The Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri has inaugurated a 31-member committee to review the grade levels and steps of local government and primary school staff in accordance with extant public service rules.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, said the review would enhance the performance of local councils in the state.
A statement by the Deputy Governor’s media aide, Mr Doubara Atasi, explained that the need for the committee arose from irregularities that were observed during the last staff promotion exercise conducted in the various councils.
The Governor, who mandated the Committee to also review the salary grades of health personnel at the local government level, expressed hope that the exercise would help to free up funds to enable government implement the 30 percent minimum wage for council workers.
Governor Diri, however, pointed out that government would recoup funds from salaries of workers who manipulated the system to enrich themselves with over-payments through fictitious grade levels and steps.
He restated his administration’s resolve not to tamper with council funds, but rather give more financial and technical support to the local councils to enable them impact positively on the lives of rural dwellers.
“As you are all aware, the promotions have been implemented. But there are complaints of under-payments, over-payments and over promotions. So this review is to address those complaints.
“We want peace and industrial harmony within the local government system, but we do not want the system to be shortchanged.
“As a government that is people-centered and staff welfare-oriented, we look for ways to ensure that the local government system functions effectively.
“The state government will support the local government councils with an additional 252 million naira, bringing the total amount of money the state government gives as support to councils to about 400 million naira monthly”.
He further said “We are not doing what is happening in other states where the state runs joint account and give the local governments handouts. What we are doing in this state is that, we are supporting the local councils.”
“Your terms of reference include ‘To place workers in appropriate grade levels and steps; Using the financial nominal rolls from item 2 above to prepare a payroll for the workers for May, 2021.
“And identify workers whose grade levels or steps have been overstated or understated and consequently overpaid or underpaid in March and April, 2021 payrolls for possible adjustment or recovery.”
The committee, which is expected to submit its report within one month of inauguration, is headed by the Technical Adviser to the Governor on Treasury, Accounts and Revenue, Mr Timipre Seipulou.
While its three sub-committees have former Head of Service, Elder Luka Obiri; Dr. Hamilton Ekeke and the state Chairman of Trade Union Congress, Mr Julius Laye as Chairmen.
In his response, Chairman of the Committee, Mr Timipre Seipulou, accepted the responsibility and assured that the committee would work hard to justify the confidence reposed in them.