By Alagie Manneh
The local government ministry has advised the deputy mayor of Banjul to refrain from addressing them in missives without the expressed consent of the mayor. The ministry also frowned at the deputy mayor, in a missive to him last week, for consistently copying memos and addressing them to the Local Government Commission.
The Standard could not establish the internal issues ongoing at the Council which prompted the deputy mayor’s series of letters to both the local government ministry and the LG Commission but they reportedly include requests and proposals for the institution of a scholarship board at the council among other things.
“…The [LG] Commission should not be copied in any way on Council’s internal matters and any other issue(s) in relation to operational matters,” the ministry stated in a letter sent to the office of the deputy mayor seen by The Standard.
“Additionally, I want to draw your attention to the fact that the Office of the Lord Mayor is the only political office of the Council. Thus, the Office of the Deputy Mayor doesn’t and cannot exist as a stand-alone office. Rather, it is an extension of the Office of the Lord Mayor, and therefore, any communication emanating from her desk should be signed for, and on behalf of, the Lord Mayor.”
When contacted for clarification on the issue, the deputy mayor Aziz Dabakh Malick said he has fittingly answered to the letter from the ministry at a general council meeting also attended by the ministry of local government where he explained tangible reasons for differing with the notion that his office cannot exist outside the confines of the Office of the Mayor.
In his reply to the ministry seen by The standard, the deputy mayor complained about the lack of a proper handing over process whenever the mayor travels out of the country. “The deputy mayor is the immediate subordinate to the mayor and it is customary and in line with proper administrative procedure that the mayor directly communicates and hand over to me during any period of absence to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities and efficient handling of official matters. I have raised this issue with your office with the hope of addressing it but unfortunately it still persists,” Deputy Mayor Dabah Malick wrote to the ministry. He said the lack of proper handing over has led to him not having access to important files when the mayor is away.” These among other things are the kind of things I wrote to the ministry to bring their attention to it,” he told The Standard.