“No public officer is exempted from scrutiny,” Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan said yesterday in response to allegations of mismanagement levelled against Town Clerk of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) Royston King.
King is facing a ‘no confidence motion’ filed by members of the M&CC.
The motion was filed by Alliance for Change,(AFC) Councillor, Sherod Duncan on Monday. Duncan listed a number of issues and accused the Town Clerk of dereliction of duty.
Among other things, the Town Clerk is accused of awarding contracts without following the procurement rules, approving the highly controversial parking meter contract with overseas -based Smart City Solution, (SCS), and leasing the Bel Air Park and the Farnum playgrounds without the approval of the Council.
The motion was filed by Duncan and seconded by fellow AFC Councillor and Deputy Mayor of the City Council, Lionel Jaikarran. The motion is expected to be on the M&CC agenda by the next statutory meeting set for March 12.
However, there are some who believe the motion will not garner support from the majority controlled A Partnership For National Unity, (APNU) Council.
While the mover of the motion, (Duncan) remains confident in his stance, other members of the council including King, have criticised the manner in which it was brought before the Council.
The skeptics believe that it is highly unlikely that the motion will be passed since there was no proper consultation on the matter before it was brought to the Council.
Some Councillors doubt that the matter will even be placed on the Council’s agenda since it is the Town Clerk who is responsible for preparing the programme.
“The Town Clerk has been in the habit of placing what he deems fit on Council’s agenda.”
Commenting on the impending motion before City Hall, Minister Bulkan noted that it is universal knowledge that the Town Clerk is a public officer who is subject to the Council he serves.
“And no public officer is immune to scrutiny …the Town Clerk is a servant of the public and not master; therefore, he cannot refuse the request of the Council. The Minister also noted that any disciplinary action to be taken against an Officer of the Council will be carried by the Local Government Commission.
Section 118, of the Municipal and District Councils Act, Chapter 28:01, states that in the absence of a Local Government Commission, the Communities Minister holds the power to appoint, discipline and disappoint any Local Government Officer.
Town Clerks, like Regional Executive Officers (REOs), were creatures of the Minister and under those circumstances only the Minister could have disciplined or dismissed them.
However at this point, it is unclear too whether the matter will reach the level of the recently constituted Commission.
Since his appointment to office, Bulkan has issued marching orders to at least two Town Clerks.
In 2016 in his deliberative judgment, Minister Bulkan took a decision to revoke the appointment of Jonell Bowen, who served as Town Clerk of the Linden Mayor and Town Council. Previously, Bulkan issued marching orders to Town Clerk (Ag) of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) Carol Sooba.
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