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May 11, 2018

Deputy City Mayor Defends Terminations as Part of Restructuring

The Belize City Council has broken its silence on the dismissal of six employees earlier this week, including City Administrator Candice Miller.  While the writings were on the wall for the embattled senior manager, ever since her suspension on April fifth, the unforeseen termination of five others has taken the public by surprise.  On Tuesday, Cecil Jenkins, Lisbeth Butler, Wayne Samuels, Whitney Waight and Shana Whyte were all relieved of their respective duties at City Hall, amid a reworking of its organizational structure.  Mayor Bernard Wagner has been rather tightlipped on the firings, aside from a terse release issued through CitCo’s public relations department.  Today, the media was finally given an opportunity to sit down with Deputy Mayor Oscar Arnold who began with an explanation of Miller’s removal.

 

Oscar Arnold

Oscar Arnold, Deputy Mayor, Belize City Council

“As you all well know, there is an amount of information that I would be able to speak on because we do have a lawsuit pending, based on the suspension of, in the initial stages of Ms. Candice Miller.  So what happened there was Ms. Candice Miller came back in to get due process.  She sat in a meeting in caucus to discuss the issues that were presented to her in the dismissal letter and based on that the councilors had to make a decision as to whether they felt it necessary that yes there is grounds for dismissal.  Coming out of that, caucus made a decision and it was unanimously supported that she be terminated and that is because of dereliction of duties as well, and the other points that were listed in the dismissal letter.  That is as far as Ms. Candice Miller is concerned.  With the rest, with the other dismissals that you spoke about, every organization, every CEO, every head of government, every head of state, every head of municipality, when there’s a change and the residents of the city gave Bernard Wagner a mandate to come in and do what was necessary to try to get the city council affairs back on track.  Based on that, because of the restructuring that needs to take place, that is purely what happened.  I know that the media was locked in on the dismissal, but there was another part of the restructuring that took place.  There were some resources where we saw capacity was there and those were reallocated.  Human resources were reallocated in other areas where they could provide a little bit more value to the city council.  So the restructuring process continues, it’s not…  I’m saddened that it’s only the dismissals that made it on the airwaves, but there’s also additional parts of it where the restructuring moves human personnel, human resources from one unit to the other where they can make a difference and provide and improve the service to the city residents.”

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