The Linden Mayor and Town Council (M&TC) is going through the mill of politics. The reason I am writing is to enlighten you about the present situation and to highlight the fact that the senior players are not eager to change the current dispensation.
The M&TC Linden in its latest saga fired its Treasurer (myself) of one year (by month) citing my failure to prepare and present documents that both the Ministry of Local Government and the councillors have in their possession. The specific allegations were as follows:
1. Failing to prepare and submit the Estimates for the year 2013 ‒ by the way, this is a budget that was approved by the Minister and they received last year’s budget which was approved in August of 2012 for 2012. I took up the office of treasurer in mid-October 2012 and according to the law the budget was due by Nov15. The budget process is due to start in March of every year, and this year as usual the Chairman of the IMC refused to sign the budget so we had to get the Vice Chairman to sign it so that it would meet the next deadline.
2. Failure to prepare and present the Final Accounts of the council for the year 2012. This is a document which was presented to the Town Clerk, who refused to sign it and did not take it to any meeting. Yet I am being fired for this reason.
3. For not making timely submissions of the monthly reports. To get this straight you have to understand how the process goes. The staff prepares from receipts and presents statements of income and expenditure to me; I then put it in the local government format so that it can be presented to the Town Clerk and tabled at meetings of the finance committee. At finance committee meetings I am told always that the numbers I bring to the council are incorrect, and further I cannot go back to August because I am only responsible for September onwards. So I take the brought forward totals from August to make up the September report only to be told again that the August numbers are wrong, the January numbers are wrong and all the other months in 2012 before me are wrong. As a consequence we sought ministry intervention, and they came and found out that the numbers that I presented were the correct ones. So I presented my totals again ‒ guess what, they were wrong!
4. For failing to use the ministry format for reporting ‒ this is utter nonsense, since I was the one who insisted on doing this, and the Chairman of the IMC called my staff without me and said that the reports must have the following changes.
If these are the ways in which I broke the law then I am entitled at the very least to a hearing. By the way, never before has the council made a recommendation to the ministry to remove a treasurer from office, so here we are ‒ a council without its principal officers:
the treasurer – fired
the personnel officer – quit (after two months)
the environmental officer – quit (after about 10 months)
the works supervisor – retirement leave (and the person below him refuses to take this office because will get lower pay)
the clerk of market – acting (thus reducing her statutory powers)
A point to note is that the Regional Chairman made at least one attempt to meet with the Town Clerk and the Chairman of the IMC, but they are always busy.
As I stated at the beginning of this letter, the current senior players seem not to want to change the current dispensation in Linden.
I thank the entire staff of the municipality who have been protesting since Monday. They are on a sit out which is expected to intensify.