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Feb 7, 2018

Mayor Says New Contract for City Admin Brings Continuity

Darrell Bradley

While several current Belize City councilors will be sweating it out on the night of March seventh to see whether they will still have jobs at City Hall, City Administrator Candice Burke is sitting pretty. In fact, her latest contract extension, for four years, will outlast the council to be elected on that Wednesday. It is an outgrowth of local governments’ plans to grant tenure to all staff, though administrators, directors and managers were not initially included. At an event earlier today, Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley was questioned about the four-year extension given to his city administrator months before he demits office.  The mayor passed it off as a mark of continuity that the Council will remain with a senior manager in charge.

 

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“We did that, I think, in the month of November, and again there’s no chicanery. If you want to know something about City Council, just ask me, because we have run a City Council that is very transparent. This is part of our reforming of the municipal staff, so that this is not something that only the Belize City Council did. All our city councils and town councils throughout our nine municipalities – one of the things that our staff have been campaigning on is that the idea that they should be given the right of tenure. One of the things when we did the municipal services regulations is we formed a committee that comprised the mayor of Belize City, the mayor of Belmopan and the mayor of Orange Walk. We had intense discussions about this, including with legal persons and our technical staff; we raised it quite extensively and put together a document which all of us signed off on, which gave the right of tenure to all our staff members. The only thing we could not agree with on that time is what would be the status of the City Administrator and directors and managers. It would have been my view at that time that the Municipal Services Regulations should have included every staff member, including the City Administrator. One of the things that I am very pleased with is that I came to the City Council and inherited a City Administrator, and I leave the City Council and I will leave that same person there and I think that is the way it should be. We continue to have this debate in terms of a chief executive officer versus a permanent secretary; I believe that the public service, including the public service of the municipality should be one hundred percent immune from politics. And that person – the staff, including the head of the staff – should be somebody who receives incoming Mayors, who provides technical assistance, who provides guidance and who runs the operational structure of the City Council, including hiring, firing, discipline, policy implementation and so forth. And the City Council deals with the political leadership, the strategic leadership and the oversight function.”

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