The University of Liberia (UL) President, Rev. Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson at a news conference held on June 16, 2022, in the conference room of the UL Capitol Hill campus, said it has been brought to the attention of the Administration of the University of Liberia by the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) that several full-time faculty members of the University are also employed with other government ministries and agencies.
He said, according to the Gol/MFDP, double-dipping in government undermines the government’s ongoing wage reform efforts and it also contravenes Section 9.10 of the Code of Conduct. As a result, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning has indicated that it will ultimately transfer all full-employment staff of other central government entities to part-time at the public educational institutions.
“The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning affected all employees at the UL including faculty and staff, and not faculty alone, that upon a forensic analysis of the UL payroll, a total number of seventy-four (74) employees (62 faculty and 12 administrative staff) for which the UL Administration has been advocating, were found to be in that category”, he said.
It can be recalled that on June 15, 2022, the University of Liberia Faculty Association (ULFA) unanimously passed a VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE in the President of the University of Liberia, Dr. Julius S. Nelson for taking direct instruction from the Ministry of Finance and Development-Planning.
The body took the decision Wednesday in its General Assembly held on the UL Capitol Hill Campus, Monrovia.
The ULFA members also vowed to disengage from all academic activities, including the administering of entrances at the state-run university until all their concerns are addressed as indicated in the Memorandum of Understanding signed.
The decision follows days after the Ministry of Finance and Development-Planning communicated to the UL Administration through its President, Dr. Julius Nelson that some members of the University of Liberia Faculty Association are allegedly involved in “double-dipping”.
But speaking further Dr. Nelson stated that, the UL Administration arranged a meeting between MFDP and the leadership of the University of Liberia Faculty Association (ULFA) at which time clarifications were made by the MFDP regarding the double-dipping of employees.
In anticipating the smooth opening of the school on scheduled June 27 after the last postponement and consideration does not want any situation which may hamper teaching and learning and disrupt the students, the Administration of the UL has written a letter of appeal to the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to consider and give the matter more reflection.
Unfortunately, Dr. Nelson said “The UL Faculty Association in its General Assembly meeting held on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, reportedly passed a vote of no confidence in his leadership and administration, on grounds that he took and implemented a direct mandate from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, to take action on some UL members reportedly involved into “double-dipping”, adding that ” We have not received an official resolution from the just-ended assembly but only information from the press and public.”
Rev. Nelson pointed out that those employees whose salaries were transitioned to part-time status for the month of May 2022 have since been paid in full based on the successful negotiation with the MFDP. More importantly, he said, their salaries will continue while negotiations are ongoing.
The UL President emphasized that his administration is committed to administering the affairs of the institution in a fair and important manner, and will not knowingly ill-treat any of its employees, whether in the academic or administrative departments.
“We, therefore, call on our faculty including both full-time and part-time, our student body, administrative and support staff, to be in readiness and get prepared for the resumption come the 27 of June 2022, as well as our upcoming entrance and placement exams slated for June 25, 2022.
“We will continue to remain engaged in dialogue with the government, our faculty, staff, and students, to ensure a smooth running of the University of Liberia. We are aware that there will be challenges, but we will all have to work together to resolve our issues and make progress. We remain committed to ensuring that all Liberians have access to quality and higher education”, he noted.
At the same time, Dr. Nelson has reaffirmed the University of Liberia’s commitment to open classes on June 27, 2022, amidst the University of Liberia Faculty Association’s vote of no confidence in him, vowing to assign more courses to part-time teachers if any faculty member boycott classes.
By: Stephen G. Fellajuah