The Liberian Senate will today hold debate on an Act Regulating the Status of Tenured and Non-Tenured Personnel of the Liberian Government upon the Inauguration of a New President of Liberia.
The Act submitted to Senate plenary by Grand Cape Mount County Senator H. Varney Gboto-Nabie Sherman, basically addresses the status of tenured and non-tenured presidential appointees in the event of transition from one democratically elected President of Liberia and another democratically elected President of Liberia.
A similar Act was sent to the Senate by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf sometime last year under the title; Pesidential Transition Act, but due to public outcry and suspicion that it was purposely intended to provide immunity to President Sirleaf, she withdrew same from the Legislature.
The Senate however, produced its own “Presidential Transition Act,” referred to as the “Senate’s Presidential Transition Act,” which was voted upon by the Liberian Senate and sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence, but the Lower House failed to vote on it.
Because of the need for a transition law which Liberia currently lacks but is common in “countries with a governance system similar to Liberia, President Sirleaf issued an Executive Order, which incorporated parts of both the original Presidential Transition Act and the Senate’s Presidential Transition Act,” Senator Sherman noted in his communication dated January 8, 2018.
However, Senator Sherman, who chairs the powerful Senate Committee on Judiciary, Claims, Petitions and Human Rights, submitted that the Executive Order has “some deficiencies and contains certain provisions which are inimical to good governance with specific reference to the status of tenured and non-tenured presidential appointees upon the inauguration of the newly elected President. ”
The purpose of this law regarding the end of the services of a tenured personnel, according to Cllr. Sherman, “is to ensure that the appointing power would not be able to, at his/her will and pleasure, use a vested power to terminate such personnel in order to influence his/her acts and conduct during his/her tenure.”
In the case of a non-tenured personnel, his/her services can be considered terminated on Inauguration day, provided however he/she shall continue to serve in his/her position in a temporary capacity until a successor is nominated by the new President of Liberia.
Upon such nomination the Act continues; “even though prior to the Senate’s consent/confirmation, the non-tenured personnel shall cease to perform the functions or exercise the powers of the office and the new presidential nominee shall serve as interim official of the Government pending consent of the Liberian Senate or other confirmation process as provided by the governing law for such ministry, agency, commission, establishment, for profit, non-profit entity of the Liberian Government.”
There are indications that the 53rd Legislature now sitting in extra nine days session will pass the Act based upon the urgency attached to it by the author.