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Apr 2, 2012

City Council fires redundant workers

There are mass firings underway at City Hall. Less than a month after taking office, Mayor Darrell Bradley says he has to trim the excess fat from among Council employees. At least twenty-two employees are losing their jobs in the wave of firings that started Friday and continued today and more may be on the chopping block. City Hall is broke and the Mayor says that to meet the padded payroll he has to collect taxes ahead of time. For the fired employees, it’s taking bread from their families. News Five’s Isani Cayetano met with both the mayor and some who have received walking papers.

 

Allen Valencio, Terminated from CitCo

“I wahn di mayor know, I wahn di mayor know that I got pickney fi feed and I noh wahn turn wah monsta pan di street because that da weh dehn di force me fi do, fi real.”

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Shortly before midday today Allen Valencio, an office attendant employed by the Belize City Council, was served this letter; a notice written and signed by the Director of Human Resources informing him that his services had been terminated forthwith.

Darrell Bradley

Valencio, one of twenty-two workers, is part of an ongoing exercise carried out by the recently sworn-in Bradley Administration to rid City Hall of its excess staff.

 

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“The position as we had taken when we took office was that we really need to make some serious decisions in terms of City Hall. What we did and part of the audit exercise that I earlier spoke about has to do with an institutional audit to see how we would align the processes of the City Council.  And then that has to do with aligning our staff complement to ensure that we are effective at what we do and to ensure also that we are able to meet our budget targets, I mean the City Council at this point employs two hundred and ninety-six employees.”

 

Harry Joseph

Among them was Harry Joseph, after just six months of working with CitCo, he too has been given his walking papers.  Like Valencio, he is a father of two.

 

Harry Joseph, Terminated from CitCo

“I deh da my work Friday, I report on duty then afterwards I sih wah supervisor haul up and afterwards I sih dehn call me and di young man, weh two ah we di work.  Then afterwards dehn call di young man, Kirk Flowers, first and then afterwards dehn say we got wah letter fi you and wah check, dig.  Then dehn haul pan me and say “Mr. Joseph you next” and then afterwards di man say we got wah letter and wahn letter fi yoh so hand ova yoh ID and yoh security badge cause ih say “you’re no longer working with the council.”  But when time I read di letter, di letter no even got wah reason weh dehn let we go fah.”

 

Indeed, Joseph’s memo, a standard copy similar to the one his colleagues received, doesn’t state a reason for termination; instead, what is outlined is the entitlement they will be given.  In Valencio’s case his severance amounts to a little under three thousand, five hundred dollars.  An explanation, they say, is equally as important as compensation for the loss of their jobs.

 

Allen Valencio

Allen Valencio

“Dehn leggo me based pan wahn contract weh dehn say I sign, you know.  I come back, cohn da headquarters fi try talk to di HR Director weh da Ms. Rudon and she tell me she noh got nothing fi do wid it and she da di HR Director and she say she no got nothing fi do with it.  I gone to di City Administrator, di City Administrator inform me that she geh wah list and she geh directive fi release me.”

 

According to Mayor Bradley, the decision to discharge the employees, in light of the audit implementation, is based on performance and superfluity.  He also says that in the past the Belize City Council has had to solicit advance tax payments from the business community in order to meet its bi-weekly payroll, a practice he says that has weighed heavily on the function of the administration.

 

Darrell Bradley

“It’s twofold actually, and I had mentioned this before, a lot of the tiers in terms of City Council management and operations are redundant, I mean we have, we have a lot of staff and we really need to look at this issue seriously and I mean we need to make some tough decisions in terms of moving forward and that’s the process that we undertook.  I don’t expect that being in the office of mayor it would be easy.  I don’t expect that I will be liked by everybody.  I don’t expect that all the decisions that we make are serious and will be accepted by everybody but we need to ensure that what we do there is in the best interest of everybody in the city.”

 

For Curtis Faber, who has been with the council for almost a year, the timing couldn’t be any worse.

 

Curtis Faber, Terminated from CitCo

“Bredda me just get two loan, chief if yo di hay this speech ya and thing please just reason with me and just mek ah pay off mi loans dehn and if unu noh wahn ah work wid di council noh moh, no problem cause I dah wahn struggla.  I work, I got wah living brain and I know how fu mek money next way but while working with unu guys I had two loans weh I mi di pay and I just get it, yo undastand.”

 

Reporting for News Five I am Isani Cayetano.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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10 Responses for “City Council fires redundant workers”

  1. Storm says:

    I’m all for slashing bloated public payrolls to balance the budgets across the board, not just at Citco.

    It needs to be done impartially, not just exacting”payback” or sweeping old cronies out to hire new cronies in their place.

    I’m willing to give the new Mayor some rope, enough room to do a good job, or to tangle up and hang himself with it if he is up to no good.

  2. Earl Grey says:

    They should have gotten AT LEAST TWO WEEKS NOTICE of termination…and a NICE CHECK.

  3. Paco Smith says:

    Well, the Election Day “Buzz” is finally wearing off. Now reality is setting in. I empathise with those who were made redundant by the new City Administration. Yet, in retrospect, this is what we were telling the electorate, leading up to the election. It is business as usual in City Hall!

    If one wants to “trim the fat”, why not start with the fattest cats of them all? It is the very same people who make the least that are getting the axe. Its a shame, but we must remember that this time around we (and I mean this collectively) had a viable alternative to the PUDP. Unfortunately, we didn’t seize it. Now the pressure is being applied and most likely what we Belizeans will do, is just call the morning talk shows, complain and do nothing else.

    My people, wake up and I encourage you to buck the “status quo”, the next time you have an opportunity to do so. It continues to boggle my mind as to why our people are so unwilling to step out of the proverbial “comfort zone” of the PUDP, when they know that realistically speaking, they’re not all that comfortable, in the first place.

    Belizeans, it remains time for substantive change!

  4. rebel says:

    Shut up Mr. Smith…do you wanna know you didn’t win? You talk too much, and say very little. All that uncle tom gibberish won’t help any of the persons fired. At least empathise with them for real, don’t tell them “you voted PUP or UDP, it’s your fault”. Sick.

  5. Earl Grey says:

    COULDN’T THEY FIND SOMETHING ELSE FOR THEM TO DO??????

  6. CEO says:

    People should vote for who ever they choose without losing their job.

    But if we are going to work for the public we should have a dress code which includes hair.

    I agree that they should be compensated to bridge them over until they get another job.

  7. Beautifulpempem says:

    Rebel is maddddddddddd!!!you cyan shut up nobody there is a freedom of writing!!mi seh!!! immature mi seh…i can write what i want and what comes to mind its my opinion just like Mr.Smith he can write whatever he chose to write REBEL!!!!

  8. chaveli says:

    hmmm this is interesting

  9. beachman says:

    @Earl Grey, u r usually pushin the self sustaining prison farm idea. Now u sayin don’t fire extra workers but fine another work fi dem or give em big checks? where dis money com from?

  10. Paco Smith says:

    @ rebel,

    Please, read my post carefully and I hope that you can understand that I’m not blaming anyone. Actually, if you read it. You might note that I stated, “I empathise with those who were made redundant by the new City Administration.”

    Is that clear enough for you? And by the way, if you haven’t already noticed, I’m not going to get into a back and forth with you because some things simply are not worth it. My only reason for responding is to highlight what I wrote…just in case you missed it ;-)

    Although I’m not sure that I want to know your response to this question, I’ll go out on a limb and ask you…”Do you think its best to cut costs, by starting with those who earn the least?”

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