By Morrison O.G. Sayon
Latest report reaching this paper has revealed that embattled Public Works Minister, Antoinette Weeks, has vehemently refused to adhere to recent mandate by the Civil Service Agency (CSA) requesting her to reinstate five employees who were given letters of transfer at the Public Works Ministry. Information filtering in government’s circle says the first female Public Works Minister has remained adamant and defiant in meeting the Civil Service request to reinstate the aggrieved employees who took their grievances to the CSA for redress.
Recently, the five transferred Public Works employees wrote the CSA and the National Civil Servants Association of Liberia Interim leadership to ascertain from both institutions on their transfer and demotion.
Following the communications to both institutions, CSA conducted an investigation and concluded that Dr. Weeks reinstate the employees to their previous positions as it was not done in accordance with the CSA Order.
On the other hand, the National Servants Association of Liberia in turn communicated with the CSA in a letter dated February 6, 2014 asking for its position on the matter relating to what they called the unlawful transfer and demotion of some of their colleagues at the Ministry of Public Works.
In the communication, the NCSL said, “We as Association have been following up the matter since its inception at the Ministry and your intervention as Director General of the Civil Service Agency. But it seems that the Administration of the Ministry of Public Works has failed to adhere to your communication sent , which is dated January 30, 2014 in which you informed the Ministry about the Procedural error made during their so-called transfer; the violation of the Civil Service Standing Orders in effecting the transfer and also the violation of the ‘Six-Month Hiring Freeze on all Civil Service Positions Effective Immediately’, a Restriction placed on Hiring by the Executive which was a Cabinet decision and was communicated to all Heads of Public Institutions dated 2” December 2013 a, copy that was also sent and received by the Minister of Public Works under your signature.”
The National Civil Servants Association said in its communication that it has visited the Ministry on several occasions so as to know if the intervention made by the CSA had been adhered to by the Ministry.
“In fact since Cabinet had also passed on not to hire new employee due to the current reform in the Civil Service affecting all MACS. It will interest you to know that the Administration has totally ostracized our colleagues. We went and met one of the newly hired employees, Mr. Joseph Dieshield, in the office of the Logistics comfortably seated and administering affairs of the Ministry while he was also seen using the assigned vehicle that was used by the original Chief of Logistics, Mr. Joseph V. Dixon, the newly transferred employee.
NCSL informed the CSA boss that the action on the part of the Minister of Public Works is embarrassing and counterproductive in the CSA pursuit of the reform within the Civil Service describing same as an affront to the office of the CSA boss something that should not be tolerated as it will undermine every good initiative taken by CSA reform drive.
Prior to the NCSL communication to the CSA, another document obtained by this paper revealed that on February 3, 2013 to the Ministry of Public Works wrote the CSA boss terming the widely published report on the reinstatement of the employees by several media outlets in the country untrue and therefore, the publication must be revoked by the CSA.
In the Public Works Ministry’s communication, it stated that the publications are incorrect and do not represent the outcome of a meeting with Minister Morris Dukuly (Ministry of Internal Affairs) and Dr. Weeks (Ministry of Public Works on Thursday, January 30, 2014.
The communication furthered, “As you will recall, during our meeting, it was agreed that the Ministry of Public Works and the CSA would work together to finalize the transfers of the five Ministry employees implemented on Friday, January 24, 2014. In addition, during conversation with both you and Dr. Weeks on Friday, January 31, 20 14, you were advised about the above captioned heading referenced above, wherein you clearly stated that the CSA had not provided such information to the news media and also informed us that the Public Relations Unit of the CSA would immediately refute this inaccurate and erroneous story.”
“Regrettably, as of today’s date, February 3, 2014, the CSA has not refuted this inaccurate and erroneous story and as far as the Ministry is aware, there has been no communication to that effect either from the Public Relations Unit or anyone associated with the CSA. The Ministry notes that the inaction of the CSA regarding this matter has the propensity to undermine the authority of the ‘Ministry, derail’ the decision reached by the Administration, and also leave our employees in a complete state of confusion and uncertainty,” the Public Works stated in its communication to the CSA under the signature of Mr. Zack G.W. Sharpe.
Meanwhile, when contacted, an official of Public Works said a meeting was held with the CSA and Internal Affairs Minister at which time they came to an agreement to work together to finalize the transfer of employees. The Public Works official who preferred anonymity said he could not give further information on the issue but sent our team of reporters to the CSA for further clarification on the issue.
For his part, the Director General of the CSA, George K. Werner, was said to be locked out in a four-hour meeting at his Carey Street office and could not speak to our reporters who went there. Investigation continues.