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Sep 17, 2014

What’s the Fate of BML Employees Post 2014?

Of course, we also asked about the one hundred and seventy employees of BML, soon to be brand new employees of the Belize City Council. Or are they? It’s no secret that Mayor Bradley was forced into that commitment by Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Bradley’s made no secret of his problems with that concept. And he made it clear again today, indicating that there are serious discussions ahead with the company and workers. The Mayor maintains that bringing on one hundred and seventy new staff is, to put it lightly, difficult.

 

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“Now when you look at the absorbing of a hundred and seventy people…that’s thirty something percent more City Council staff, and when you look at that it’s not only salary. Its salary together with pension together with uniforms together with overtime together with supervision…which is something the City Council is notoriously poor at in terms of ensuring that we can adequately monitor and manage our existing staff. This is why on all accounts I’ve always favoured rational privatization because if you have a system whereby private people perform services, the contracts are properly tendered, there is no exclusivity and you can let the market test that, then that is a function that works. And you have a very small, efficient City Council. Now what we are doing is spending a lot of attention and focus in trying to see how this one hundred and seventy staff will work. By any stretch of the imagination that is very difficult.”

 

Reporter

Darrell Bradley

“Do you contemplate any time when it becomes so difficult to make this happen that there would perhaps be a renegotiation with the company saying you know what…we can’t continue to pay you all that money, but we are willing to work something out with you…rather than us taking on one hundred and seventy new staff members with all the attending difficulties?”

 

Darrell Bradley

“That contract comes to a lawful end, a lawful end January fifteenth, 2015. We have made numerous statements that we had a certain view in relation to that contract. And that obligation…we pay them four million dollars per year, would have been a savings to the City Council. Our cash flow would have increased tremendously. In terms of renegotiating with them, we have at certain periods sat down with them and they wrote me a communication in the last three weeks in terms of recommending to us services that would be fifty percent of what we now pay them. Right now we pay them about seventy-eight thousand dollars. They had recommended something like about thirty-seven thousand dollars. Those are things which we have to look at simply because of the new mix in having us absorb a hundred and seventy people. I don’t practically see that as working efficiently. And one of the things I do not want as Mayor is that now we are having problems paying BML and Waste Control…but next September or October, rather than not paying the contractors I would have a problem paying staff.”

 

It is anticipated that the discussion and decision, one way or another, should be concluded by November.

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