Simeon Freeman to Slice Gov’t

first_imgMPC standard bearer, Simeon Freeman, believes the government of Liberia needs to be relieved of deadweight caused by certain ministries and agencies“My administration will reduce the number of ministries and agencies,” he saysSimeon Freeman, the political leader of the opposition Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), has been saying it since he first ran for president of Liberia in 2011: that, if elected, he would reduce the current size of the Liberian government from 82 to 22 ministries and agencies.Mr. Freeman reiterated his promise recently at the second regionalized presidential debate organized by Liberia Media for Democratic Initiatives and the Public Trust Media Group in Tubmanburg, Bomi County.He said government was spending over US$240 million annually on its workforce, because the ministries and agencies are overlapping the functions assigned to the other.Freeman said his idea to slice government ministries and agencies would enable his proposed administration to save significant amounts of money, which he intends to redeploy to empower the private sector.The President of Liberia cannot close down a ministry unilaterally; the decision requires a legislative procedure. For any ministry of government to be closed down, the President would need to communicate said desire to the Legislature, whose prerogative it would be to determine whether or not to endorse the President’s request. This will include the implications of how much it would cost the government to provide severance package for hundreds, if not thousands of civil servants affected by the closures.The MPC standard bearer said he would set up 30 private agricultural companies in the 15 counties to empower Liberian farmers. The companies, Freeman said, would intervene in the agriculture sector by providing implements and equipments, free of charge, to make the sector viable.Freeman noted that the companies would also add value to farmers’ products for export.He promised to direct some of government’s revenues to set up 200 factories, including corn oil producing plants.The factories, he said, would help to provide employment for 100,000 Liberians in his first 100 days in office.“Liberians don’t need college education or high school certificates to work in factories, but practical knowledge and commitment,” Freeman stated.He said Liberia has had bad leaders, “because of the criteria the citizens have set to elect a president, senators, and representatives.”He noted that many candidates have promised to develop the country, but have not said where they would get the money from to do so.Freeman said Liberians are not considering that it would be difficult to borrow money for Liberia from any international partner in the new government, “because the country is already indebted to multi-national firms.”Freeman claimed that under the President Johnson Sirleaf administration, 20 percent of Liberia’s forests have been cleared and shipped out of the country, in good faith, “but only that citizens are yet to feel the impact.”If elected in October, Freeman said he would use his expertise to mobilize money domestically, but did not say how he was going to achieve that objective.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Lawsuits Filed to Block New Overtime Regulations

first_imgShare11Tweet4Share19Email34 SharesTime card / Matti MattilaSeptember 26, 2016; National Law ReviewTwo legal challenges to the U.S. Labor Department’s revised overtime rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) have been filed in federal court, one by a coalition of 21 states and the other by a group of business interests including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The article refers to the lawsuits as the fulfillment of wishes “from employers across the spectrum—large for-profit companies, small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and local government employers.” However, NPQ has explored the issue that, amid the stresses nonprofits and their employees may face in complying with the updated regulations, there is an underlying recognition that labor is frequently undercompensated, especially for the approximately four million people currently earning more than $23,660 and less than $47,476 anticipated to be affected by the new rule.The two lawsuits both seek to reverse the rule changes. There are similarities in the plaintiffs’ legal reasoning, but there are also differences. The business coalition lawsuit says the Labor Department was “arbitrary and capricious,” ignoring evidence when designing the rule, and that the new threshold is so high that “it is no longer plausible to satisfy the minimum salary cutoff for many individuals who are otherwise bona fide EAP (executive, administrative, or professional) employees.”The coalition of states claims that Congress does not have the authority to dictate to states how, or how much, they must pay their state employees. They also say that Congress gave too much FLSA rule-making power to the Labor Department. The article notes that both arguments are difficult to sustain given existing legal precedents.Both lawsuits say the revised rule’s “escalator provision,” automatically increasing the salary threshold every three years, violates the federal rulemaking requirement for notice and comment periods before changes can be made.Via its nonprofit newswire, NPQ has noted other efforts to delay or otherwise mitigate the revised regulations, including proposed legislation in Congress to reduce the threshold increase and eliminate the automatic indexing feature.There is no doubt that the $47,476 threshold gave some sticker shock to employers when it was announced earlier this year. In contrast, an inflationary increase from the current annual figure, set in 2004, would have resulted in a $30,141 level for 2016, using the Labor Department’s own web-based CPI inflation calculator. However, the Labor Department’s goal is to increase the threshold to cover all workers at the “40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census region (currently the South).”Unless the federal court in Texas (where the suits were filed) issues an injunction against the imposition of the revised regulations pretty soon, the new overtime regulations will take effect while the courts review the process and Congress debates changes.—Michael WylandShare11Tweet4Share19Email34 Shareslast_img read more

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