Maryland County Senator SenatorGble-bo Brown says the Senate will invite the Legislative Finance office to explain if the money that was allotted for staffers of the Legislature was actually given to them, a day after staffers threatened to lock the gates of the Legislature if their Liberian dollars salaries are not restituted.
Senate President Pro – tempore Albert Chie of Grand KruCounty on Wednesday, 15 July instructed the heads of the Ways, Means, Finance and Budget to meet with the aggrieved workers on 16 July.
He orders that the Senate officials explain to the aggrieved staffers the harmonization process and how their allowance should be increased, noting that findings from the meeting with the staffers will determine if they will summon the Finance Office for investigation.
On Wednesday, the head of the Budget Senator Gble-bo Brown and the chair on Ways, Means and Finance, Bomi County Senator Morris Saytumah indicated that during the country’s harmonization process in 2019, the Liberian dollars component of every government entity was cut off completely.
The two senators revealed that employees got 80% of allowances paid in USD, while 20% of it is in Liberian dollars. The Senate officials indicate that it was agreed by the Senators that LD$557,000 should be cut from their money and given to their staffers, but it should be translated into United States Dollars.
Senator Brown suggests that the Senate should invite the Legislative Finance office to explain if the money that was allotted for their staffers was actually given to them.
According to the chair on Ways, Means and Finance and Bomi County Senator Morris Saytumah, the staffers got increment on their allowance instead, saying after the harmonization process, Directors’ allowance increased to US$915, up from US$850.
Senator Saytumah notes that after they agreed, there was a copy of it given to every Senator to go and explain to their respective staffers as to how the harmonization went and also the money that was added to their salaries by the Senators. “If the senators had explained to their staffers, there wouldn’t have been a problem by now,” he says.
Senators Gble-bo Brown, Darius Dillon and Jonathan Kaipay, among others, were called for the Finance Office to come before the plenary of the Liberian Senate to explain if the money was distributed among the staffers.
But Senator Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County argued that there’s no need for the Finance Office to appear before them, rather suggesting that the heads of the Ways, Means, Finance and Budget meet with the staffers to talk about how the harmonization process went on.
Grand Bassa County Senator Jonathan Kaipay who brought the concerns of the staffers on the Senate floor, says the staffers are working for the Legislature and therefore they should get their pay.
Montserrado County Senator Darius Dillon says the staffers deserve to know what went wrong with their salaries, adding that the President Pro tempore and the Speaker of the House of Representatives should meet and find a way to make the staffers understand how the harmonization process of their salary went on.
By Ethel A Tweh –Edited by Winston W. Parley