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City Hall seeks to pick Public Service Board CEO

By Josphat Thiong’o | September 8th 2021

City Hall.

City Hall has resuscitated the bid to appoint a Chief Executive Officer/Secretary to the Nairobi County Public Service Board (NCPSB).

This is after MCAs last year rejected former Governor Mike Sonko’s nominee for the position, advocate Philip Kungu on grounds that he did not meet requirements set out by law.

In an advert in the local dailies yesterday, the office of the acting Governor asked interested candidates to submit their applications by September 17.

“Duties of the officer will be preparing and circulating minutes and agenda of board meetings, developing annual work plans for the board with the guidance of the chairperson as well as conveying decisions of the board,” read the notice.

Notably, this is City Hall’s third attempt to hire an individual to take up the plum job since 2019 when the position fell vacant after Meshack Guto's term ended.

In September last year, Sonko forwarded the name of Mr Kungu to the assembly for vetting and approval for appointment as secretary to the board.

He had been nominated alongside Jack Owino as a member to the board.

They were scheduled to appear before the labour committee on October 5, 2020, for vetting and approval but Kungu did not show up. He also failed to forward his credentials to the committee.

“Vide a letter dated October 1, 2020, the nominee for the position of secretary to the Nairobi County Public Service Board declined to appear before the committee for vetting,” stated a report by the committee which was tabled at the assembly .

The Anthony Ngaruiya-led committee stated that Kungu had collected vetting forms and submitted clearance documents for the position but later informed the office of the clerk of his withdrawal to attend the approval hearings.

The committee consequently recommended that the approval for his appointment be halted until provisions of the law on public appointments are complied with.

The report further revealed that Kungu was in July last year rejected by the committee for appointment to the same position on grounds that he was not a certified public secretary as is required under section 58(1)(c) of the County Governments Act, 2012.

He had been nominated for appointment as secretary to the board by the former governor in March last year.

The committee, in its initial ruling, stated that pursuant to section 10(ii) of the Public Appointments (County Assemblies Approval) Act, 2017, Kungu needed to demonstrate to the committee that the conditions upon which his earlier rejection was based had been fulfilled.

The provision states that a nominating authority shall not resubmit the name of a candidate whose nomination has been rejected by the county assembly unless the circumstances relied on for the rejection of the appointment of the candidate did not exist or ceased to exist at the time of rejecting the nomination of the candidate.

“However, the nominee failed to attend the approval hearing and hence the committee did not make any observations with regard to his nomination,” said Ngaruiya .

The Nairobi County Public Service Board consists of a chairperson and other members nominated by the governor but approved by the assembly. It is also charged with the responsibility of developing and implementing human resource policies and framework for the county government in line with the relevant laws. 

Key functions of the board include establishing and abolishing offices in the county public service, appointing persons to hold or act in offices of the county public service, advising the County Government on human resource management and development. [Josphat Thiong'o]

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