County staff and State officers will continue receiving higher salaries and allowances after High Court Judge George Odunga quashed a gazette notice announcing pay cuts and abolishing allowances for governors, their deputies, MPs and ward reps.
"Whereas I find that most of the issues raised by the applicants herein are unmerited, I am satisfied that the manner in which the Gazette Notice No. 6518 of July 7, 2017 was promulgated was tainted with procedural impropriety. It cannot be sustained," he said.
He was ruling on a case in which the Kakamega and Mombasa county governments had sought to have the Salaries and Remuneration Commission stopped from reviewing county staff salaries.
He said that while the SRC's role is to set and regularly review the remuneration and benefits of all State officers as well as revise them and advise both levels of governments, the court cannot decide for the commission how to to its work.
"State officers include herein MPs and MCAs. They must abide by the SRC's decision as long as the same is made in accordance with the Constitution and the relevant statutory provisions. It does not matter whether the decision is unpalatable to them, even though they are entitled to express their sentiments," he added. "It is now upon SRC to decide how best to proceed from this point."
The two counties had faulted the SRC for not giving county staff an opportunity to participate in the review as required under the Fair Administrative Act.
Governors get a monthly allowance Sh80,000 while their deputies get Sh64,000, in line with a gazette notice published on March 1, 2013.
The County Assembly Forum later agreed to consolidate the mortgage and car loans to Sh5 million, but a dispute arose after the State officers demanded to be paid according to the 2013 structure.
Meanwhile, the SRC told the court that it recommended a pay structure for county officers in 2013, which was reviewed in 2017. It added that it undertook a study on labour efficiency and dynamics, and a survey of the prevailing economic situation and produced a report before the gazette notice was published.