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City Hall pays 260 pensioners, looking to cut staff

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By Bibi Khatoon

As it moves into the New Year, the City Council is looking to reduce its 800 staff given the fact that 68% of its revenue went towards employment cost between January to October of 2017.

Referring to the City Hall’s financial state, Chairman of the Financial Committee, Oscar Clarke told councillors on Tuesday that “the difficulties, we face, while not new, will continue as long as we have 68% of our input as salaries.”

He noted that the Mayor and City Council will have to undertake a review of the entire staff structure in 2018 and this was communicated to the union.

“We will have to discuss with them (union) the way forward in terms of reducing the number of people we have on staff…it’s not that we don’t think the council needs the workers, the council need the workers but the council got to get money to pay the workers,” the Finance Chairman said.

He outlined that it is not a case of what is needed but what the council can afford, adding that the salary structure for the council will need to be reviewed as it conclude its 2018 budget.

Clarke pointed out that workers in the council are better paid when compared to persons who hold those same positions within other organizations in the public service.

“I can make reference to a couple of positions, for example an Office Assistant here gets $74,000 per month, the Government pays about $60,000 now…Clerk 2 General is $90,266 per month, the accountant gets $184, 966 as opposed what the Accountant in the public service gets, maybe $109-$110,000.”

He further disclosed that the council has 260 pensioners.

“Pension payments are increasing each year…there is nothing you can do about that because people have worked… and we have to find money for pension.”

Clarke said the Council currently owes $18M in salaries of which $12M is for allowances.

Mayor Patricia Chase-Greene said it’s a question of garnering more revenue or retrenching workers as she did not seem keen on “putting families on the breadline.”

Other councillors also pointed out that reducing the workforce of the council is not the answer.

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