County battles huge wage bill despite sacking over 1500 workers

Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo (second right) with County Assembly Speaker Hasna Mudeizi (centre) with other members arrive for a function at the county headquarters in Mbale. [Eric Lungai/Standard]
The county government is still struggling with a high wage bill even after laying off 1,500 workers since the new administration took over.

County Secretary Francis Ominde said the amount the government was paying in salaries had not reduced even after the workers were sacked in June last year.

When he took over, Governor Wilber Ottichilo said he wanted a lean but effective team.

Dr Ottichilo accused the previous regime of employing too many people and paying them in excess of Sh200 million a month.

SEE ALSO :Wage bill huge, say ward reps

“I was in the committee that sacked people on June 30, 2017. We had excess workers, and so we decided to terminate all those on contracts to reduce the wage bill. We also wanted to know those who were employed genuinely and weed out ghost workers.

 Excess workers

“As we talk now, we have not re-employed any of the workers whose contracts were terminated, yet the wage bill is still the same. The money being used to pay county staff is the same as what we used to pay before those on contract were sacked,” said Mr Ominde.

He was speaking during an interview on a local radio station.

The station had invited Ominde because of a second letter that Ottichilo wrote last week interdicting him. 

SEE ALSO :Gideon concerned over increased roll-overs, wage bill in county

In the letter that leaked on social media before it was handed to Ominde, Ottichilo accused him of employing people irregularly and failing to effect inter-departmental transfers, among other allegations.

Ominde called for investigations to establish why the county was still spending the same amount of money to pay salaries even after the sackings.

“The county public service board is responsible for employing staff, not me. There is a problem and that is why I have written to the relevant bodies to come in and investigate the matter,” he said.

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wage billGovernor Wilber Ottichilo