Uncertainty surrounds establishment of 188 village units in Siaya County as Governor Cornell Rasanga has termed the proposal impractical and unsustainable.
In November, the assembly unanimously passed the Siaya County Village Administrative Unit Bill 2018 that sought creation of the units.
But Governor Rasanga has rejected Bill, citing budgetary implications.
In a memorandum dated December 3, addressed to Speaker George Okode, the governor asked the MCAs to reduce the number unit in light of a ballooning wage bill.
He said that if adopted, the wage bill’s share will rise from the recommended 35 per cent to 46 per cent, a share he said was unsustainable.
“While this bill is not offensive to any law, I find the same impractical in terms of implementation in view of the heavy burden it will create on an already bloated wage bill,” he said.
Mr Rasanga wants the number of units reduced to 94 but ward representatives have disputed this.
“It is prudent that the proposed number of 188 be reduced by half in order for it to be sustainable,” the governor said in his memorandum.
The assembly now needs the two-thirds majority vote to overturn the governor’s memorandum and retain the villages as proposed per sub-location.
If implemented as proposed, the legislation will see 188 village administrators hired by the county government.
According to a recommendation by the Sectoral Committee on Governance and Administration, the village administrator will have professional qualifications and technical knowledge and be competitively appointed by the County Public Service Board for a three-year renewable contract.
The appointment must be done with the approval of the assembly.
The administrators are expected to head the villages considered fundamental units of devolution.
While rejecting the bill, the governor further asked the assembly amend the age requirement for the administrators to a minimum of 35 years. The bill proposed 18 years.
He said; “I am unable to assent to the bill as proposed and therefore refer it back to the assembly pursuant to the powers granted to me under section 24(2)(b) of the County Government Act.”
The committee argued that setting the age 18 limit does not in any way prevent considering of people older than 35 years.
“In addition, to consider the proposal of the governor on the age limit will disadvantage persons between the ages of 18 and 34 years, hence the law will be discriminatory. The committee is of the opinion that all persons of majority age should be given equal opportunity,” it said in its report.
Committee chairman Vincent Odawa on Friday said they will need more time to seek answers on key areas of concern.
“The governor should give us a scientific justification on how managing the 188 village units will suffocate the wage bill by stating clearly how much, in terms of salaries and other benefits, each village unit will get,” said Mr Odawa.
He added that Mr Rasanga should also give clear suggestions on how to arrive at 94 units, complete with names and numbers of units per ward in all the six sub-counties.
Speaker Okode directed the committee to consult its members and the Executive and report their findings to the House during the next session or in a special sitting.
“On the matter of days of considering the memorandum from the governor, I am compelled to guide that the 14days prescribed by Standing Order No 143 (4) and Section 24 (5) of the County Governments Act, 2012 are only applicable when the assembly is in session,” the Speaker said.