THE Honiara City Council (HCC) Clerk, Rence Sore has disappointed members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) after last week’s inquiry discovered that his administrative role at the Council did not reflect his capabilities as an experienced public servant.
It was revealed in last week’s hearing that the Clerk on numerous occasions acted alone in the decision-making of the Council.
Leader of the parliamentary Opposition and Aoke-Langalanga MP, Mathew Wale told the Clerk that it’s very clear in the timeline of events that he is acting like a politician, to be quick in making decisions on his own on the matters of the council, without consulting the Mayor and the councilors.
“When you are appointed by the Mayor and both of you together, I was really hopeful because both of you are men of action and you would do a lot of things together.
“In the absence of the financial tools and legal mechanisms at the HCC, I had expected more in terms of transparency, the kind of governance around decision making, expenditure commitments, and all that.
“Your years of experience should have better informed you to be in caution. That is my disappointment,” Mr. Wale said.
He went on to remind Mr. Sore that his role really was to hold back decisions and questions processes and give directions.
“You could have done more but you didn’t, and you may have even gone further than just didn’t.
“You may have deliberately stepped into that ‘grey’ area in the absences of law and assumed the authority you didn’t have or you do not have. That is what I am disappointed at,” Mr. Wale said.
Meanwhile, Interim Chairman of the PAC and Small Malaita MP, Rick Hou also shared similar sentiments.
“Clerk, you can note that the Committee is very disappointed.
“Our disappointment is that you are a senior civil servant in the Solomon Islands and when we heard you are appointed as a Clerk, we fully support the decision hoping that everything will work out well for the council.
“But instead, I have to say that we are really disappointed. This report highlights shortfalls on procurement processes, loans, ward grants, budget, management, petty cash…it’s all over the place,” Mr. Hou said while referring to the outcomes of the HCC audit report and its content.
Mr. Hou added that what the PAC had expected was something that is in place to sort out the mess at the Council.
According to the Interim Chairman, all these have been going on in the council for too long and that is the reason why everyone expected Mr. Sore as the new HCC Clerk will address.
But the PAC discovered that what he has been doing is exactly the opposite.
By RONALD F. TOITO’ONA