More than 400 workers have exited City Hall through natural attrition in only five months as the county government struggles with a bloated workforce costing it a monthly wage of Sh1.1 billion.
The county government had 12, 496 staff as at July, 2018 but this has since reduced to 12, 034 as per the latest count at the end of January this year representing a reduction of 462.
On July 2018, the number of employees at City Hall was 12, 496. This then reduced to 12, 467 in August then to 12, 430 a month later before dipping further to 12, 412 in October then to 12, 378 in November. This fell further to 12, 351 in December then to the current number of 12, 034 in January.
Acting County Secretary and head of Public Service Management Pauline Kahiga, appearing before a County Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday, said that the county is overstaffed with a heavy-bottom workforce consisting mainly of semi or non-skilled staff at the expense of skilled staff.
“I can confirm that as at January 31, 2019, the county government has 12,034 employees who are on a wage bill of Sh1.1 billion,” said Ms Kahiga.
It was also revealed by County Public Service Board Chief Executive Officer Meshack Guto that the county government is also facing a predicament of ageing staff whose performance is wanting.
The Committee also heard that there were more labourers, cleaners and inspectorate officers at the county government with Mr Guto stating that as at August 8, 2018, the Board had employed 1,200 since it came into being five years ago.
“The county has an ageing staff some of them are sick although it may not sound good to say so but that is the position,” said Mr Guto.
Interestingly, the county was still in the process of recruiting more county inspectorate officers despite previous reports by PriceWaterhouse Coopers and Ernest & Young warnings over a bloated workforce.
The county executive was also put to task by the Committee to explain why technical departments were understaffed while non-technical sectors were bloated.
However, Ms Kahiga told the committee that the county had resolved to allow reduction of the overstaffed workforce through natural attrition.
Pressed by the committee to explain why the executive was misleading the Board to advertise for employment vacancies in the lower cadre instead of hiring more technical and other professional staff even with a heavy-bottom workforce, the acting county Attorney defended the executive saying the county structure must answer to the needs of the executive.
“We agree that the county is bottom-heavy but it is meant to suit the structure and needs of the current government,” she said.
Makongeni Ward MCA Peter Imwatok demanded that the head of County payroll Daniel Kibet to table authentic evidence about the number of county employees and the total wage bill and whether the payroll system is operated manually or on software.
Nonetheless, Mr Kibet could not confirm whether the payroll was on software only saying that the county had an automated backup system.
“We are using an automated system but it is backed up. It is an open and close system,” said Mr Kibet.
The watchdog committee chaired by Mabatini Ward MCA Wilfred Odalo is interrogating the Nairobi City County report of the Auditor General for the Year 2016/2017.