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US$ 86000 controversy engulfs MCSS

-As Worker’s Union protests

Controversy has engulfed the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS) over a US$86,000 renovation budget, leading to protests.

By: Kruah Thompson 

Monrovia, Liberia, May 22, 2024 – The Monrovia Consolidated School system (MCSS) finds itself embroiled in a US$ 86000 controversy, money intended for the renovation of its central office on 12 Street, Sinkor as Worker’s Union give 8 counts, among others, demanding the removal of Assistant Superintendent Emanuel Robertson.

According to the report, US$86,000 was allotted in the national budget for the renovation of the Central Office building, but since the ruff of the building is not in good condition and the Office leaks, the MCC Superintendent decided to outsource Eagle Construction Company-owned by the proprietor of Golden Key, who agreed to pre-finance the project.

As per the agreement, the system’s technical staff assessed the building, which revealed that it will cost approximately $86,000.

Speaking to journalists on Monday during a protest in front of the MCSS Central Office, the head of the worker union, Mr. Johnson K. CUMMINGS, Sr., explained that the Superintendent decided to call a meeting to discuss the matter, but to the dismay of employees, Assistant Superintendent Robertson allegedly objected on basis that the money was too much to be used only on the building when he had no authority over contract negotiations and is not signatory to any of the System’s accounts.

He argued that the Assistant Superintendent had been disrespectful to his boss during senior management meetings. He further alleges that Mr. Robertson lacks the experience and understanding required for the role and that his appointment has led to a deteriorating professional environment within the MCSS.

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Mr. Cummings outlines eight counts for Robertson’s removal from office, including allegations of unprofessional behavior, disrespect towards senior staff, and making unilateral decisions without consultation, which prompted the workforce to lock the building and protest against the Assistant Superintendent.

Besides, the Director of Communication and Public Relations Officer Samuel Nyenuh said they would respond to the protest as soon as possible but claimed that the appointment of Mr. Robertson as Assistant Superintendent violates the Act that created the MCSS.

According to him, the Act gives the Superintendent and his council the right to vet and select an assistant superintendent.

However, he denounced Assistant Superintendent Robertson for opposing his boss, Superintendent John Flomo, who would be held accountable if there were malpractices.

For his part, Cross Tamba, who claimed to be a worker of MCSS, revealed that the Assistant Minister’s true agenda is to overhaul the System. Given past corrupt practices, he sees the money allotted for building renovation as too much, noting that some of the money could be used to renovate public schools with dilapidated conditions.

She described Superintendent Flomo’s current endeavor as a conspiracy intended to corrupt the system. However, with Mr. Robertson standing in his way, this is difficult, so they are rallying against him.

However. Mrs. Tamba denied that Mr. Robertson had ever opposed the Superintendent when he proposed something that would benefit the System.

According to her, there’s a system where people purchase uniforms from MCSS schools, resulting in the leadership receiving between $20,000 and $40,000. Mr. Robertson has vowed to halt this practice, which the leadership perceives as a threat.

She said Mr. Robertson’s insistence on canceling this practice and prohibiting uniform sales has caused friction, leading to protests. Additionally, Mr. Robertson suggested reducing graduation fees from 5000 Liberian Dollars to LRD3,500, further exacerbating tension.

Furthermore, Tamba accused the Superintendent of violating the same Act that prevented him from appointing Emanuel Redd as Executive Director for Administration, a position not recognized under the MCSS framework.

Tamba perceived a conspiracy against Mr. Robertson because of his opposition to certain corrupt practices allegedly endorsed by the Superintendent.

However, speaking on a local radio station the same day, Mr. Robertson clarified that he is not opposing the renovation of the Central Office but has raised concerns about the exorbitant cost.

“During the meeting, I did not propose using the US$86,000 for building renovations, but I said the fund was too excessive and should instead be allocated to renovate public schools with dilapidated structures”, he clarified.

He argued that it is unjustifiable to allocate a significant sum solely for the renovation of the Head Office while public schools need repairs. 

He maintained that the proposed renovation budget does not align with the institution’s overall needs. Therefore, only a portion of the amount should be used for the renovation.

Meanwhile, Mr. Robertson has noted that if his role as an Assistant Superintendent is merely to observe without having a voice, he would willingly resign but reminded that his mandate is to manage schools, and he intends to fulfill that responsibility diligently. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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