, it was noted, have been submitted to the relevant Minister who has frequently failed to act upon the Council’s recommendation or at all. This inaction, the letter stated, has resulted in several officers of the Council performing the functions of statutory offices for extended periods without confirmation by the Minister. It was further pointed out that these officers have been recognised by the Council and the Minister and on their retirement were assigned statutory duties.
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