The City Treasurer (Ag) of the Georgetown Municipality is among staffers sanctioned by the Local Government Commission, (LGC) over displacement of monies belonging to the council.
During a statutory meeting of the Mayor and City Councillors (M&CC) at City Hall yesterday, Town Clerk (Ag) Sherry Jerrick revealed that City Treasurer (ag) John Douglas and Sergeant Ivor Bryan, Sonia Pitt, and Yolanda Forde have been suspended for several weeks following deliberations by the LGC.
In addition to the suspended staffers, two junior employees of the council were warned about their conduct by the LGC.
According to Jerrick, the decision to sanction Douglas and others was taken at a duly convened meeting of the LGC in December.
In a letter written to Douglas, the disciplinary committee ordered that Douglas be suspended for one month without pay, for negligence and dereliction of duty.
The charges laid against Douglas are due to a breach of the standard operating procedures for escorting and dispatching revenues collected from the Bourda market.
The monies were supposed to be deposited in the bank on behalf of the Georgetown M&CC on June 20 last.
Reports indicated, however, that weeks later a staffer of the council found the bag of cash bearing the M&CC seal in the vehicle of the Chief Constable.
A complaint was lodged at the LGC and an investigation was launched.
In a subsequent correspondence to Douglas, the LGC noted that it had considered all the factors, including the explanation provided by him and officers, who handled the money.
However, the LGC said the fact that Douglas failed to act on a computer-generated report handed to him and which indicated that the deposit was not made, determined that his action/omission amounted to negligence or dereliction of duties on his part.
In ordering the suspension, the Commission warned the City Treasurer that if he is found guilty of committing similar offences anytime in the future, he is liable to face stiffer sanctions.
Further, the Commission urged Douglas to be more focused and diligent when carrying out his duties as City Treasurer.
Douglas was scheduled to proceed on leave by January 12, 2020. However, City Mayor Ubraj Narine sought to advice the Council that the move to suspend the Treasurer at this time will have a severe impact on the Council.
“We are currently in preparation of our budget. Should the Treasurer proceed on leave now, it would severely impact on the operations of the Council,” the Mayor warned.
The Mayor advised that the Full Council vote on a motion to have Douglas’s suspension deferred until after the budget preparations are complete in March.
The Mayor’s recommendations were met with some opposing views from around the horseshoe table.
Councillor Ayodele Roache quoted sections of law and warned that the Council cannot unilaterally overrule or trump the authority of the LGC. She advised the council that as a result she would not be participating in the motion to defer the treasurer‘s suspension.
Roache abstained, but the motion was nonetheless carried by a majority vote of the full Council.
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