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|Keith Burrows fed up with City Hall problems …Seeks to fix issues among Town Clerk, Union and Workers|
|Tuesday, 04 September 2012 21:35|
Chairman of the Implementation Committee of Georgetown Mayor and City Council, Keith Burrows, said yesterday that had the council used the guidelines and implemented some systems that were outlined in the “Keith Burrows report” the council would not have many of the issues it faces today.
He said that he believes that the issues at the council still exist because the junior staff continues to have difficulties with their monthly salaries.
Keith Burrows said that he raised the concern with the acting Town Clerk who indicated to him that she has a good relationship with the union and its members. He said that he has decided to meet with the union because he has reached a point of frustration with the issues that continue to be plaguing the council month after month. He said that what is even more frustration is that after the review into the operations of the council was done, and the findings sent to the council, there were no objections to the recommendations, thus giving the impression that everything was okay.
Burrows made the remarks while addressing senior union representatives of the Local Government Union and the senior union representatives of the council. According to the chairman, one of his recommendations in the report was the paying of salaries from the bottom to the top, meaning: that instead of paying senior and top officers of the council first at the end of the month, the junior workers should be paid first as the salaries that pay some senior officers and councilors can pay at least ten junior council workers in some cases, he added. He said that there is no reason why the workers should not have been paid on time last month since several meetings were held prior to the pay day at the council.
Last week, City Hall workers downed tools after they did not receive their salaries on the due date. However, some of the workers have since been paid but today there were still several workers who gathered in the compound of city hall and outside of its gates in an apparent protest of the amount of monies some of them have received.
He said that there seems to be two major problems why some staff members are not paid on time, and those he listed as: administrative problems and the treatment meted out to the junior staff. Burrows noted that the union continues to complain of the treatment of some workers of the council by certain senior staff.
In an apparent reference to the accounting system of the council, Burrows said that he continues to urge the council to clean up the books and get their figures in order since in some cases there are figures that do not match up to anything when you do an in-depth audit and analysis of the financing and accounting of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council.
Burrows warned that the longer it takes City Hall to sort out its issues, the more the situation will evolve to one that will end up being bigger and a worst case scenario. He said that while it remains his private view, shutting down the entire operations of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council for two weeks and embarking on a rehiring and reapplying exercise for all posts of the council may very well see the end of the troubles of the council.
The head of the implementation committee also spoke to the issue of what seems to be a dead lock between the management of the council and the Town Clerk, Carol Ryan Sooba. The two continue to be at logger heads with each other on practically everything. Yesterday he assured the union representatives and the members that the issues with the Town Clerk will be sorted out.
Meanwhile the union representatives from the Guyana Local Government Officers Union, Dale Beresford, and Clarence Whitehead, of the Guyana Labour Union, were not too pleased with the way Burrows carried on the meeting with them as they believed that he failed to address their major concerns, which are the treatment of the union members by some staff including the Town Clerk, Carol Ryan Sooba, and the refusal of the Town Clerk to respond to critical correspondence from the union to the council among other things.
Beresford said that in the past they were written to by the pervious Town Clerk whenever it was realized that the council would be unable to pay workers’ salaries on the due date. He said that since Carol Ryan Sooba took over the office she has refused to respond or even acknowledge letters that were sent to her by the union.
Mr. Beresford pointed to the case recently, where the union sent the City Council a letter through the town clerk of the union’s intention to take industrial action if the council failed to respond in 72 hours to a letter asking for explanations why workers were not paid on time. The union executive said that despite the indication by the union that failure on the part of the Town Clerk to respond to and or meet with the union on the issue will see industrial actions, the Town Clerk, Carol Ryan Sooba, did not budge.
He told the gathering that the actions of Ms. Carol Ryan Sooba are a clear disregard for the union, and can be seen as her unwillingness to have any relationship with the body that looks into the affairs of the workers of City Hall.
The union said that they have exhausted all the avenues trying to meet with the Town Clerk but to no avail. It was also noted that requests for the council to supply the union with copies of the deductions that are being taken out of workers’ salaries are yet to be honored by the council. The union also pointed to the failure of the council to also supply union records of other deductions that have no paper trail, and which the council union will like to be informed about.
Yesterday too, Mr. Clarence Whitehead accused the Town Clerk of being biased and on a campaign to victimize certain workers of the council. The union representative also pointed to a case where the Town Clerk is threatening to send home an officer of the council because she is unable to reach that individual by telephone.
Another union representative said that they wrote the Town Clerk, Ms. Carol Ryan Sooba, on ten issues that the union will like to be addressed in its members’ interests.
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