Decision on Chief Election Officer stayed

-after legal gambit

A letter sent by an attorney representing Chief Election Officer Gocool Boodoo has called on the elections commission not to conclude its deliberation on whether his contract is renewed until his performance appraisals for 2012 and 2013 are completed and this led to a deferral yesterday of a decision on his fate.

The letter dated June 6, 2013 and addressed to Guyana Elections Commission Chairman, Dr Steve Surujbally said Boodoo was denied due process.

Following the conclusion of a GECOM meeting yesterday where the matter of Boodoo’s contract renewal was discussed, Information reaching this newspaper suggests that Surujbally opted to put the matter aside until he consulted his legal team. The matter will come up for discussion again at a meeting on Tuesday, a source confirmed.

Gocool Boodoo
Gocool Boodoo

The letter sent by Attorney at Law Murseline Bacchus said that on February 15 2013 Boodoo wrote Surujbally indicating his readiness to continue to serve as CEO for another three year term. “To date, he has not received a response to that letter,” said Bacchus in his letter to Surujbally.

Bacchus said that in accordance with Boodoo’s last contract from 2010 to 2013, a performance appraisal is to be completed and this will form the only basis on which the work of the CEO shall be measured. The attorney said that this annual performance appraisal was never done in respect of the 2010 to 2013 contract and that no reason has been proffered for the omission.

“On the 20th of March 2013, by an internal memorandum you proposed a new instrument to replace the existing appraisal for the appraisal of Mr. Boodoo’s performance. To date, no reason or explanation has been proffered for the change of this tried, tested and settled practice of using the existing form for the appraisal process. Indeed Mr. Boodoo was never afforded an opportunity to comment or offer his views in respect of this proposed change,” the attorney said.

It said too that as far as Boodoo is aware, the new process was not used to date and his performance appraisals for the years 2012 to 2013 have not been completed.

“I maintain that performance appraisals must be the only basis on which the Commission considers Mr. Boodoo’s letter of February 2013 indicating his interest in continuing to serve as Chief Election Officer. Mr. Boodoo cannot be held responsible, neither must he suffer any detriment for the failure to conduct and complete his performance appraisals within the requisite timeframe, especially since he duly notified you of his intention of continuing to serve…” said the letter.

The letter pointed out that the responsibility of conducting appraisals resides with the Chairman. “Boodoo respectfully considers your failure to do so in a timely fashion on this occasion is deliberate and is a part of a clandestine design to frustrate his declared interest in continuing to serve as Chief Election Officer. Boodoo also respectfully considers that your failure to complete the required performance appraisals is discriminatory, malicious, vindictive, unfair, unreasonable and arbitrary, especially since performance appraisals of all other managers have been completed in accordance with their respective contracts,” it said.

“In the circumstances, I am to inform you that any consideration of this matter which excludes an evaluation of Mr. Boodoo’s performance appraisals would be unfair, unreasonable, capricious, discriminatory, a denial of his legitimate expectation and due process and accordingly would be unlawful, null, void and of no effect,” the letter from Bacchus said.

“I therefore call on the Commission not to conclude its deliberations unless and until Mr. Boodoo’s performance appraisals are completed and used in the process. If my client’s requests are ignored then he would have no alternative but to seek legal redress,” said Bacchus.

A source within the Guyana Elections Commission confirmed that yesterday’s statutory meeting saw no conclusion on the matter of the renewal of Chief Election Officer’s contract and it is likely that this decision will come next Tuesday.

“There has been no decision made as yet. Hopefully it would be made at the next meeting. We had some discussion but it did not lead to a decision on the matter,” said the source.

Opposition Commissioners on GECOM are adamant that Boodoo must not be returned as CEO because of his role in the miscount of the final results of the November 28, 2011 general elections, almost giving a parliamentary majority to the PPP/C.

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