Officers of the Liberian National Police (LNP) will in the next couple of days breathe a sigh of relief as Ecobank has finally agreed to pay the officers three months’ salary arrears following weeks of negotiation with the police hierarchy in Monrovia.Police Director Chris Massaquoi made the disclosure of the ‘good news’ at a press conference held at the LNP headquarters on Capitol Hill in Monrovia yesterday.The weeks of negotiations with Ecobank led to the delay in the disbursement of the 50% Liberian dollar component to officers, according to the LNP.“The Administration met with the management of Ecobank and based on the sensitivity of this matter, Ecobank finally agreed to open a Liberian account for the LNP in three days. And as we speak, the LNP payroll has been signed today, July 20, and forwarded to Ecobank,” Director Massaquoi said.He said all officers will begin receiving the Liberian dollar component from Ecobank, thus alleviating the hardship experienced over the last two months and bringing the matter to a close.“In the second month of the fourth quarter (May) of the fiscal year of 2015/2016, the LNP submitted a 100% USD payroll to the Ministry of Finance to begin the payment of officers’ May 2016 salaries, but without prior notice, the Ministry rejected the LNP payroll and advised the LNP that the payroll submitted earlier be re-submitted with 50% in United States dollars and 50% in Liberian dollars,” Director Massaquoi explained.He said after two weeks of negotiations, the Ministry again advised that the payroll must be re-submitted with 50% in USD and 50% in Liberian dollars in categories, on grounds that the Government of Liberia was not in the position to pay 100% in US dollars into the accounts of officers as was done in the past.Again he said, the LNP prepared and re-submitted two separate payrolls, which took over three days to complete. Vouchers were being processed at the Finance Ministry, and the LNP continued its negotiations with the management of Ecobank on the way forward for the possible opening of LRD accounts for all officers, since indeed the bank already had USD accounts for them.“Based upon the bank’s position that they could not open LRD salary accounts for the officers and having deposited the May 50% GOL checks issued by the MFDP, the LNP began exploring alternative means of payment, and finally decided to make payments through checks against theLiberian dollar account, while the 50% USD was being credited to the officers’ USD salary accounts,” he said.But as we speak, he said, significant numbers of officers have received 50% of their LRD salary in checks and the process will soon be completed for the month of May, 2016.He said all efforts exerted by the LNP Administration earlier to ensure that the bank open the LRD accounts for the officers did not materialize. He said owing to the fact that the LNP maintained that it did not have LRD accounts for its officers, the LNP Administration met with the Ecobank management to open the officers’ LRD accounts. At that meeting in May, the Ecobank refused to oblige on the grounds that the fiscal measures by the Ministry of Finance were temporary and could cause the bank additional expense to have accounts maintained.He said, “Given the strength of the LNP, the nationwide deployment and the need to ensure that they remain at their various posts, the administration initiated a negotiation with the Finance Ministry to see the need to avoid making payments through other means, and realized that any other option would cause a delay in their salary payment.”He said prior to the issuance of these checks, the LNP administration, considering the difficulties in writing individual checks for more than six thousand officers, encouraged all officers to open individual LRD accounts at either Ecobank, LBDI or IB for the possible remittance of their salaries against the ratio (30:70) issued by the MFDP for June 2016, wherein 30% USD goes into the officers account while 70% LRD is to be credited to the anticipated accounts.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
“You be the judge,” he said. The rate increase hits Angelenos on top of an automatic bump in rates approved last year to pay for energy-efficiency programs. Humphreville said DWP customers should not be surprised if their bills were 25 percent higher in the next two years. Jeffery Peltola, director of budget, rates and efficiency for the DWP, said the rate increases were desperately needed to maintain quality service. “If we don’t fix things now, make no mistake, we will be in crisis mode, and it will be more expensive,” Peltola said. Several neighborhood representatives suggested appointing a DWP customer advocate to avoid future communication problems. They also demanded better accountability from the giant city utility. “There are so many areas that we weren’t told about, so many things we don’t understand,” said Dan Wiseman of the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council. “We need one person that can advocate for the average person.” San Fernando Valley neighborhood councils did celebrate one victory: A Valley rate zone that will allow Valley DWP customers to use more power without paying more for it. The Valley zone will allow customers to remain in lower-cost rate tiers for longer periods of energy use. For example, a Valley homeowner will pay 13 cents an hour to use up to 1,500 kilowatts during the summer, versus 15 cents an hour for a West L.A. homeowner who uses a third less power. “In the Valley, the climate is different,” said Leonard Shaffer, a Tarzana neighborhood council member. “Air-conditioning is not luxury for most – it’s a necessity.” firstname.lastname@example.org (661) 257-5254160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The increase came during revelations the average DWP worker makes nearly $77,000 a year – nearly 20 percent more than the average civilian city worker. Most neighborhood council representatives said their communities were against the rate hike, mainly because of a lack of clear rate information from the DWP. “DWP is a public company, and as its owner we have a right to know what’s going on,” said Jack Humphreville, chairman of the DWP Oversight Committee. “The way the rate was spun conflicted with the what’s really going on.” Humphreville said hidden fees – such as energy cost increases that are automatically passed on to customers – could leave many people paying a lot more than the $1.75 a month more that DWP officials touted. HOLLYWOOD – Neighborhood council members Saturday questioned a controversial Department of Water and Power rate increase that many said was confusing – and misleading. “Our council voted down this increase because there was just too much we didn’t understand,” Woodland Hills representative August Steurer said at a monthly neighborhood council congress in Hollywood. “The average person doesn’t understand the DWP; (it has its) own language.” This week, the DWP board approved its first rate increase in 15 years. The plan would increase electric rates by 9 percent over the next three years, and water rates would increase 6 percent over two years.