Faced with criticism over the appointment of an Operations Coordinator without the knowledge of the rest of the Elections Commission, the Commission’s Chairman is clarifying her position.
In a statement today, GECOM indicated that the Commission’s IT Officer was seconded to the new position on request of the Chief Elections Officer.
According to GECOM, the position is a temporary one.
“The Chairman gave her approval for the secondment of Mr. Giddings with the full knowledge that she (i) was not creating any new position, (ii) was not making an appointment, and (iii) was aware that there is precedence of staff having been seconded, and in one case even appointed, without the knowledge and approval of the Commission,” GECOM said in a statement.
GECOM explained that in the CEO’s request, it was indicated that a senior officer was needed to assist with the day-to-day implementation and evaluation of the statutory and administrative tasks outlined in the work plan for the conduct of Local Government Elections (LGEs). GECOM remains without a Deputy Chief Elections Officer.
“The CEO further pointed out that considering (i) the multiplicity of sequential and simultaneous tasks required to be implemented at Operations level for the LGEs, and (ii) the position of Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO) being vacant, it is of vital importance for a Senior Manager who is au fait with operations management relative to the conduct of elections to be assigned the responsibility of assisting him (CEO) with ensuring that all of the required tasks are efficiently and effectively implemented in accordance with the timelines set out in the workplan for the LGEs,” GECOM further explained.
The Commission said it was against that background that the Chairman granted her approval for Mr Giddings to act as the ‘Operations Coordinator’ within the Operations Department of the Commission’s Secretariat.
His duties are similar to that of the duties of DCEO.
“…the Chairman’s approval of the requested secondment was based on the understanding that this would be a temporary arrangement until a suitable candidate is appointed to the position of DCEO,” it further clarified.
It is unclear when the Commission will appoint a DCEO.
In the statement, it was explained that while the issue has been on the Commission’s agenda for some time now, it has been deferred to pave way for other pressing matters associated with preparations for the conduct of Local Government Elections.
“Needless to say, the filling of vacancies is again in focus. Accordingly, Mr. Giddings secondment will come to an end upon the appointment of a DCEO,” it said.
Election Commissioner, Vincent Alexander has condemned the move by the Chairman to ‘appoint’ Mr Giddings to the temporary post, claiming she has no such authority.