The Inquirer (Monrovia)

Liberia: Discontent At Public Works - Employees Complain to Civil Service

Photo: Liberia Government
President Sirleaf and members of her cabinet (file photo):

Discontentment is creeping at the Ministry of Public Works over management's 'reorganization' package but employees who feel aggrieved have begun seeking remedy through any means possible as they have already begun consultations with the Civil Servant Agency concerning their plight.

Among employees who have begun feeling the pinch of this exercise are Joseph V. Dixon, former Logistics Director, B. Wionkanteah, Sr., former Procurement Director, Joesph Y. Forkpah, former Deputy Comptroller, Abraham B. Samukai, Comptroller and Vincent B. Smith, former Director of Human Resource.

However, those already introduced in a meeting to replace the five different employees are Michael M. Thomas, comptroller, Tony B. Johnson, Deputy Comptroller, Lauretta Reffell, Director Human Resource and training, Joseph Deshield, Director of Logistics and Prince Wreh, Director of Procurement.

Accordingly, the aggrieved employees have been expressing their discontentment months after the taking over of office by their Minister, Antoinette Weeks, whom they have observed lacks good human relations and has serious attitude problems.

They said having passed the civil servant test to get employed in the country, they received letters from the Ministry of Public Works that it was undergoing reorganization, very new transfer strategy, when in actual sense the Minister and her Deputy for Administration had plans to replace them.

They said but because it is to the Ministry's knowledge that the Ministry of Finance through a directive from the CSA has placed a freeze on all hiring of new personnel, but the management's communication cleverly states, "... the administration has identified several personnel/positions including yours, which has been affected by this change."

Meanwhile, on January 24, 2014, at about 5p.m., the other aggrieved employees besides Mr. Smith were given letters of removal or transfer and were asked to report to the Director of Human Resource for assignment while the locks to their various offices were immediately changed.

Mr. Smith who had been relieved from serving as Director for Human Resource received a letter under the signature of Deputy Minister Sharpe with C.C. copies to all Deputy Ministers and Assistant Minister for Administration including Minister Weeks informing him of his new position of Director of Warehouse.

Mr. Smith said in his position as Director for Human Resource, it was communicated by the CSA on November 21 and December 2, 2013 that a freeze was placed on hiring new personnel and upon observing that the Minister was about to hire some employees, an action he rendered his candid opinion on in relations to the CSA communication.

In a communication to the CSA, Mr. Smith observed that the action was in violation of the CSA directive as well as the civil service standing order explaining how the management has taken the assigned vehicles from the affected senior directors as well as other benefits in accordance with their status.

Mr. Smith said he regards his new appointment as demotion and a position which never existed at the Ministry of Public Works. Meanwhile, when the Director General of the CSA, George Werner, was contacted concerning the matter, he confirmed receiving complaint from the affected employees but declined commenting on the matter.

The employees have been having sour relationships with Minister Weeks and the Deputy for Administration since her takeover. They also accused Minister Weeks of awarding her office renovation contract to a former employee of NOCAL and that she is very abusive to her employees. Among other things, the employees' contention is also against the backdrop that the minister almost damaged the Somalia Drive contract signing when she insisted that 25 percent of the agreement must be awarded to a Liberian company of her choice.

The employees are also aggrieved that their boss is unable to sign a new contract or undertake any new project since five months and accused her of requesting to sign contracts that should be signed by the DMA thereby making the Ministry idle.

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InFocus

Liberian Ministers Trade Insults

President Sirleaf and members of her cabinet (file photo):

The Minister of Public Works, Antoinette G. Weeks, was reportedly involved in a heated argument with her deputy, Victor Smith, during which both ministers allegedly traded insults. Read more »