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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Councilors outraged over presentation of report against FCC

Alfred Koroma

Prior to the release of the hard-hitting report by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Councilors of the Freetown Municipality in a press release, expressed disappointment in the Ministry for not inviting them to be part of the public presentation of the report and for putting out late notice to the public regarding the presentation.

Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) on Thursday 17th February published a report after six months of launching an inquiry into the administration of the Freetown City Council (FCC). The report covered a number of administrative lapses and dysfunctional relationship between the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Councillors and other administrative staff of the Council.

But a public notice for the presentation of the report at the ministry’s conference room only came out in less than 24 hours to the event. The Mayor of the Council who is the fundamental focus of the report was also absent due to the late notice put out by the Ministry.

In a press release dated 17TH February, the Councilors express outrage over the failure of MLGRD to invite them at the event.

 ‘’As Councilors, we are appalled that we were not invited to  be part of this public presentation of the administrative investigation which started from a letter of complaint against the Chief Administrator and his lack of administrative professionalism that was written by us Councilors,’’ the  release states.

The Councilors noted that they considered it rather suspicious for them to be excluded from the official release of the report of an investigation they made several follow-ups on without getting any response, adding that the event was also organized with less than 24 hours’ notice to stakeholders.

But Some Councilors, together with the Deputy Mayor attended the event. It is not clear how the Councilors who attended the event were invited, leaving out those who expressed dissatisfaction in the press release. 

The councilors called on the ministry to respect their decision as elected representatives in its supervision of the council, and always provide a platform for dialogue between them and the administrative wings of the Council in the event of an impasse.

As stated in the press release, the councilors had expected the ministry to first engage the council on the content of a report which exposed enormous mismanagement, and accused the very councilors of overstepping their mandates in the running of the council, before presenting it to the public.

 The report says councilors of the Freetown City Council appear to be deeply involved in the day-to-day running of the Council activities. Besides frequenting the new FCC building on almost a daily basis, they meddle in council’s administration by directing the CA and other Council staff to act on their orders.

 The Administrative Inquiry commissioned in August last year by the MLGRD further revealed damaging financial mismanagement and dysfunctional relationship within FCC as a result of ‘deep seated mistrust and division.

The fifty-page report says that FCC is currently bereft of effective functional and financial management structure, a problem exacerbated by the continued existence of the exclusively established Mayor’s Delivery Unit.

The report also reveals an unhealthy existence of ‘us versus them’ mentality in every facet of the Council’s operations which according to the report, is grossly undermining the Council’s capacity to perform its core functions.

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