A proposal to hire new workers will push the wage bill to Sh6.5 billion.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui has sent a supplementary budget to the county assembly seeking approval to recruit 509 staff.
According to the document scheduled for debate by Members of the County Assembly today, Mr Kinyanjui wants to recruit 350 nursery school teachers, 150 nurses and nine sub-county administrators.
This appears to contradicts an earlier pledge by the governor to reduce the county wage bill, which had hit Sh6.2 billion by the time he was taking over from his predecessor Kinuthia Mbugua.
The wage bill was one of the issues through which Kinyanjui won the August 8, 2017 elections. He promised voters that he would tame rising county staff salaries after conducting a staff audit to weed out ‘ghost workers’ and anyone engaged unlawfully.
In the supplementary budget, the county treasury is requesting Sh67.2 million for public service management, part of which will be spent on a staff audit.
A report of the assembly's Budget and Appropriations Committee tabled in the House by chairman Moses Ndung’u warned that the rising wage bill could affect implementation of key programmes and projects.
The governor has requested Sh13.76 million to recruit the nursery school teachers, Sh15.9 million to employ the nurses and an additional Sh5.3 million to maintain 177 health workers on contract.
Another proposal contained in Kinyanjui’s first supplementary budget is an allocation of Sh4.8 million to pay nine officers to be seconded from the national government as sub-county administrators.
The governor argues that sub-county administrators will enhance revenue collection, inject professionalism in the management of county affairs and bring on board experience necessary in running the units.
Kinyanjui sacked 11 sub-county administrators when he took office last August. Although the 11 were reinstated by the Employment and Labour Relations Court, the governor plans to redeploy them.
Also in the supplementary budget is a request by the county assembly for an additional Sh30 million for the MCAs’ car and mortgage scheme, and another Sh42 million to boost their facilitation budget for committees and conferences.