Castries Mayor, Peterson Francis, has expressed concerned about an ‘inflated’ wages bill of the Castries City Council.
Francis has asserted that political patronage is to blame.
The Mayor revealed that his administration had inherited a wages bill of nearly half a million dollars.
“To make it worse, we don’t have one professional – a qualified individual in one form or the other, but our wage bill is four hundred and eighty thousand dollars a month,” he observed.
Francis explained that of that sum, about three hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars goes towards daily paid workers.
The Mayor noted that the C.C.C has basically gone out of garbage collection, yet the wage bill is not only excessive but just cannot be understood.
“What we have found is that everybody is in charge of themselves – there is nobody in charge of anybody; so the guy on the pavement doing some work is on his own,” Francis stated.
“We found a situation where there were about sixty temporary employees that they brought in, so as the terms are coming to an end we are looking to phase that to see where we are financially,” the Mayor said.
Francis expressed the view that individuals were “planted’ at the C.C.C.
“For argument sake you have a department with people who were working for the NICE programme and attached to the City Council. After the election – and they were being paid by the NICE programme; a week after the election they were all employed as Supervisors at the C.C.C,” he explained.
According to Francis, when the job descriptions of those individuals were scrutinized it was discovered that “everybody is assisting everybody.”
The Mayor disclosed that there was one transaction in which a million dollars was transferred to the Saint Lucia Development Bank (SLDB).
He said he did not know the reason for the money transfer, whether it was to facilitate contracts.
Francis told the Times he was looking into the transfer at a time when the C.C.C was indicating that it had no money.