Liberia: Findley Presents Bill to Halt Prolong Stay in Acting Positions in Govt

As part of efforts to promote good governance and transparency in Liberia, Grand Bassa County Senator Gbehnzongar Findley has presented a bill seeking to halt the perpetual acting status of presidential appointees to various cabinet and other positions in government.

The bill named and styled Timeframe Act of 2024 was submitted and read during regular session in the Chambers of the Liberian Senate on Tuesday, February 20.

The proposed act seeks to establish a timeframe for presidential appointees to serve in government.

It introduces a standardize framework for individuals serving in acting capacities in appointed positions in the public sector.

When passed into law, the proposed Act prohibits presidential appointees serving in acting positions for more than 90 days.

It intends to foster and enhance a sense of urgency to upholding the rule of law and institutionalize principles and guidelines by creating tenure for individuals acting in appointed positions.

It will also define the scope of authority and responsibilities of acting appointees or officials for the effective administration of the governance process of the nation.

"As a concerned advocate for good governance and efficient functioning of the government, I am proposing this legislative initiative to enhance transparency, accountability, effectiveness of public service appointments," Senator Findley stated.

According to him, the proposed Act will not only foster the culture of responsibility and accountable in the delivery of public service, but it will also encourage the timely appointment and subsequent confirmation of critical appointed positions.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with FrontPage Africa, Senator Findley pointed out that the appointment of people to act in positions that require confirmation remains a grave issue that needs to be addressed.

He said most often, those serving in acting positions go above their constitutional responsibilities they are supposed to perform by law.

He said the confirmation of presidential appointees would enable them expend public funds and as such, they must be answerable to the Liberian people by aborting their acting roles and submitting to nomination and subsequent confirmation by the Senate

Senator Findley observed that many of those appointed by former leaders to act in various positions held the perception that they are only answerable to their bosses, instead of the Liberian people or taxpayers, through their respective lawmakers.

He said for the sake of conducting comprehensive financial audit, presidential appointees should not stay a prolong period of time in acting positions.

When this is done, he added that, it remains the prerogative of the President to decide whether or not an acting public official should be audited.

Senator Findley pointed out in this case; members of the National Legislature cannot demand the President to do so because, appointed official serving in serving acting role was not under constitutional mandate or obligation to execute all of his responsibilities as enshrined by law.

"This proposed Act does not seek to curtail the President's authority. The President has constitutional authority under Article 54 to nominate. This doesn't stop the President from nominating. If he wants you to act in the absent of a Minister, it still doesn't stop him from doing that. Under this proposed Act, he has 90 days to keep that person acting until he finds a proper minister."

Senator Findley stressed that the National Legislature may halt the allocation of funding to a particular government ministry or agency if the President fails to appoint a public official proper to replace an individual who has served in an acting capacity for more than 90 days.

"When the Legislature appropriates funds to run an entity and that person (who is acting) sits there and misuse or embezzle it, that person must be answerable to this Legislature."

He said the National Legislature can also go to the Supreme Court to compel a Liberian President from violating the proposed Act by keeping presidential appointees in acting positions for more than 90 days.

Meanwhile, the proposed Act is expected to be debated during the next sitting of the Liberian Senate.

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