Serious tension is brewing at the National Elections Commission or NEC in Sinkor, Monrovia following reports of an attempted pay cut of junior level staff by Chairman Jerome George Korkoryah.
According to sources at the NEC, the employees’ uproar followed a recent meeting called by Chairman Korkoryh at which he allegedly announced plan to slash salaries across the board. Korkoryah’s decision is in response to a recent Presidential directive to the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Development to implement a public sector pay reform or cut, affecting principally heads or chairs of State-owned Enterprises, Autonomous Agencies, Public Corporations, Commissions and Authorities, among others.
The rather enraged employees are reported to have told Cllr. Korkoryah to desist from cutting their salaries, insisting that NEC payroll should be sent to the Ministry of Finance as it is, but he allegedly rejected.
The payroll for July with alleged salary cuts sent to the Finance Ministry was reportedly rejected by the Ministry, and returned to the National Elections Commission.
In a recent communication to the NEC boss dated July 6, 2015, Acting Finance Minister Dr. James F. Kollie, Jr. details, “According to the Presidential directive, you are to ensure that beginning the July 2015 pay period that your gross monthly salary, inclusive of all compensatory allowances, shall not exceed US $7,000.00 and that or your deputy (ies) or other commissioners as the case may be, shall not exceed $ 5,500.00.
Base on the above, Honorable Commissioner, your management team should then institute broader pay adjustments for those of lower rankings in your organization.”
The letter continued, “However and important to note if your current pay is below the recommended level, the memo or letter, does not constitute an approval to raise pay. Let me also categorically state that anyone who violates this Presidential directive will be required to refund the Government of Liberia the full amount of the excess pay above the recommended level.”
In an exclusive interview with The NewDawn,Dr. Kollie said the NEC is not allowed to cut the pay of lower level employees, stressing that the Presidential directive is aimed at putting in place a salary structure for senior level officials, adding that if a commissioner earns US$12,000 or above monthly and is affected by the directive, while a director in the same entity earns US$9,000 monthly, an adjustment could be made around there, but this does not mean salaries for junior level employees earning around US$3,000 or US$2,000 and below should be cut.
Dr. Kollie’s letter to the NEC boss further insists, “Additionally, July’s allotment for your entity will not be released if you do not show us your revised adjusted payroll that is consistant with the President’s directive. In orderto ensure that the instructions are fully implemented, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) will deploy compliance auditors to perform special payroll audits at the end of the month.”