Counties ‘flouting hiring rules’

By: DENNIS ODUNGA

Senators on Monday accused governors of letting their public service boards favour their friends and relatives in recruitment.

The Senate Finance Committee blamed the trend for the bloated workforce in the counties.

The board members in some counties operate at the mercy of the governor, prompting them to look the other way as the county bosses flout recruitment procedures, noted the committee.

The senators observed that a constitutional requirement that all the residents be considered for jobs has been ignored by county governments.

Instead, they noted that governors favour majority communities because they guarantee more votes.

The committee cited Bomet County as the most affected and asked Governor Isaac Ruto to stop undermining institutions mandated to streamline staff recruitment at the counties.

This was after county public service board members opened up about how their work has been problematic for the past two years because they operate without a budget.

“We miss out on important national seminars and workshops because we are denied funds. We even had to use our own fare to attend this meeting,” board chairman Joshua Terer said when he appeared before the committee at County Hall in Nairobi last week.

Mr Terer had appeared before the committee to respond to a petition that they are promoting skewed recruitment practices.

He said he was not aware of the current number of employees in the county because they have no access to the payroll, raising concern that some workers might have been hired without following the laid down procedures.

Mr Terer said the board could only account for 1,611 staff recruited since they assumed office.

“We have worked independently but with a lot of struggle,” he said.

The senators noted that relying on the good will of the governor to approve funds to enable them to discharge their constitutional mandate had exposed the board to manipulation.

They observed that failure by the governor to allocate the board funds was unconstitutional.

“Without their own budget to run their affairs, the board cannot independently advise the governor,” said Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o.

He went on: “If you are advising the hand that feeds you, if your advice is not palatable, you may miss funds.”

Migori Senator Wilfred Machage said it was unfortunate that such an important board was operating at the mercy of the governor.

“This is compromising your ability to make judgment. You have a problem,” he said.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr said the powers enjoyed by the board were equivalent to that of constitutional commissions and it was wrong for a county government to deny them funds for their day-to-day operations.

“Both the executive and the county assembly are to blame for the current sorry state of affairs. This is a corporate that should have its own budget. They advise the county government on human resource matters,” Mr Kilonzo said.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION