City Hall senior officers have complained about conduct of Councillors Duncan and Marks

Dear Editor,

The Mayor and City Council has received several worrying reports from its senior officers about their dissatisfaction with the behaviour and conduct of certain Councillors. Officers complained that two Councillors in particular, Sherod Duncan and Andriea Marks, have been constantly attacking the Chief Administrative Officer of the council, Royston King, in very personal ways at statutory meetings and in the media. Officers are of the view that after more than two decades the council, under the leadership of this administration, has been revitalizing several systems necessary to provide municipal services to communities.

Over the last two months, it has been observed that both Councillors Duncan and Marks have personally attacked the person of the Town Clerk and other officers. Also, Councillor Sherod Duncan has attempted to impugn the good character of the Mayor of Georgetown.

Since 2015, the administration has been doing all things possible to improve the condition of the city. It has been doing so with very limited resources in very harsh work conditions.

However, the incumbent elected council has not done much to improve the financial situation at the Mayor and City Council nor to improve systems. In fact, for nearly two years, the council has not made any policy to assist the administration with its work or to improve the image of the council.

Instead, certain individual Councillors have been critical of almost every action of the administration without providing alternatives or solutions to existing challenges at the council. The officers noted that notwithstanding repeated requests by the Town Clerk, the council, through its Market/Public Health Committee, has not been able to design a simple policy for vending in the city to guide the administration on how to treat with this aspect of city life. Yet, when the administration takes action to enforce compliance with existing by-laws it is criticized by the very Councillors who have not provided any guidance in this area. After more than one year at City Hall, the elected council has not made one policy on any of the council’s responsibilities or any aspect of the work of the municipality, but has been attacking officers on their work. Instead of making policies certain Councillors have fallen into the habit of interfering with the work of the administration. The role of the elected council is to make policy not to do administrative work.

The officers have written to the Mayor of Georgetown, Mrs Patricia Chase-Green about their concerns. In their letter the officers state that they are professionals, qualified in their respective fields and that they are embarrassed by the behaviour of some Councillors, and that their counterparts in other ministries and agencies are making fun of them. They have requested that as Chairman of the council the Mayor guide Councillors, in particular Mr Duncan and Ms Marks on their conduct, and encourage them to desist from giving inaccurate information to the general public. The Act, Chapter 28:01 is clear in its guidance on the conduct of officers and Councillors.

Also, the officers intend to approach their union, the Guyana Local Government Officers Union on the behaviour and attitudes of Councillors. It would be informed about the high level of disrespect shown to the Town Clerk and other senior officers, and the way the Councillors are sullying the image of the Georgetown municipality by releasing fake news to the press and generally misleading the public. Officers feel that there is need for collective action by the staff of the municipality to secure their integrity and to go forward with the development of the city.

Yours faithfully,

Debra Lewis

Public Relations Officer

Mayor and City Council

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