Yemagoa — Bayelsa State government yesterday restated its resolve to sanction local council chairmen or whoever found culpable in payroll racketeering and other unwholesome practices in the public service.
The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo who stated this during a meeting with local government Chairmen in Yenagoa, urged them to guard against corruption in the payroll system, saying "employment is not hereditary."
Senator Ewhrudjakpo expressed concern over the current situation where the wage bill of some councils keep soaring despite the fact that workers exit the system on a yearly basis through retirement and death.
He said, "if the unhealthy trend is not checked, councils will struggle with execution of projects thereby depriving local residents of the benefits of good governance."
To this end, he directed all the local government Chairmen to submit the nominal rolls of their respective councils indicating the dates of employment and retirement of staff.
He also cautioned the council chairmen against illegal employment which he said would have a negative effect on the finances of the councils and the state government.
The deputy governor, however, commended the chairmen for their understanding and cooperation in the ongoing efforts to sanitize the system and urged them to do more in that regard.
"The efforts you are making are commendable but I think more needs to be done. That is why you have to take this directive seriously.
"Going forward, all local governments are to submit their updated nominal rolls in terms of date of employment and date of retirement.
"We want to have that record, covering all staff of the councils including primary school teachers. We have to get rid of the issue of replacement of dead workers because that is against the service rules. I have worked in the civil service before. Employment is not hereditary.
"The issue of employment is completely embargoed and should remain embargoed for now. So anybody who is trying to employ workers through the backdoor does so at great risk because that is illegal," he said.
The Deputy Governor also used the occasion of the meeting to underscore the importance of the state Annual Thanksgiving programme, which is held on the second of November every year since its inception.
He called on the council chairmen to mobilize people in their domain to be part of the thanksgiving service at the Ecumenical Centre, Igbogene on Monday next week.
On the issue of the welfare of councillors, the deputy governor reassured that steps were being taken to make provisions for what is due them.
Speaking on behalf of the Chairmen, the State Chairman of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, Chief Nigeria Kia, thanked the deputy governor for his continued support and assured him of their determination to move their various councils forward.