City Hall wants High Court to order LGC to use Mayoral Committee recommendations
Employment of Town Clerk, other staff
The Georgetown Mayor and City Council (GM&CC) has asked the High Court to order the Local Government Commission (LGC) to act on recommendations submitted by the Special Human Resources Management Committee (SHRMC) of Mayor Ubraj Narine in connection with the employment of key staff to fill vacant positions within the municipality.
The court action was filed by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Member of Parliament (MP) Attorneys-at-law Roysdale Forde and Olayne Joseph. The lawyers are challenging a decision made by the LGC set out in a letter dated October 22, 2020, to the acting Town Clerk, Sherry Jerrick.
In the missive, the LGC informed the GM&CC that it did not approve the hiring of Sherwin Benjamin as Town Clerk; Samuel Parris as Assistant Town Clerk; John Douglas as City Treasurer; Danielle Anthony as Legal Officer, Kabila Hollingsworth as Deputy City Engineer and Lyndon Scott as Supervisor Building Inspector.
In appealing the decision of the LGC to the High Court, the GM&CC is contending that the decision of the LGC is not only bad in law but also unreasonable, having regards to the evidence. The Council also contended that the actions of the LGC amount to abuse and improper use of powers vested in the Commission.
In an affidavit in support of the application, Jerrick claimed via a letter dated April 23, 2018, that Secretary of the LGC, Nickalia Pryce wrote to the then Town Clerk, Royston King on the procedures to be followed when filling vacancies at the Council.
She claimed that in a letter dated July 3, 2020, Pryce wrote to her granting permission of the LGC to advertise the existing vacancies within the Municipality of Georgetown.
However, on September 2, 2020, the acting Town Clerk added Pryce sent another letter and this time stated that “The Commission wishes to remind the Council of the LGC “Method of Employment for all Local Government Organs” which states that the Local Government Commission in keeping with Section 19 of the Local Government Commission Act 2013 (delegation of powers) has agreed to delegate to you and all other local government organs, the authority of recruitment (advertising shortlisting and interviewing). The local government organs shall ensure that an officer of the Local Government Commission is present during the shortlisting and interviewing process.
Pryce added that given its statutory obligation, the LGC is urging her to comply with the Method of Employment procedure regarding the recruitment process for filling the vacancies of Town Clerk, Assistant Town Clerk, City Treasurer, Chief Constable; Deputy Chief Constable, Legal Officer, Supervisor Building Inspector, and Deputy City Engineer.
Further, the letter stated that the LGC would be the observer of the procedure for the appointments. As a result, she stated that the Special Human Resources Management Committee (SHRMC) of Mayor Narine met on September 24 and 25, 2020.
The SHRMC, she said, conducted interviews for all the vacant positions while adding that the Committee concluded and recommended that the aforesaid persons be employed within the GM&CC. According to the acting Town Clerk, at an Extra-Ordinary Meeting of Mayor Narine on October 9, 2020, the report from the SHRMC was considered.
Jerrick submitted that on October 9, 2020, she wrote to Chairman of the LGC, Mortimer Mingo requesting that the LGC approve the recommendations made by the SHRMC for the individuals to be employed in the respective vacant positions.
However, the LGC’s Secretary informed the acting Town Clerk that the Commission did not approve the recommended persons.
Having regards to all of the above, the M&CC is asking the High Court to grant an order setting aside the decision made by the LGC; alternatively, an order compelling the Local Government Commission to consider and approve the recommendations set out in the SHRMC report of Mayor Narine; such further and or other order as may be deemed just and costs.