, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 19 – Nairobi Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke has supported the County Ward Representatives’ (CWRs) demand that their gross pay be increased to Sh275, 000.
Mueke argued that the current CWRs gross pay of Sh79,000 is not commensurate to the work they are expected to do and does not reflect the current cost of living.
Mueke was insistent that County Ward Representatives should not still be looked upon as councillors but should instead be looked upon as legislators just like their counterparts in the National Assembly.
“When you see them (CWRs) asking for Sh275,000 it’s because that is about 50 percent of what the governor earns. They are asking, if the MPs (Members of Parliament) who are also legislators are earning about 50 percent of the President’s salary, why shouldn’t they and they form part of a government as well,” Mueke said.
Mueke said the allowances the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) acquiesced to on Saturday were not enough.
“I still think it’s too low. There is still room to negotiate so when these people go to work they are thinking about legislating and not about how they are surviving.”
Evans Kidero’s second in command would also like the SRC to take into account regional differences in the cost of living when carrying out salary harmonization.
“You cannot pay someone in Nairobi the same as someone in the rural area where the standard of living is much lower.”
Mueke expressed frustration over the inability of the county government to staff the County Public Service Board with the best brains in the market given the uncompetitive pay they are offering.
“We had to re-advertise for our public board members and our public board secretary because we interviewed, we got very good talent but the guidelines for salaries we were given are not attractive.”
Mueke would now like the SRC to engage market leaders in the Human Resource business when determining what salaries will attract the best minds and in turn the best service for county residents.
“If those salaries are not reviewed, then you’re going to get very poor talent to do very important jobs and the citizen will suffer because you cannot afford to pay the right people to do the work,” Mueke explained.
The salary stalemate, Mueke confessed, has impacted negatively on the county government’s ability to deliver and has called on the SRC to quickly resolve the matter and enable them fulfil their promises to Kenyans.
“You know, to really kick start our county government we need to have a County Executive in place, a County Public Service Board in place — that’s supposed to do staff rationalisation and hire the people who are actually supposed to run this county.”
“And those people,” Mueke continued, “by law have to be vetted by the County Assembly, so we’ve appointed our County Executives, we’ve appointed some of our public service board members but there’s not County Assembly to vet them. They’ve gone on recess over their pay.”