PSC raises the alarm over sacking at the counties

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has cautioned county governments against arbitrary sacking of staff seconded to the devolved units.

PSC commissioner Judith Bwenya says there has been irregular dismissal of staff seconded to counties by the county public service boards (CPSB) and county assemblies public services (CASB)  without the involvement of PSC.

Dr Bwenya on Thursday warned the employment agencies in the counties that their powers to reprimand or dismiss staff were limited.

“In case you may have been taken to Industrial Courts by the aggrieved employees, we can advise you to eat humble pie by withdrawing and settling out of court and absorbing them back because you will not win the cases,” she said.

Speaking in the North Rift while addressing authorities of the employment bureaus drawn from Baringo, Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties,  Dr Bwenya said the commission had received a number of appeals from aggrieved employees.

“We are only informing the county governments that you have no jurisdiction to dismiss but you can initiate the disciplinary process by writing to us [PSC] recommending which disciplinary action should be taken against any officer,” she said.

In Uasin Gishu County, for example, the commission has cases of six staff seconded to the county  by the national government who were sacked without the consent of the commission while in Elgeyo-Marakwet County, staff seconded were at some time  unprocedurally tossed  to and from the county assembly to the executive because the assembly felt they did not need them.

The commissioner said the affected staff were those on secondment or those who served in the devolved functions including the former local authorities.

Gideon Kipyakwai, the CPSB chairman Elgeyo- Marakwet county, said county boards needed training to familiarise them with the handling of staff  to avoid litigation.

“I know that there are standardised norms, regulations for staff management and the Employment Act and all other statutes that regulate how you treat an employee and we do not want as boards to step into anyone’s foot in this radical process of devolution,” noted Mr Kipyakwai.

He wondered why the powers of the CPSBs were limited yet they were paying the employees salaries.

Area governor Alex Tolgos said there would be no animosity between the national and county governments since they are both serving the taxpayer.

“We in the county have made it clear to our staff that there will be no laxity. We expect the same from staff seconded to the counties from the national government,” he added.