The Laikipia County government has laid off 176 employees in a staff rationalisation programme.
In a statement released by acting County Secretary Karanja Njora on Monday, the county said the rationalisation programme was aimed at reducing a ballooning wage bill and enhancing service delivery.
Mr Njora explained that currently the wage bill stood at 58.8 per cent of the county budget, higher than the legally recommended 35 per cent.
Njora said the decision was informed by a staff audit carried out by the County Public Service Board between June 24 and August 17 2019.
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The audit, according to Njora, revealed that some employees earned salaries that were not commensurate with the work they delivered.
“To this effect, the board has identified 176 employees whose positions will be redundant,” read the statement.
“Employees occupying these positions are not gainfully engaged. The board also engaged union officials to cultivate a mutual understanding of the separation process.”
Njora stressed that the affected workers would be counseled and given a send-off package to help sustain them for a while.
They were issued with redundancy notices on January 8.
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The audit was also meant to find out whether employees’ skills matched their job specifications.
“A number of employees were found to be wrongfully placed.
“The audit also revealed that some employees are not gainfully engaged, meaning that they earn a salary but there is no way of justifying what they do,” Njora said.
Njora added that the huge wage bill was draining resources meant for development.
While justifying the rationalisation, authorities said the county leadership risked going to jail for contravening the legal requirement that a wage bill should be capped at 35 per cent of the total budget.
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The County Fiscal strategy paper also stipulates that the Executive should spend at least 30 per cent of the budget on development.
“To achieve this, we have concluded the staff rationalisation programme with some staff redeployed to match their positions with their skills,” said Njora.
“Skill gaps identified will continue being addressed through training and recruitment where necessary.”
The county government began reforms in its county public service two years ago with the aim of improving service delivery.
The reforms introduced a performance management system where all employees have to prepare work plans and fill in time-sheets.
It also provided for a platform where employees who performed well were rewarded.
Last year, Nairobi County Government conducted a biometric registration of its entire workforce meant to flush out ghost workers.
The registration was carried out by a private contractor, Starlite Ltd. Previously, the total county workforce was at between 12,000 and 13,000 workers.
The biometric registration was necessitated by revelations that City Hall had been spending Sh1.1 billion every month in payment of salaries.
In order to address this, City Hall set aside Sh1 billion to be used to lay off 70 per cent of its ageing workforce, as most City Hall workers were above the age 55.