It would be highly irregular for the Mayor’s office to manage the sale of ‘spots’ for Mash Day

Dear Editor,

The sale of ‘spots’ for Mash Day vending, a revenue-earning activity of the city council ought not to be executed/managed from the Mayor’s office. This would be highly irregular.

This activity must be viewed as an economic project that ought to be administered and supervised from the office of the Town Clerk ag, or the City Treasurer’s office under the direction and supervision of the Town Clerk, ag. It is a revenue-garnering opportunity for the council, not for individuals on the council.

The Town Clerk is the Chief Executive Officer of the council, responsible to the council to ensure, inter alia, that all financial activities/events are strictly monitored to ensure they are approved by the authorized authority, recorded, transparent and not done in ad hoc fashion, devoid of transparency and/or in breach of financial or other regulations. There is no executive function or authority reposing in the Mayor or his office or the council itself. They cannot usurp the duties and responsibilities of the Town Clerk or City Treasurer.

There are issues to do with issuing of valid council receipts for monies collected from the public; the recording of these sums collected in the financial records of the council; providing financial statements summarizing the revenue, authorized expenditure and surplus from these activities. There are officers authorized by the Municipal and District Councils Act to deal with these financial matters and they are certainly not the Mayor or Councillors randomly selected.

May I remind all the interested parties in this matter that I did write the Mayor and Town Clerk in 2013 and again in 2014 expressing my concern with respect to reports reaching my office pointing to several anomalies with respect to the implementation of council decisions by the Social Development Committee of the Council. These included claims of “free spots or discounts on spots for family, friends, specific organisations.” There were also issues of persons/organisations who were tardy in paying and those who had to wait for lengthy periods to be paid. Be reminded of the ruckus occasioned by the irregularities of the 2014 activities as a result of the political interference by the Mayor and sidekicks.

Financial records reveal that since the event is being managed by the Town Clerk’s office the net revenue to the council has increased significantly.

While the council may wish to have a committee, by whatever name it is called, to oversee the sale of spots and other related activities, it is the City Treasurer, acting under the direction and supervision of the Town Clerk who must manage these activities. Furthermore, the requirements of transparency and accountability require that there be a separation of the roles of policy formulation and policy implementation.

Let us work together to ensure that Mashramani 2015 celebrations are a success story and, in so doing, give credence to the theme of our 2015 Mashramani celebration: ‘One People, One Culture, One Celebration.’

Yours faithfully,
Norman Whittaker
Minister

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