No pay for officers sent on leave for City Hall probe
City Hall officers, sent on leave more than three months ago, are yet to receive salaries for the period as a result of their failure to formally ‘hand over’ to persons acting in their positions for the time being.
When yesterday’s statutory meeting of the Mayor and City Council was held, Councillor Gladstone George confronted the acting Town Clerk Carol Sooba about the situation. Sooba said she was awaiting advice from the council’s legal adviser before any further action is taken.
Town Clerk Yonette Pluck-Cort; City Treasurer Andrew Meredith; City Engineer Gregory Erskine; Deputy Town Clerk Sharon Harry-Munroe; Director of Solid Waste Management Hubert Urling; and Personnel Officer Paulette Braithwaite were all sent on leave by the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development pending the outcome of a police investigation into financial irregularities at City Hall. Replacements have since been selected to act in the stead of the officers.
Without identifying specifically which officer/s is/are yet to complete their duty of handing over, George said that these persons are being denied their constitutional rights.
“Persons must be paid their salaries! What is the legal standing on procedures for these personnel who have not been paid for three months? It is illegal! That has nothing to do with the people’s salary,” George said, urging his fellow councillors to take a decision to pay the on-leave officers despite the stand taken by Sooba.
Mayor of Georgetown Hamilton Green reminded the council that Minister of Local Government Ganga Persaud, in sending off the senior officers, indicated that it was “vacation leave”.
Councillor Junior Garrett reminded that decisions made by council could not be changed until six months after. “This council made the decision that if they do no proper handover then they will not be paid. We made that decision!” he, however, affirmed.
The issue of handing over was raised some two months ago when Sooba had explained that after several phone calls, these officers have made no effort to perform the handing over.