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Query over national library service boss ‘long’ tenure

By Rawlings Otieno | May 28th 2019

Questions are being raised about the lengthy tenure of Kenya National Library Services Chief Executive Richard Atuti amid employees’ claims their salaries are inconsistent with figures reflected in the payroll.

Mr Atuti, who was first appointed in 2009, has had his term extended twice — by Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and by his sacked predecessor Rashid Echesa.

However, according to ‘Mwongozo’ — the Code of Governance for State Corporations — the term of a CEO of a State corporation is three years or as otherwise provided under any other written law which is renewable once subject to performance evaluated by the board.

The Standard has established that Mr Echesa had directed the board last year in July to start the process of recruitment of the new CEO six months before the lapse of his one year extension.

Sources within the institution confided in The Standard that the board will be meeting on Friday reportedly to extend his tenure once again.

But Mr Atuti defended himself against the allegation, saying that his service to the institution has been exemplary and hence no need to exit just yet.

“My term was extended because of my track record at the institution. Besides am still young and performing well. Where do you want me to go?” Atuti posed.

Another controversy revolves around a pay rise for employees reportedly approved by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) following a job evaluation. Some staff allege they have been earning less than what is stipulated in the payroll.

For instance, Ombati Okedi (not his real name), a Principal Librarian, claimed that SRC had given nod that he earns Sh38,000 as hardship allowance, but he takes home only Sh8,000.

“In the payroll it is indicated that I earn Sh38, 000 as hardship allowance when in reality I only get Sh8, 000. Where is my Sh30, 000 going to every month,” Okedi posed.

Those who spoke to The Standard in confidence claimed that nearly all the 350 staff at senior level have issues with their new salary scale, house allowances and hardship allowance as recommended by the SRC.

“The allegations on salary and allowances being peddled are not true. Give me time to extract documents to support my response,” Atuti told The Standard during an interview at his Buru Buru office.

A confidential letter by SRC to Atuti dated December 6, 2017 and signed by Anne Gitau, indicates new basic structure from job group A1-E2 where A1 is the lowest carder and E2 the CEO.

According to the letter, at the time the current salary for the lowest staff was between Sh8, 620 and Sh19,380 while the highest ranged between Sh320,000 and Sh600,000.

The new structure after the SRC job evaluation pegged the basic salaries at Sh11,031 and Sh13,629 for the lowest cadre and the highest from Sh315,642 with a maximum of Sh567,956.

New structure

Some staff in job group J who are supposed to earn Sh24, 662, according to new structure, alleged they only take home Sh14, 000.

The 350 staff in the payroll in possession of The Standard earn cumulatively Sh2, 331,177.60 and Sh27, 981,331.20 annually.

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