Oct 27, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – Members of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) are mulling the issue of hiring of a new Town Clerk and several other administrative staffers.
So far, Councillors have expressed a divided opinion on the matter which was raised during a statutory meeting held at City Hall yesterday.
During the discussion, Councillors raised concerns over a motion to vote on the Local Government Commission (LGC) decision not to approve a list of potential staffers for the M&CC.
According to its letter, which was read to the council by acting Town Clerk, Sherry Jerrick, the LGC had deliberated but did not approve the appointment of a number of persons for several key positions within the council.
Among those listed but not approved, according to the correspondence, were Sherwin Benjamin for the post of Town Clerk; Samuel Parris as Assistant Town Clerk and four other persons who applied for key administrative roles within the Council.
The LGC noted that given its non-approval, the Georgetown Council must continue to operate without the appointment of those staffers.
However, the decision did not sit well with some of the Councillors, including coalition representative, Heston Bostwick, who contended that the Council is duly elected and has a right to hire its staff without interference.
The Councillor said that the issue of not hiring the key staffers would put the Council’s operational capacity at a disadvantage. He complained that such a decision should not be left up to the LGC which has been dissolved.
“A new Local Government Commission has to be appointed following agreement by both members of the Government and Opposition, but with the way things are going now between the two parties, we cannot be sure that is going to happen anytime soon. We can’t just sit here and wait for the Commission to appoint these persons,” Bostwick noted as he stood to move a motion to hire new staffers.
The motion was met with strong opposing views from representatives on both sides of the political divide; the People Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) and A Partnership for National Unity +Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition Councillors.
Several Councillors objected to the manner in which the motion to address the matter was dealt with, noting that the motion cannot be tabled unless certain protocols are followed.
Former Mayor Patricia Chase-Greene and PPP/C Councillors, Dimitri Ali and Dwayne Adams, were among those who objected.
While Chase-Greene objected on the issue of protocol and pointed to the illegality if the motion is carried without following the council’s guidelines on such matters, Ali warned that any decision by the Mayor and Councillors to move such a motion would be acting ultra vires.
“You will be moving into a realm of dictatorship and I urge not to go down this dark path,” Ali said.
Other Councillors shared the view that the Council cannot act in the capacity of hiring staff without the approval of the LGC which was given the lawful responsibility to vet and approve staff to be hired by the town councils and other local government agencies.
Following much back and forth between Councillors at the table, the Mayor allowed the Council to vote on placing the matter on the agenda to be dealt with at a later date.
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