Since its establishment last November, the Local Government Commission (LGC) has received “more than a dozen” complaints from various Local Government Authorities, according to its Chairman Mortimer Mingo.
Mingo told Stabroek News that the LGC is steadily working to establish a permanent base, with a full complement of staff, where it can properly adjudicate the complaints.
“We are eager and anxious to get on with the work… we could not move forward as we wanted to because of the constraint of building and staffing and we had to wait on budget,” he said.
He explained that while the commission has been allocated $110 million in the 2018 budget, it is not yet in receipt of the funds and has therefore not yet employed its full complement of staff nor taken up residence at its permanent location.
It has, however, identified a suitable building in Eping Avenue from which to conduct business and appointed a secretary and accountant. Both members of staff will begin work on March 1st, at which time their names will be announced.
Mingo further noted that with the approval of the Finance Secretary, the LGC has established an account at the Bank of Guiyana and is now awaiting word from Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan, who has been written about the matter. The LGC budget allocation was passed as part of the ministry’s budget and will be disbursed as a subvention.
Despite these challenges, the Chairman noted that the commission has been working and has met a total of 16 times to establish a clear work plan and organisational structure. Advertisements have been placed for an Accounting Clerk, Communications Manager and Human Resources Manager, with the last post set to be re-advertised after a failure to find a suitable candidate.
Once these staff members are in place, the commission hopes to begin handling the over a dozen complaints it has received. According to Mingo, all complaints were addressed to him and he has responded, acknowledging receipt and promising action “soonest.” Asked to clarify the meaning of “soonest,” Mingo noted that he is hoping to be actively considering complaints in “a month’s time”
By that time, the LGC may be in receipt of a new complaint if Georgetown city councillor Sherod Duncan manages to successfully move a planned no-confidence motion against Town Clerk Royston King.
Duncan is actively seeking a co-sponsor of his no-confidence motion against King. He explained to Stabroek News that he has finished a first draft of the motion and has spoken to several councillors about possiblly supporting his action. There have, however, been no commitments, with most asking to first see the full text.
Stabroek News asked Mingo to explain what action would be taken by the LGC if the motion were to be passed at council.
“Once council would’ve taken initiative and followed procedure leading up to the motion, then in keeping with the LGC Act, council will then send it to us. Once it comes to us, we will have to examine the issues which led to the motion. Council will be asked to present its case to the commission and the other aggrieved party will also be given a chance to present their case and the commission will then deliberate and come to a decision,” Mingo explained.