Minister revokes appointment of Linden Town Clerk

The Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan in his deliberative judgement has taken a decision to revoke the appointment of  Jonellor Bowen, who served as Town Clerk of the Linden Mayor and Town Council, a release from the ministry said today.

The revocation of her appointment is effective immediately.

Bowen, the release said, was served with a letter of revocation which cites Sections 118 (1) and 326 (4) of the Municipal and District Councils Act, Chapter 28:01.

She was appointed on June 28, 2012 by former Minister within the Ministry of Local Government, Normal Whittaker. Her employment became effective on July 3, 2012.

The Ministry of Communities thanked Bowen for her service and wished her the best in her future endeavours.

A year after local government elections, the minister continues to exercise functions which were intended to be carried out by the Local Government Commission. The government is still to clear the way for the appointment of this commission which it had championed while in opposition.

The Linden Town Council on July 27, 2016 passed a no-confidence motion against Bowen. This was the third such motion brought against Bowen and the second by the current council.

However, Bowen remained on the job until October, 2016 when the Mayor Carwyn Holland sent her on administrative leave, pending the report of a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) set up by Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan. The CoI was tasked with investigating all complaints and matters raised by the Mayor and Town Council (M&TC) regarding Bowen’s performance, as well as the no-confidence motion brought against her.

Bowen had argued that the motion was illegal since it did not conform to the conditions as set out in the Municipal and District Council’s Act. The council had accused Bowen of malicious attempts to stymie the development of the municipality and bring the council into disrepute.

After five hearings held between September 1 and 19, 2016 the commission, led by former regional chairman Mortimer Mingo, recommended that Bowen be reassigned to another post in the Ministry of Communities.

This recommendation was made even though the commission agreed that the no-confidence motion had not followed legal procedures.

The recommendation was based solely on the commission’s concern that Bowen’s temperament and attitude may lead to further stymieing of the work of the council since there were frequent clashes between her as head of the council’s administrative arm and the members of the political arm including the Mayor.

In presenting its findings the commission noted that “from the evidence presented it was clear that very little was being done at the time of the investigation in terms of serving the Linden community” because of the impasse between the Town Clerk and the council.

Bowen however returned to her post on March 1st this year as Ministry of Communities Permanent Secretary, Emile McGarrell had chosen not to have her reassigned.

In a letter to the Mayor of Linden, McGarrell noted that the procedural flaws attached to the no- confidence motion moved against Bowen could not be supported and that a transfer would not be approved rather he directed that Bowen be reinstated. Bulkan has now taken a different direction.

Jonellor Bowen

 

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