Local Government Service Commission has over the weekend completed a familiarisation tour to all 19 councils across the country.
According to the newly appointed Chairman of the Commission, John Bosco Kuyateh, the tour was to familiarize the core staff of councils and discuss ways of improving the services of councils.
The Commission was established in 2004 with the responsibility to providing regulatory, performance management and management functions to the ongoing decentralization program pursued by the government of Sierra Leone.
In pursuant to its mandate, the Commission supports Local Councils with the view to establishing effective human resource development systems, regulates local councils, guides in the management of their human resources and develop guidelines in key areas of human resource management, which should be subjected to a number of reviews inclusive of consultations with local councils.
There has been a misconception among the populace that the Local Government Service Commission is dormant, thereby making the councils not to be functioning the way they ought to function. It’s on that note that the Chairman, prior to his approval by Parliament, went through a lot of scrutiny and was charged with responsibility to make sure that the Commission gets back to its feet.
During the conducted tour, Chief Administrators of the various councils complained about improper recruitment and frequent transfer of staff by the administration.
They also lamented late payment of salaries, coupled with political interference into the activities of councils especially in the areas of revenue generation.
They called on the Chair to assist them in ameliorating their logistical constraints and the late disbursement of funds by the government.
For the Chief Administrator of Pujehun District Council, Edward Alpa, the visit of the Chair could not be more timely than now because staff members were slowing losing confidence in the Commission.
“Most staff don’t believe that there is a Commission. They now believe that the Commission is actually there to seek their interest. The visit is timely and such should continue so that staff will have confidence in the Commission and be able to rekindle their hope,” he said.
Speaking, Chair of the Commission, John Bosco Kuyateh, underscored the importance of decentralization implemented by government, adding that it was good for the country if only the real intentions were being implemented.
“I have gone through the Act, but it as if it was prepared hurriedly because they wanted decentralization to take effect at all cost in 2004,” he stated. He has found out a lot of loopholes that need to be addressed or revisited.
“It was the responsibility of the Local Government Service Commission to recruit and hire staff but, it was another agency that is responsible for the payment of their salaries which is the Local Government Finance Department.”
According to him the Local Government Finance Department was with the notion that the councils were overstaffed, adding that upon hearing that information, “I charged my Executive Secretary to prepare a spreadsheet of all staff of all the councils and we later found out that such was not the case.”
He assured staff members that, after this month, their salaries will now be paid promptly and in a more official manner.
Admonishing his core staff members, the Chair of the Commission assured them that all their constraints would be a thing of the past, adding that it would no longer be regarded as a one man show to decide on the functionality of the administrative work of the councils. AT/18/1/18
By Austin Thomas
Friday January 19, 2018.