Thirty-nine sub-county and ward administrators in Nyeri County have been sent on compulsory annual leaves of between 60 and 110 days.
The county government said they have accumulated leave days and they want the workers to go and rest, but the administrators said it was a plot to sack them and “create opportunities for the governor’s campaigners and cronies”.
The officials received the letters on Wednesday. They then convened an impromptu private crisis meeting with a labour disputes lawyer in a hotel in Nyeri town.
The administrators threatened to sue Governor Wahome Gakuru and the County Public Service Board.
They complained that they were compelled to proceed on the long break without being paid their August and September salaries.
The letters, signed by the county government’s human resource manager Mathew Mburu, ordered the administrators to exit office and hand over any county government property in their possession to revenue officers in their areas of operation.
According to one of the letters, the compulsory leave will improve efficiency and effective service delivery in the county.
“The new County Administration is in the process of reviewing and reorganising its various county departments’ structures with a view of improving efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery. Among measures being implemented is addressing staff work-life balance and welfare,” read the letter.
Mr Mburu added that it had been established that a number of county employees have accumulated leave days.
“An employee is required to take annual leave for recuperative purposes to enable him/her renew energy and improve efficiency … An officer may, if he/she so wishes, carry forward from one leave year to another not more than half of his annual entitlement,” he indicated.
Mr Mburu said the county government did not plan to pay for unused leave days or carry forward more than half of workers’ leave entitlement.
The administrators were directed to proceed to the annual leaves starting October 25 and resume duty on different respective dates next year.
The move comes a fortnight after the Employment court directed the county government to hire the officials on permanent and pensionable terms.
The court also ruled that the attempts by the governor and the board to terminate the administrators’ services were illegal and unconstitutional.