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Thursday, May 23, 2024

MONROVIA CITY MAYOR ACCUSED OF CREATING HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT, VIOLATING EMPLOYEE RIGHTS

Date:

LIBERIA – A revelation from a highly placed source within the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) has brought concerning allegations to light against City Mayor John-Charuk Siafa. The source, an employee of the MCC, accused Mayor Siafa, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the printing house Siafa Media Group on Broad Street, Monrovia, and a close relative of President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, of abusing employees’ rights and creating a hostile work environment within the MCC.

Accordingly, Mayor Siafa has allegedly been threatening top management staff, creating a climate of fear and intimidation within the MCC. The source further revealed that due to Mayor Siafa’s nepotistic connections, employees are afraid to speak out against the alleged abuses for fear of losing their jobs. Some employees are reportedly supporting large families and fear the repercussions of speaking to the media or authorities.

These allegations, if proven true, raise serious concerns about the conduct of Mayor Siafa and the work environment within the MCC. It is essential that such allegations are thoroughly investigated to ensure the protection of employees’ rights and the promotion of a fair and safe workplace for all MCC staff.

Efforts to reach Mayor Siafa on his mobile phone number for comment on these allegations have been unsuccessful so far, as his phone has been continuously ringing without answer.

However, judging from the Mayor’s recent actions, which initiated a memo from the Human Resource Department signed by Director Hilary D. Womba, suspending the “MCC’s In-House/Supplementary Salary” with immediate effect until further notice from management, serious concerns have arisen among employees.

The directive, dated May 2, 2024, cites the need to address and arrange the payroll to ensure “Value for Money” and inclusiveness through individual and organizational performance. The move, according to the Mayor’s directive is part of a management plan to establish a sustainable framework to address double compensation, leading to salary disparities within the workforce.

A couple of days ago, Smart News Liberia received information from a source suggesting serious concerns of witch-hunting within the MCC. The source alleges that Mayor Siafa and his associates have primarily focused on violating the Decent Work Act.

According to the source, this harassment has reportedly instilled fear among employees at MCC who were hired during the administration of the former ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

The source also claims that the City Planning Manager at MCC, Melvin Brown, recently had his phone confiscated, reportedly on the orders of Mayor Siafa. However, the reason for this action was not provided by the source.

The source did not specify whether the Mayor’s actions were aimed at removing members of the former ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

When Smart News Liberia contacted Melvin, who is a partisan of CDC for comment on the Mayor’s actions, he did not directly answer the question. Instead, he mentioned that he has informed his lawyer and will speak to the press if his lawyer gives him the go-ahead. However, it’s unclear whether Melvin has received his phone back, as he has refused to answer that question since the incident.

During his tenure, the former Mayor, Jefferson Koijee, who is now the Secretary General of the former ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), reportedly hired a significant number of CDC supporters at MCC. According to the source, Mayor Siafa is targeting these employees to remove them from MCC.

Howbeit, the directive states this measure aims to transform the MCC into a result-focused institution, with performance indicators based on qualifications, experience, competence, and technical skills. The salary reform and restructuring framework are expected to drive the organization towards high-performance targets in the future, according to the Mayor’s directive.

Also, according to the directive, the suspension affects employees on the internal payroll, not on the government of Liberia (GoL) payroll. “Only those on the internal payroll will continue to receive salaries until they are moved to the CSA/MFDP payroll,” the directive noted.

The directive, in the possession of Smart News Liberia concludes with a note of appreciation for the employees’ support and understanding during this transition period. It underscores the importance of transparency and equity in pay rates, aiming to foster organization ownership among staff members.

However, it remains to be seen how this move will impact employee morale and the overall functioning of the MCC under Mayor Siafa’s leadership.

In light of these serious allegations, it is imperative that the relevant authorities conduct a thorough and impartial investigation to determine the veracity of the claims and take appropriate action if necessary. Employees’ rights must be protected, and those responsible for any abuses must be held accountable. Additionally, further details regarding Mayor Siafa’s alleged unfriendly operations will be published in subsequent publications.

Socrates Smythe Saywon
Socrates Smythe Saywon is a Liberian journalist. You can contact me at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or reach out via email at saywonsocrates@smartnewsliberia.com or saywonsocrates3@gmail.com.

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