LGC Commissioners, staffers finally paid

first_imgAfter 2 monthsEmployees of the Local Government Commission (LGC) have finally been paid, after waiting for over two months for the Communities Ministry to release the monies.This was confirmed by a commissioner of the constitutional agency on Friday, who noted that while the payments were disbursed, concerns are still being raised as to why the Commission has not been aligned to the Fiscal Management and Authority Act, so as to acquire control of its financial expenditures.Without this document, there are inaccuracies in the salaries which are set aside for some commissioners, since this amount was a temporary fix until the amendment was intact. Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan was responsible for ensuring that all legislations were in place when the Commission was established.“They paid what was owed but they never paid what was budgeted for us for 2019. I think the issue with which budget agency we’re under was just because they didn’t want to pay us proper salaries. Some of the staff are being paid way above the public service while some of the commissioners are still given a small salary, like a stipend,” the commissioner said.The commissioner questioned why the LGC is recognised as a constitutional agency but not as one which can manage its finances.“What was budgeted for us was never paid. From the time the Commission was sworn in, we were receiving this payment because although we are a constitutional agency, the Communities Minister was supposed to do a simple amendment to ensure that we are aligned to the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act. Although the 2019 budget was approved, they refused to give us. How are we recognised for everything as a constitutional body, but we’re not recognised for payments,” the commissioner added.This issue was brought to the fore some weeks ago, to which Chairman of the Commission, Mortimer Mingo, explained that the Permanent Secretary of the Communities Ministry, Emil McGarrell, refused to countersign documents to release funds for salaries and other expenses.“It then became apparent, by a way of a letter received by the Commission from the Deputy Permanent Secretary… that the Ministry was not in agreement with the level of pay that the Commission’s staff was receiving, since according to the letter, these salaries were not in keeping with the traditional public sector emoluments,” Mingo had said.As such, the LGC opted to settle the matter through a meeting with McGarell on January 28, but the Permanent Secretary did not withdraw his decision not to sign the documents.This sparked some controversy with former Local Government Minister, Ganga Persaud who placed the blame on Bulkan, stating that operations were stymied due to the withholding of funds.“If this Government can react to its Commission and the 27 staff members that it has done, then I think it is really unjust. It is a travesty and an injustice against the working people of this country. It is a crime against humanity,” Persaud had told Guyana Times.According to Persaud, this move is aimed at leaving the Commission with no other option but to relinquish its responsibilities to the Ministry, another way for Government to take control of local democratic organs. All entities under the Commission are also deprived of payments for this time.Persaud said to rectify this issue, the Commission must be duly established to function as any other constitutional body.last_img read more