Senator Dillon: “I Will Only Accept US$5K As Salary”

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Darius Dillon, assisted by his wife Sedia (left), is inducted into office as Senator of Montserrado County

— Submits Asset Declaration Paper to Senate Secretary 

— Pro Tempore Chie warns Dillon that he could be removed by peers, not by the people who elected him 

The newly inducted Senator of Montserrado County, Abraham Darius Dillon, in line with some of his by-election campaign pledges, on Thursday, August 15, 2019, announced before Senate plenary and family members, including his wife and mother, that he will only accept a salary in full sum of US$5,000 as Senator.

“As a first sign of our commitment to our pledges, I want to publicly announce that considering the current economic situation the country is faced with, I Senator Abraham Darius Dillon of Montserrado County, will only accept a salary in full sum of US$5,000, and any amount over this, will be deposited in an escrow account to go toward social development programs. I urge my colleagues in the legislative, executive and judiciary branches to kindly consider doing likewise so as to save money for other development projects,” Senator Dillon declared to the delight of onlookers and some the lawmakers, who only nodded with apparent approval.

“In keeping with the Liberian Constitution,” Senator Dillon said that at the time of economic challenges, “The Constitution says national leaders should craft policies for national good, therefore, it is time for us to look in that direction.”

“While a full declaration of my assets will be made following the due process outlined by law, I publicly declare today, as I present to the secretary of the Senate my asset declaration papers in keeping with law; everything I owe is not more than US$75,000, and the process to commence publishing same starts Monday, August 19, 2019.

Even though it is not required by law to publish ones assets, Senator Dillon said that ethics, good leadership, morality should guide us to go beyond what the law says to set good example.”

Senator Dillon reminded his colleagues in the jam-packed chambers that he campaigned on the message of transparency and accountability, adequate representation and keeping the interest of the people of Montserrado County, and Liberia at the forefront of all decisions and actions, “and so, I must try to live by those promises.”

“Our win shows that these are the widespread desires of citizens, particularly Montserrado County. The time has come to show our commitment by working for and on behalf of the Liberian people, and to deliver results; the time has come to introduce our people to a new Montserrado and a new Liberia; we want to inspire a new generation, and God we pray, we can be that humble vessel for somebody out there to believe again,” he declared.

Dillion ran in the just-ended Montserrado County senatorial by-election on the ticket of the opposition Liberty Party, which is one of four collaborating opposition political parties. In a landslide victory, he bested his closest rival, Coalition for Democratic Change candidate, Paulita C.C. Wie, by a margin of over 38,000 votes.

He declared in his post-induction statement: “You gave us the votes unprecedented in any by-election history of this country, especially Montserrado County; in any by-election history in Liberia. Today, we want to reaffirm our commitment to promises and pledges to working closely with our colleagues in the legislative, executive and Judiciary branches, the civil society, media and the private sector community to ensure that the needs of our people of Montserrado and Liberia will be represented by our actions and decisions.”

Dillon further pledged his commitment to fighting for and defending the constitutional rights of residents and citizens of Montserrado, and Liberia by upholding the laws of the nation, and the duties of the office of senator; “working diligently to reform and revitalize the Senate in line with our duties as enshrined in the Constitution by building an institution that is effective, accountable, participatory and representative of the people we serve.”

His wife of 30 years, Sedia Dillon, was unprecedentedly allowed to participate in the swearing-in ceremony of her husband by holding the Holy Bible, while he was sworn-in.

In his welcoming statement to the ‘new’ senator, Pro Tempore Albert T. Chie, told Dillon that in the Senate, the Bible is the Rules of the Senate, adding, “This is a political house, and here, we do politics; you were elected by the people of Montserrado County, but from today’s date, you belong to the Senate. That is why the framers of the Liberian Constitution stipulates that the power to remove you from here is not with the people, it is with those of us that are here. Only we alone have that power. Here, Mr. Senator, we act beyond party line; act and think independently of party ideologies, whims, caprices and orientations. We are independent here, no party dictates to us. Since I have been here, nobody dictates to us.”

Chie reminded Dillon that in the Senate, they do serious business; “Legislative politics is practical, and is different from text book politics; here we are masters of our own rules,” the Pro Tempore said, giving as an example how quickly Dillon’s induction was conducted minutes after he presented his credentials to the secretary and chair on Rules, Order and Administration.

24 COMMENTS

  1. The threatening remarks by the pro-temp in welcoming senator Dillon were just uncalled for. Should we interpret Sen. Chie’s warning here to mean Sen. Dillon is now accountable to the senate than the people who elected him? If Sen. Chie is so “non-partisan,” then how did he vote in the CDC-engineered illegal removal of Justice Kabineh Janneh from office? Did he stand with the constitution, or what his party demanded? Be not distracted Sen. Dillon by spineless rascals who will sell their souls for “thirty pieces of silver.” Your people will always have your back, so long as you remain true to yourself and to them, as well as the unwavering advocate they elected you to be on their behalf. So help you God.

  2. Dillon’s justifications for his pledge of “…accepting $5,000.00” monthly salary sounds good from afar but it’s really the same old same old-power to the politicians- totally unjustifiable. I would challenge Dillon, not commend him because when employees set their own salaries, the company goes bankrupt. The people who elected Senator Dillon ought to set his salary. “The servant is not greater than his master.” Said Jesus. $5,000.00 salary set by the employee who didn’t elect himself is still robbery because it puts the servant above his master. In all fairness, before Dillon came to power. the system of governance in Liberia was broken and corrupt by design. It was designed to enrich and empower politicians while trapping citizens forever in poverty. No wonder we are always poor and our politicians are always rich. The people must turn the corrupt system upside down by demanding that the Masters, not the servant must set the salaries. With Liberian lawmakers earning higher salaries than American lawmakers, we are doomed-Dillon or no Dillon. But if Dillon is a man of the people, let him demand that the will of the people that made him senator must also prevail in determining the salaries of all lawmakers as public servants. That’s my Dillon Challenge. In the American state of Arizona where the annual budget is US$9 billion dollars, lawmakers earn US$24,000.00 yearly because the people set their lawmakers’ salaries at $24,000.00. Poverty stricken Liberia can’t afford to pay public servants-lawmakers a salary higher than American lawmakers. Go for challenge-be a man of the people! Make the demand! “Power concedes nothing without a demand!” Fredrick Douglass.

    • Torli – Your argument is hypercritical because Dillon is the only Senator who has made such a promise, and we should be supporting his idea to get other Senators to make similar pledge. Instead, you challenge him. It makes no sense. You should direct your challenge to Pro Temp Chie who is trying to intimidate Senator Dillon because he doesn’t like Dillon’s ideas.

      • Dillon acted based on his knowledge of what is best. My challenge makes sense because Dillon is a public servant who took an oath to serve the people. A government of the people, by the people and for the people, public servants need to rise up to the challenge of leadership that yields the best results for the people, not the public servant. After 200 years of government designed to enrich and empower politicians, now is the time to give power to the people by demanding that the people, not the public servant must take charge, especially in setting the salaries and benefits and also directly making laws where the politicians are unable or unwilling. As for Pro Temp Chie, I have already directed my challenge not just to him but also to his Boss, the sponsors of the Government of Liberia, The United States Congress and the Government of the United States. The Senate Pro Temp of the United States Congress, Hon. Charles Grassley-R-IA, earns US$193,000.00 a year, with US$3.4 trillions of dollars annual budget of the United States of America. On the other hand, Pro Temp Chie who is sponsored by US Taxpayers money earns a salary higher than the President of the United States($400,000.00), the Speaker of the House of the United States Congress Nancy Pelosi ($223,500.00). In Liberia, there is a saying, “Beggar has no choice.” Compare the budget of Pro Temp Chie, US$1,369,423.00 million dollars and salary of US$482,203.00, according to Martin Kollie of African Exponent Magazine and you wonders why American taxpayers are not angry at the excessive salaries and benefits of their clients in Monrovia, Liberia. American taxpayers need to thank Martin Kollie for exposing the excessive salaries and demand that the United States Government which help to create the colony of Liberia and helped to design the corrupt system also get involved in cleaning up the mess America helped to create. According to the social Security Administration, 51% of American workers earn US$30,000.00 yearly. Why are American taxpayers sponsoring corruption in Liberia?

    • Mr. Krua, you should be ashamed of yourself. When last did you post any article about the high salaries that is made by these Senators in Liberia? I believe that you should be thanking Mr. Dillon for the the step he took, the man even declared his assets, whereas I do not think any of those he met there has done, and not every state ‘s lawmakers salaries in America is set by the people. In the house of representative in this country, the salaries is set by the representatives, and not the people. You give one example-” American state of Arizona” why not the state you live in, who set their salaries?

      • We have ballot initiatives in Massachusetts and citizens do make laws directly in addition to what lawmakers do, just like Arizona.
        Search Liberianobserver.com and you will read my articles about Liberia’s broken and corrupt system of governance designed to enrich and empower Liberian politicians while trapping citizens in poverty.

        • Mr Krau, you are right but you are far ahead of level of thinking in the country now.
          In fact, can any of them justify their salary base on the amount of work done daily?
          $5000.00 could be too high or too low. In fact at one point Dillon suggested $10,000.00? They should all justify their rights to any salary.
          Your state may be paying Reps base on what they do?
          Laws are in most cases already written; so what do Liberian Reps do daily?
          Yes Dillon suggestion is find but Liberian should be looking for people with far better qualifications.
          Our ways Of thinking has left us backward since 1822. Well educated people are not taking their positions in the politics of the country; leaving it up to school dropouts.
          School dropouts will never take the country anywhere no matter their good intentions.
          God bless.

  3. Torli Krua, Dillon said he will only accept the full amount of 5,000 as his take home salary adding if anything is over it an escrow account will be opened to save it and said fund will go toward social developmental program in Montserrado County. What you should be eager to see is the fulfillemt of this pledge. Abe Darius Dillon was never part of the decision that set the current pay margin at the Senate.

    • I know but because Liberia does not need to wait for another 200 years, Dillon needs to make a demand because it’s the people’s money and Dillon by his own pledge knows excessive salaries do not help the people. So instead of a one man solution, he needs to demand a systemwide solution not just for salaries but a brand new system of governance with new rules. It’s a government of the people, by the people and for the people. But the current system was designed for the politicians and it has not worked for 200 years.

  4. I am not politically aligned. But I respect people of all backgrounds who use their marbles right.
    To say that he prefers a self-imposed pay cut means that Dillon will “probably” go on to be a good senator. I will be careful according to how I heap praise. I have my reasons.

    • Hney – I think Dillon is on to something good. With such bad economy and terrible corruption, the party in power will loose seats in the Senate in 2020. That’s for sure.

    • So Dillion pledge sounds nice … But he should be lobbying publicly and privately for system of reduce salaries. Also he is putting this money in escrow … How can you tell where the money is going. The fact that one of the poorest country in the world have leaders making over 30k a year is sad. So now making 60k after tax in one of the poorest country in the world is cheer … We are a sick people.

  5. I honestly respect Senator Dillon’s $5,000.00 salary as the acceptable limit for Senators et All. It still needs to be justified.
    Senator Chie and others should always note that people, international communities are hearing. Everyone should respect the constitution.
    God bless Liberia.

  6. Perhaps, Darius Dillon, an astute newcomer to the august body, is already campaigning for the 2023 Senate race. But, regardless, his gestures should be commended rather than condemned.

    This is why unless Senate Pro Temp Albert Chie’s remarks were taken out of context, they highlight the mentality that kicked then Senator Chea Cheapoo from the Senate, and might have helped in perpetuating perception that the TWP-controlled body was an out-of-touch anachronistic club. Power is addictive, so those using it should stick to the doses prescribed by our constitution and laws: “We want peace in Liberia” by Alpha Blondie.

  7. Pro Temp Chie was wrong for threatening Senator Dillon. Intimidation and threats against a colleague is bad leadership and should be eschewed for ideas on how to solve the problems in the country. What Senator Chie fails to realize is that the Liberian people are looking for solutions to their problems and making threats or marginalizing an incoming Senator will not sit well with the citizens of Monsterrado County? Imagine the chaos that will ensue if Senator Chie were to try to expel Senator Dillon from the Senate. It’s just an intimidation tactic because he knows he won’t have the support to do it even if he wanted to. Furthermore, it is expected that many CDC senators will lose their seats in the 2020 election so Chie himself might not be Pro Temp when the opposition takes over. Chie is abusing his power – typical of our culture.

    Senator Dillon needs to focus on his work and fulfill his promises if he wants to be re-elected in 2020. CDC will lose more seats in the house and senate come 2020 because Liberians are very angry with the bad economy and corruption.

  8. Shame on Albert Chie for threatening his fellow senator with removal. He talks about being independent minded as a body of lawmakers…where was that independence when Kabineh Janeh was removed as an Associate Justice following the acceptance of massive bribes from the president?

    Is Albert Chie upset about the presence of Dillion in the senate. The senate he is boasting about is one of the most inept and utterly incompetent body of lawmakers on the African continent. Doesn’t he know that they are all venal politicians who now reside in the pockets of the president? They receive outrageous salaries while the rest of the population reside in abject poverty? Shame on Albert Chie! He is an irredeemable fool.

  9. Chie is a useless parasite sucking dry the country. We should recall him or vote his pockmarked face out. Every senator should get $3,000 a month, end of story.

  10. A wise person once said, “Those who seek power for their personal aggrandizement (expansion of wealth, power, rank, or honor) will eventually run afoul of popular opinion.”

    The essence of becoming Lawmakers (servants) for the Liberian people, by these self-centered government officials, has become grossly misconstrued after they get into office. Senator Chie and others (power-hungry lawmakers) forget they are not masters of the people but rather servants of Liberian people.

    There exists a hostile political climate in Liberia where unscrupulous individuals seek government jobs by any means necessary to amass wealth: they can be found in the do-nothing “Liberia House of Congress”. These fight-for-jobs by any means necessary stem from the hash economic conditions coupled with the difficult barriers of doing business in Liberia. Likewise, the weak economic and security policies to attract foreign and domestic investments into the country are all contributing factors.

    People like Senator Chie will go the extent of using intimidating tactics to scare off people like incoming freshman Senator Dillon, who tries to infringe on his underground territory, of how they use government entities for their personal aggrandizement to accumulate wealth and power.

    It is disgraceful! It is undiplomatic, mean-spirited for a man of Senator Chie stature, who calls himself the head of the senate, to reprimand, to intimidate, or to be hostile to an incoming Freshman Senator during his swearing-in ceremony by reprimanding Senator Dillon that his Exit or departure from the Senate rest in the hands of Senator Chie and his colleagues. This sad event all occurred on Senator Dillon’s first day in office.

    Such hostility of these so-called Senior Senators, who believe that they are grandfathered into their jobs and who think that they have all rights to protect their job security, is only one reason why Liberia has become a dysfunctioning society.

    To remedy some of these structural problems, Liberians need to elect more radical opposition candidates (pragmatists) into the Legislative Branch to steer up the debilitating “Big Shots” complacency that exists in Liberia.

    Elect people who will fight towards bringing radical ideas (practical ideas) to transform the lives of the Liberian people: like comprehensive over-haul of the “Rigged” 1986 Revised Constitution; reduction in salaries and perks of Lawmakers; minimize the number of political parties to save money; shorten presidential and lawmakers years of service; elect superintendents and decentralize more government entities; grant dual citizenship to Liberians in the Diaspora; grant citizenship to non-negro who were born in Liberia; grant tax incentives to domestic and foreign investments; build more rural polytechnic institutes like BTW for job training purposes; open up more rural job programs to alleviate Monrovia over-crowded population and many more radical development projects.

    Senator Dillon is taking the right step by reducing his salary by 50% and also immediately declaring his assets and making it public. His practical example to serve the people is the primary reason other Lawmakers who want to protect their ill-gotten wealth they accumulated on the backs of the poor Liberian tax payers feel intimated.

    It is people like Senator Chie who is now using all intimidating tactics to show Senator Dillon the exit door as soon as possible.

    Remember, these crooks (Lawmakers) that don’t like Senator Dillon’s radical policies to work on behalf of the Liberian people who elected him will eventually run afoul of popular opinion.

  11. Senator Chie, since you belong to the Liberian Senate, please do not go back to the people of Grand Kru for reelection. Continue with your practical politics in the Senate and don’t you ever think of “Hand Book Politics” to the good people of Grand Kru . Again, form your own party because CDC will no longer accept you . Note that you will not be able to induct Dillon into corruption, deceptive politics and indecent leadership like you are.

  12. That’s a good start, Sen. Dillon. I hope and pray that you live up with your promises made to the people of Liberia. For what you did today shows the respect of the law, by declaring your assest as it is mentioned by the code of conduct. Also, I urge you not to be troubled by the statements made by Sen. Chie. It’s clearly a tactical idea to distract you from doing the right things. What he wants from you is to dance to his beats. Congratulations once more, Sen. Dillon.

  13. How unwise can these government officials comport themselves to the world and expect INTERNATIONAL support for our country,Even in AMERICA $15,000.00 BEING paid to one person when the populace cannot afford $100, dollars a year is unfathomable. Wake Liberia.

  14. Good !! Bipartisan actions will represent ALL of the people of your district and beyond. For all Liberians, it is important to be bipartisan in thoughts, words and actions. Don’t be pushed around or punished for being fair and equal to all citizens. A good parent loves their children equally, respecting all of their differences. A good Senator does the same. Shutter your eyes and ears to the nay-sayers and surround yourself with the other bipartisan and productive. I wish you well Senator Dillon.

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