Farmington Hotel General Manager Resigns

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Ronald Stilting (right) served as the first general manager of the Farmington Hotel. Ahead of the Ecowas Summit earlier this year, Stilting led President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on a guided tour of the Hotel.

Following reports of bad labor practices that resulted in the retrenchment of over 40 employees at Farmington Hotel, the general manager will quit his post today.

In his letter of resignation dated July 5, with copies addressed to all the employees, Roland Stilting said, “I have decided to leave the Farmington Hotel as general manager as of July 7, and move on to a new challenge after some vacation with my family.”

Ronald Stilting

“You cannot imagine how hard this decision was for me after having built the Farmington and its great team,” Stilting’s letter stated.

It can be recalled that the recent euphoria that greeted about 180 new employees of the Farmington Hotel near Robertsfield, Lower Margibi County, was short-lived when the management announced the termination of 40 of them.

The affected employees, who now appeal for government’s intervention, said they were laid off two weeks to the end of their respective probation period.

The downsizing reportedly took place on June 22, two months and three weeks after the hotel hired and gave hope to the employees, many of whom claimed they left their previous jobs in Monrovia and other parts of the country. Some of them, who resettled in Smell-No-Taste (Unification Town) in Margibi County, said their future is in limbo.

Stilting is expected to leave the country today.

Prior to the decision to retrench the employees, Stilting told the Daily Observer via mobile phone that his management team implemented the termination exercise, “according to the book—the Decent Work Act.” Under Section 14.2 of the Decent Work Act, an employer has the right to terminate employment concluded for a definite period at any time, provided that he has cause to do so under section 14.3, which says an employer has the right to terminate employment concluded for an indefinite period at any time provided that the employer follows the procedures specified in certain sections as appropriate. In this context, it is not clear which of the rules the management had applied before taking the decision to terminate the employees.

“Yes, we have terminated a good number of our staff, some for poor performance, but we go by what is on the books (labor standards),” Stilting had said. He said prior to the exercise, management evaluated the performance of each of the terminated employees who, “did not meet our requirements.” He said the retrenched were happy, “because they were certificated and given an overtime pay having participated in our one-month program.”

The Daily Observer also gathered that Farmington Hotel’s Liberia-based Lebanese partners, representing the Abi Jaoudi Group, had masterminded the retrenchment exercise at the hotel, but the group is yet to comment on the allegation since its management has not responded to the number of phone calls and text messages.

Farmington’s decision to retrench 40 of its workforce came barely a month after the government granted the management a 30-year tax holiday, a very contentious decision in the Legislature.

On May 30 of this year, 34 of the 73 Representatives on Capitol Hill voted to ratify a 30-year Investment Incentive Agreement between Liberia and the Roberts International Airport (RIA) Hotel Resorts, Incorporated.  In that session, there were 38 Representatives present, and 34 of them voted overwhelmingly for the passage of the ‘Tax Holiday’ agreement, following a report from the Joint Committee on Investment and Concession and Judiciary.

The report argued that the hotel or tourism business is a struggling industry in Liberia, and should therefore enjoy a tax holiday.

Authors

20 COMMENTS

  1. When you have a workforce that is not competent, this is the result. Liberia has one of the worse workforce. Most of these people do not have the skills needed to get employment but yet ,they are seeking JOB and expecting salary. For some of us that are currently engaged in Liberia, we see this everyday. I hired two individuals that claimed to be graduates from the university of Liberia with BSC degrees in business management and accountant. both of them became a complete disappointment. The accountant who claimed to be a pastor of a church in Clara Town, stole every cent that was intended for the business and left with a laptop. The folks that are coming to Liberia to do business are looking for productivity which is very sudden to be seen in the workforce in Liberia. This is very unfortunate.

    • say it loud bro as we know the real story.they are very incompetent,criminal in nature,lazy and unprofessional. We are a bunch of poor and lazy people who make demands for everything.

  2. This is not the case with Farmington Hotel my brother. Unfortunately the story here has a contradiction which I believe will be set straight. What I know from all indication at this hotel is that the Lebanese business partners Abdijaoudi Group constantly demand the Management to reduce the 180 staff hired and trained for two months simply because the hidding motive behind hiring this number was to be able to cope with the huge ECOWAS Summits expected occupancy which took place between April 25 to May 6 2017. After the summit, these Lebanese partners noted for wicked and inhumane labor practice started pressing on Mr Stilting who was never in favor of this downsizing action. George Abdijaoudi physically attacked Mr Ronald Stilting for keeping a large number of staff and the general manager who was brought in from the oversea partner; The Campbell Gray Hotels in the UK did not agree to cruelly dismiss under such condition. The first badge of 40 were dismissed on ,22 June,2017 followed by the second badge which prompted the resignation ofr STILTING cause he was never given the chance to do his work, even though Mr Stilting is yet to respond but this is the glaring story. From the beginning the were hired and made to to signed a one year contract without a copy of the contract issued to any of the employees. Staff at the hotel work under fear and the issue of staff were dismissed because the GM demanded sex is not true. Males as well as females were affected. The Liberian labor law does not favor its citizens and needs to be revisited, why will a government grant 30 years tax waver to a hotel like Farmington in May of 2017 and after the staff struggle under the rain to make an historic ECOWAS Summit a success then turn around and I’ll treat them when in fact Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf compensated the staff with a token of 1,500 USD. for a job well done.

  3. I anxiously look forward to the day when we will stop politicizing everything in this country and analyse situations based on facts. Firstly, the reason why investors adventure into business is to make profit and not to be philanthropist. No one expects an organization to keep a huge work force when they are not making profit and allow their overhead cost to skyrocket. If it was true they got fired before the end of their probation period, the hotel is in no violation of the law. Under our labor law, probation period should not be more than three months. Wherein the organization felt some employees did not meet the expected performance outlined for them, they have the absolute right to lay them off. Let us stop exposing our ignorance. THANK YOU.
    Pokai T. Bowen
    BSc (Economics) Candidate MBA (Finance)

  4. Mr,Bowen Thanks for making the case, I even bet you most of the people that are speaking out against the farming Hotel do not even know what a tax break is about.

    • My Name is Jonah soe Kotee, from the Association of Liberian Human Resources professionals –alhrp-lib.org; as HR we make an evidence-based decision that demonstrates our credibility and trust whilst forming a strategic partnership with the business. The case of F. Hotel is not a political one – not because of 30 years’ tax break or alleged link with the executive; the laws are clear if this is what happened.

      Employer is to give notice of termination of employment
      1. An employer shall give an employee who has completed any period of probation a reasonable period of notice of termination of the employee’s employment.
      2. If these people were terminated during their probation period for poor performance and documented, I see no violation. Without limiting the scope of the preceding provision, for these purposes the periods of notice set out in the following table are taken to be reasonable:
      Period of employee’s continuous service Minimum number of weeks’ notice
      Less than three months One week
      More than three months but less than six Two weeks
      More than six months but less than one year Three weeks
      More than one year Four weeks

      Notwithstanding the preceding provisions an employer may choose, instead of giving an employee notice of termination, to pay the employee a sum of money equal to that which they would have earned during the minimum period of notice to which they would otherwise have been entitled under this section.

      • Thank you Jonah for bringing further clarity to the discourse. The problem very often is people try to politicize everything without the facts.

  5. It is sad to see our BOOK-MEN in support of this inhumane act towards our own brothers and sisters in the name of organizational policy. This is however not astonishing when our government and a few of our citizens have been bought by the so called investors. Farmington generated almost half of its investment during the ECOWAS summit that was fully and wholly supported by our same brothers and sisters whose relentless efforts have brought nothing to them but to be dismissed. We need to stand and fight the fight and make sure that our people are treated like humans in this country. The retrenchment was not proper. Management must also understand that they have a role to play in staff performance. If the excuse that is been given by Management is under-performance, my question is , what role did they (Management) play in making sure that their expectations are met. Every contemporary institution today invests in her staff, making sure that the best comes out of her staff. If the downsizing had to do with under-performance as was ascribed by Management, why didn’t they re-advertise their positions to get the right people of their choice?????? or I’m I been made to understand that there is no competent in Liberia that could meet their recruitment choice or choices???????????.. This clearly indicates that their recent downsizing of staff is unjustifiable.

    Again this goes to our government, almost everything that is been drafted today is not done in favor of the citizens. Our labor law today is so crazy that everyday we are frightened on our jobs. This labor law needs to be revised. We can’t continue to be slaves in our own country. There is no where in this world that indigenous are slaves in their own country. I REST MY CASE. I PRAY THAT GOD SEES US THROUGH.

    • However we look at it, the hotel is a service business. There are peak times, as the recent A.U SUMMIT; when the work force increases. By the same token, when business slows, the hotel management has no choice but to reduce its service staff. The hotel is only applying the Economic Theory of “DEMINISHING RETURNS”. The work force must reflect on the profit margin; or else, It’s no business at all in a truth sense. Let’s assume the hotel had as much business as when it did during the A.U. Summit; then the HOTEL would need the workers. That’s not the case at moment. In every business, the Economic Theory of DEMINISHING RETURNS must be applied.

    • I am not one of those ‘patriotic’ Liberians that will choose to be blind folded to the truth. When we want to be seen as the people’s advocate, which isn’t bad either, we should come with all the facts and not lean on HEARSAY and or SENTIMENTS. Two months ago, General Motors Corporation South Africa Branch announced their plans to close down by end of this year, please see link http://city-press.news24.com/Business/job-losses-imminent-with-general-motors-exit-from-sa-20170523
      Secondly, just to disabuse your mind, our Labor Laws are on par with international standards. This is a fact I know, after working for more than twenty eight months as a Human Resource Professional.

    • I’m in agreement with you! That’s the problem facing Liberia, our “Book-Men” claim to know to much book. Even though many with all their accolades, have never work in their respective profession. As a consequence, we are where we are, all talk with know substance.

  6. this bullshit are half a lies am not going into much details but to get the record straight Ronald Stilting never resign they used him they made fire those stuffs OK u people need to get y’all bluck headed facts straight and after they got raid of him yes he was fired cold bloded way OK this country is full of deceitfulness and wickedness because of bad leaders talking about he’s going on vac with his family LA lie OK cheap skunk lies they should print this crap that man was used to boost the image of that hotel than after the summit they started to show their raicist colors and because they feel that they can handle a ***** hotel OK libeia has been sold to foreigners 😤😬😬😬😬 and when the loyal onces try to put things in place they eliminate them huh sick leadership SHAME ON YALL yurp i said it all freaky pissed

  7. Gentlemen hi.
    I do understand all our fraustrations and concerns but I think the Management of Farmington needed to do one key thing before this incident as a good management team will do in order to avoid such incidents. Now, if i was Farmington Manager I would do the follwing:
    1. Owning to the fact that this hotel had to be used for the AU Summit for which they were knowledgable of, I would suggest hiring on a short term contract besides those staffs that I can mantained. Have them signed this contract that will claerly state the terms certain. But on the other hand, an employment on probation dose not require a pre notice be exit but in order to be on a save end in the event of recommendation from your previous employer it will be quite prudent to do so but again any party can terminate his or her service without informing the next through a writing communication which niether side is expected to complain as illegal practice simply because you are not a fulll employee and therefore it is your right. Again, I may not know the terms of thier probation but I believe that the was a brake in transmission or level of comprehension on between either parties.

    Gentlemen, what I have stated above is my view and this I consider as common logic.

  8. It’s a shame to publish things that your newspaper don’t have prove on…
    Its true our General Manager Mr. Ronald Stilting (The Farmington Hotel) resign but his resignation was based on his personal reasons… No employee or former employee of The Farmington Hotel will ever say he demanded sex from them that’s why he terminated their contract…. He never wanted anyone to leave because he have trained them with all his heart… To see them leave was hard for him but he had to… No one will ever tell you such thing about our General Manager or any other Manager…. Our General Manager is a kindhearted and a wonderful man… He encourage and motivated us in his weak ways… He never made us feel that we can’t make it…
    He stood by us during Ecowas summit just to make Liberia proud… We offer our services to other countries till the end…. To spoil such a man reputation is very bad… For the working relationship our managers have shown us… No employee will ever make such remark…. DAILY OBSERVER STOP SPOILING POTENTIAL PEOPLE REPUTATION!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Thank you Lucinda!
      You have said it all and it was great working with the wonderful Farmington team that showed such great motivation and proved that Liberians can deliver great service. Love you all and will never forget you ALL!

      • We will stand by you.
        No matter your distance
        You will never be forgotten in the history of Farmington.
        We love and miss you a lot!!

  9. They put white man name in newspaper for sacking people, he resigned. They put Liberia man name in paper for raping 13 year old, he gets popular and he increases his security and refused to resign or offer any apology. God made 3 types; white man, black man, Liberia man.

  10. Before constructing tourism thing like hotel, first thing first is your marketing survey.
    The marketing survey is to ascertain how many people are working in the country
    that are able to either to take a rest on days off work at the hotel; passing by
    stopover. Look at the Liberia under President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s administration.
    Employment is negligible. Yas, indeed, the President is working, her family members
    are working cronies are working. So, what she care.

  11. Before constructing tourism thing like hotel, first thing first is your marketing survey.
    The marketing survey is to ascertain how many people are working in the country
    that are able to either take a rest on days off work at the hotel; or passing by
    stopover. Look at Liberia under President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s administration.
    Employment is negligible! Yas, indeed, the President is working, her family members
    are working and her cronies are working. So, what she care.

  12. My interest is the ownership or business partners who owned this hotel. Can someone with knowledge tell us who actually owned this hotel? There are rumors that Mrs. Sirleaf, her family, and the Abi Joudi family are co-owners of this hotel and this is while she sought 30 years tax break, any knowledge in this direction, Mr. Stilting or anyone with knowledge? If you wish to share this information only with me, please contact me at [email protected] or 763 528 3309. I promised to maintain your privacy in this regard.

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