‘Too Much Noise At EPA’ …NSCL Wants President Boakai To Reaffirm Tenure Status

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Amid continuing acts of lawlessness by some employees at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL)   has called on President Joseph Nyuma Boakai to quickly reaffirm the tenure status of the EPA in constituting the Board of Directors, who will provide direction and advise him on the way forward.  Since the takeover of the Unity Party (UP) led government of President Boakai, there have been continuing noises on the compound of the EPA as several workers of the entity claiming to be members of the Unity Party (UP) and the MDR have been agitating for the resignation of Executive Director Prof. Wilson Tarpeh. The workers contend that Prof. Tarpeh should comply with Executive Order #123 which in part calls for the resignation of Presidential appointees serving in non-tenured positions. Prof. Tarpeh has consistently resisted on grounds the EPA Executive Director/CEO is a seven-year renewable tenure position, and not otherwise as claimed by the aggrieved workers.  Part III Section 16 (2) of the EPA ACT OF 2003 says “The Executive Director shall serve for a period of 7 years and shall be eligible for reappointment, except that there shall be appointed an interim Executive Director; 3) The Executive Director shall have security of tenure but shall cease to hold office if he: a) Resigns; b) Is found guilty of gross misconduct on the advice of the Board and the approval of the Policy Council; c) Is unable to discharge the functions of his office for health reasons. It can be recalled that on January 23, 2024, a day following the inauguration of President Boakai, a group of employees stormed the Agency in the and announced the removal of Prof. Tarpeh because his term of service was over, citing the Executive Order #123. To quiet the commotion, the EPA called in the Police, and later filed a complaint “felonious restraint,” stating that the attacking staffers prevented the EPA Executive Director and others from accessing the compound of the institution. The writ said the defendants’ (workers) intent has exposed the institution to public ridicule and to a condition of involuntary servitude. The case has since been withdrawn by the Agency.  These claims and counterclaims continued on Monday, February 5, 2024, thus prompting the CSO Council to call on President Boakai to act fast in reaffirming or clarifying the tenure status of the entity and reconstitute the Board of Directors and the Policy Council in line with the Act that created the entity in 2003.  The Council in a brief interview with reporters following the latest disturbance on Monday, the Chairperson of the NCSCL Madam Loretta Alethea Pope-Kai, indicated that, the reconstitution of the Board of Directors as well as the Policy Council will restore stability to this very important state owned enterprise.  “We are calling on the President to quickly reaffirm the condition of service as stipulated in Section 16 (2) of the EPA Act of 2003. We are also calling on the President to move with the reconstitution of the Board of Directors as well as the Policy Council. We are making this appeal to our President because the current level of tension has the propensity to harm the Agency, expose the country to diminished international view, especially given that our country is hosting the first Environmental Constituency Workshop (ECW) and the National Dialogue of the Global Environment Fund (GEF) next week. It is our fervent hope that the President will give this matter his urgent attention.

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