Lloyd Hill takes council to court

No. 46 Wednesday, January 27, 2010
The Hanover Parish Council is as broke as a church mouse. The local government body which is mandated to run the affairs of the municipal body is in dire financial straits which has landed its accounts into overdraft.
   The Western Mirror has been reliably informed that the parish council ran up an overdraft of about $6 million in December but former Mayor Lloyd Hill had confirmed with this writer in a previous interview that efforts were being made to bring the situation under control and that the overdraft figures had been reduced to under $3 million. Unconfirmed reports are that the council owes contractors and employees monies that are in arrears and things are so bad that auditors have been called in to investigate.
   The financial mess has seen the blame game being thrown around as to who really is responsible for the predicament that the council is now facing. The Western Mirror caught up with former Mayor Lloyd Hill who was recently removed from office by a no confidence motion done by his fellow councillors who voted by a 4-3 majority to remove him from office. This matter is, however, pending in the Supreme Court which has been called in to examine the validity of the move.
   “Yes, there is a financial overdraft situation at the council,” Hill confirmed. He went on to explain that in terms of approval and expenditure the secretary/manager in consultation with the Director of Finance are the persons mandated to make recommendations to the political directorate. “Over the holiday period, it was brought to my attention that cheques that were signed were still with the accounting office because the bank had indicated that there was an overdraft on the Bank Balance. As a result of this, I quickly convened a meeting of the Finance Committee during which the matter was discussed at length. We realized that there were still cheques that had been issued for Christmas work that had not reached the bank. In addition to this, there were bills in the Accounts and Road and Works departments that had not been paid. We expressed shock and disappointment at these findings in that the political directorate felt it was not properly advised as to the financial status of the council.”
   Hill went on to say, “I then wrote a letter to the Secretary Manager copying the state minister Mr. Robert Montague and the other Councillors expressing dissatisfaction and disappointment that we were not properly advised as to the financial status of the council. In the letter I questioned why there was a financial overdraft and why we as councilors were not made aware. I also gave instructions that corrective measures, be put in place so as that it not is repeated.”
   Hill who was in a combative mood further added, “I want it to be known that the political directorate should in no way be held accountable because approval for expenditure of programmes is based on advice from the secretary Manager and Director of Finance. Even when we sign cheques it is based on the strength and signatures of those in administrative positions. I welcome the audit that is now underway because this will prove that proper steps were not taken by the accounting officers to show due diligence,” he opined.
   Attempts to get a comment from the secretary! manager of the council proved futile, this as she was said to be in a meeting. With news emerging that Hill has initiated proceedings in the Supreme Court of Jamaica to reinstate him to the position of Mayor because of what he believes was a flawed process to remove him, the situation at the council is fluid to say the least and can change at anytime especially if the High Court rules in his favour today.
   Whatever happens there will be drama and intrigue in the coming days at the Hanover Parish Council.

No comments:

Post a Comment