BAD GOOD FRIDAY AT DEFENSE
At Ministry of National Defense, Minister Samukai suspends 31 Without Pay, Branded an Antichrist by angry employees
The Minister of National Defense, Brownie J. Samukai, Jr. has suspended 31 employees of the Ministry who stayed home last Friday to attend church in observance of Good Friday.
The Minister, in a stern Memorandum to the Deputy Minister of Administration, Deputy Minister of Operations, the Comptroller of the ministry and the Director of Personnel declared: “the following list of personnel who did not provide written excuse and decided not to report to work are hereby suspended for one week on the job without pay effective 22-29 April 2011.”
The instructions left many employees of the ministry visibly frustrated and angry for the decision. A middle-aged employee of the ministry speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “This is too much. Is it my fault that he did not go to church on Good Friday? Has he gotten so frustrated by his own actions to the extent of openly declaring himself an “Antichrist”?
Quizzed on his reaction of losing a week’s pay while on the job, the employee said the minster’s actions were unfair. “This is not fair, and it is unacceptable in all aspects of reality. If you suspend me, let me stay home and regret it, but don’t keep me on the job and say I am suspended only to have you cut my salary at the end of the month and put it in your pocket. Which article of the Civil Service Regulation calls for the suspension of government employees for a week just for staying away from work for a day? Which article? I dare him to state that article!”
The minister’s statement took the employees to task and held them accountable for gross negligence, willful disobedience, lack of respect for established procedures and administrative regulations as well as failure to follow security instructions. “Their actions grossly limited the quality of work anticipated.”
Another employee questioned the minister’s motives for suspending employees without pay. “What does he mean failure to follow security instructions? Which security instructions is he talking about? Is it the civilian staff of the Defense Ministry responsibility to protect the country or the AFL? He’s talking about security instructions, why did he sit here and allow rebels to come in and out of Liberia during the recent uprisings in Ivory Coast?”
According to some frustrated staffers at the ministry, the Minister had planned his action before Good Friday. According to them, the minister called the director of personnel at 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning and instructed him to be at the ministry earlier than usual to take note of absentees. Furthermore, the minister himself reported to work even earlier than normal, just to have his instructions implemented to the letter.
The memorandum, marked “SAAM/MOD/104/RL/’11, a copy of which is in the possession of FrontPageAfrica specifically directed the Comptroller of the ministry: Consequently, the Comptroller is directed to ensure that the appropriate deductions are made, and the Director of Personnel is to document this action in each affected staff file. Any repeat of such incident will lead to their immediate dismissal.
These instructions, if followed to the letter will see 31 employees of the ministry forfeiting one week deductions while on the job, which is a very disturbing punishment. In administrations the world over, once an employee is suspended, that employee is expected to stay away from work until the suspension has been fully exhausted. But in this instance, the suspended employees are to come to work on a daily basis while forfeiting a huge one-week deduction of their salaries.
“The most painful part is having a suspension letter placed in my personal file in the personnel department for nothing substantial. I came to work on Friday, but by the time I arrived at my desk, I was informed that the Director of personnel was in my office a minute ago doing “head count” of employees at work. I followed the director to his office to make things clear, but because he makes himself inferior to Minister Samukai, he said the decision is binding because it’s an instruction from the minister, who is his brother-in-law.” An angry employee indicated.
Consequently, some employees pointed out that there is not an article in the Civil Service Regulation that calls for the “SUSPENSION FOR ONE WEEK ON THE JOB WITHOUT PAY, OF A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE.” So it’s a clear indication of a violation of the Civil Service Regulation that Minister Samukai would emphatically hand down suspension on the job for a week on the job without pay to government employees at the Ministry of National Defense.”
Commenting on minister Samukai’s donation of five (5) sets of desktop computers to the Kebbah community in Bardnersville, the frustrated employee continued: “this minister is full of deceit. Those computers were donated by the Chinese government a few months ago. There are many offices in the ministry without computers and here he is making big name for himself. I bet he cannot take his own money to buy five desktop computers for that community, so he’s using government property to fulfill promises.”