Local Govt Commissioners calls for Town Clerk to be fired

first_imgCity Hall woes…says complaints against him flooding bodyWhile a no-confidence motion against Town Clerk Royston King may have been stopped in its tracks at the level of City Hall, it has been revealed that the Local Government Commission is in receipt of a number of complaints against him.Three of the eight members of the commission held a press conference on Friday at the office of the Leader of the Opposition, and were asked whether complaints against the unpopular Town Clerk have reached the level of the commission.“You asked about Mr King? Look at the newspapers today (Friday), there areTown Clerk Royston Kingabout two or three complaints against him. As a minister in charge of the municipalities, I was asked to dismiss King years ago. We don’t have any (complaints) against the Mayor (Patricia Chase-Green). Complaints are coming about King.”So said Commissioner Clinton Collymore, who served as Local Government Minister under the previous administration. Advancing that no love has been lost between King and the city he administers, Collymore questioned why, as Town Clerk, King has not resigned as yet. He noted that the Town Clerk has been a subject at many of the meetings the commission held.“Almost at every meeting, (commissioners) raise these matters…And I don’t know why he doesn’t go. He should go!” a vociferous Collymore urged.The Commission is charged with, among other things, control over who gets appointed as officials in the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils and other local authorities. This means that the municipality of Georgetown comes under its jurisdiction. In addition, it would have to approve budgets for the NDCs.Carol Sooba, now a member of the Local Government Commission, was once Town Clerk, until her ouster following the 2015 General and Regional Elections. Asked to comment on the controversies King now finds himself in, Sooba noted that when she was Town Clerk, she could not do the things King stands accused of, but was held to a higher standard.Another former Local Government Minister, Norman Whittaker, noted that the Town Clerk must at all times be guided by the law. He stressed that as an administrative officer, King is not bound to seek a consensus when making routine decisions. Whittaker pointed out, however, that significant changes must first gain the approval of the council.“He must be guided by the regulations, the by-laws. The laws and regulations are there in terms of his work. You can’t spend a set of money to do something the council is not aware of. The gentleman, I would say, has been allowed to do his own thing,” Whittaker said.Dissatisfaction with King’s performance has grown over the past months, and pressure has mounted for his removal, since the hierarchy of the People’s National Congress Reform has expressed no confidence in his ability to function.There have been protests against the City Hall administration, with the actions of King being cited. A no-confidence motion was recently brought against King, which accused him, among other things, of overstepping his bounds. The no-confidence motion stated that King acted outside the interests of the citizens of Georgetown, and showed gross disrespect for the Municipal and District Councils Act, Chap 28:01. Several instances of the Town Clerk disregarding the stipulations of Chap 28:01 were cited by former Deputy Mayor Sherod Duncan in his ill-fated motion.“The removal of the vendors from the Stabroek Market and Robb Street environs in 2016/2017 without the authorisation of Council…brought great distress and hardship on said vendors, and…saw Central Government intervening, reiterating that vendors ought to be treated with sensitivity; President David Granger describing the latter action as ‘reckless’,” the motion stated. Additionally, the document identified the issues that stemmed from the controversial parking meter project, outlining procurement issues and Government’s response. The late to non-payment of National Insurance Scheme (NIS) contributions was also cited.The implementation of container fees and the subsequent unilateral decision to block certain businesses for failing to comply; failure to account for $300 million allocated for the Georgetown Restoration Programme, resulting in the Auditor General announcing a forensic audit of the City’s books; disrespect for the tendering process; non-payment of contractors and inaccuracy in the financial reporting were all reasons that led to Duncan submitting the motion, and fellow AFC Councillor and then Deputy Mayor, Lionel Jaikaran, seconding it.last_img