– Spent Council’s funds without permission
A proposal to suspend both the Town Clerk and Treasurer for seven days was made yesterday following the disclosure that they spent Mayor and City Council’s funds without recommendations from the Finance Committee and ratification by the Council.
Four Councilors voted in favour, one Councilor voted against, while the others abstained. There were 11councilors and the Mayor at the meeting. In the end the motion was misplaced because the Council does not have the power to suspend the Council officers.
This occurred yesterday during Council’s last Statutory Meeting for 2011, following a motion by Councilor Gwendolyn McGowan to suspend the meeting’s standing orders and discuss the Council’s financial situation. It was seconded by Councilor Patricia Chase-Green.
Treasurer, Andrew Meredith, who was responding to a question posed by Councilor McGowan concerning incentives and payment of staff before the Christmas weekend, revealed that the Treasurer Department’s staff received incentives in addition to their salaries before Christmas while 10 staff who are directly involved in garbage collection and drainage works did not receive payments.
This revelation was met with disgust by Councilors. Meredith, who did not have the support of the Town Clerk, Yonette Pluck, since she was absent, continued to justify the payment of incentives and the non-payment of other staff.
He explained that the non-payment of staff was due to a hiccup in the system and the focus should be the ‘Christ’ in ‘Christmas’ and not the jolliness. This response enraged Councilors who started calling for him to be immediately removed.
Councilor Eon ‘Watusi’ Andrews stated that he has never heard a more disrespectful explanation for the non-payment of staff. He stressed that the Union should be held responsible, since at no time staff should be rewarded while receiving salaries and others left without a salary.
When asked who approved the payment of incentives to the Treasurer Department’s staff, Meredith replied that the Finance Committee did. Immediately Councilor Junior Garrett, the newly elected Chairman of the Finance Committee objected.
The former Chairman Deputy Mayor Robert Williams is hospitalized.
Garrett contended that the Committee never recommended the payments of incentives and further any payments would have had to be approved by the Council.
He asserted that Meredith’s explanation that the staff were paid their entitled one percent of the total amount received during the recent 42-day amnesty period was flawed. Garrett stressed that other staff and Councilors played an integral role in encouraging taxpayers to utilize the amnesty period to make outstanding payments.
In addition, the Council is unaware of how much money is the one percent.
A junior staff within the Department alleged that the two most senior officers in the department received $360,000 each in incentives while the junior staff were paid $30,000 each.
While the Councilors urged for Meredith’s removal, Councilors Agard and Hector Stoute shared differing views. Councilor Agard noted that his removal is drastic since the Council did not lose anything and that it was not a matter of dishonesty.
Councilor Hector Stoute did not share those views. He cautioned the Councilors that they need to write concerning the issue. He said that the Minister of Local Government and Regional Development needs to be informed and an internal investigation must be conducted.
Some Councilors disagreed with Stoute stating that Meredith acknowledged the misdeed. It was finally accepted by Mayor Hamilton Green that a proposal must be made to suspend the Treasurer.
However, he was interrupted by a Councilor who pointed out that someone senior to Meredith had to approve the payments.
Apr 02, 2020The National Sports Commission (NSC) has informed the media via a Press Release that the general public is advised that all facilities under the commission will remain closed until May 01, 2020. List...
Apr 02, 2020
Apr 02, 2020
Apr 02, 2020
Apr 02, 2020
Apr 01, 2020
History is replete with the destructive side of human nature. In countless instances, the mind is unable to grasp the motives... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders On 20 March 2020, a reckless and irresponsible General Assembly (GA) was held by the Organization... more
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]