The Employment and Labor Relations court has suspended the decision by Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui to send 115 county employees on compulsory leave.
Justice Hellen Wasilwa in her ruling Thursday suspended the governor’s decision pending hearing and determination of a petition filed by the employees before court.
The 115 sub county and ward administrators filed a petition in court on Wednesday through their lawyer Mr Gordon Ogolla challenging the governor’s decision.
Governor Kinyanjui sent the employees on compulsory leave on Monday in what he termed as a measure to reorganise the devolved unit.
Among those who were sent home were six senior county officials—the director of finance Wilson Mungai, director of procurement Eliezar Ngarari, head of enforcement Joseph Kiara, deputy head of enforcement Charles Nyanaro and the head of accounts Dan Odundo.
In addition, all sub-County and ward administrators, and their deputies were also sent home.
In their application, the disgruntled employees accused the new county boss of maliciously and irregularly ordering them to proceed on a compulsory leave without subjecting them to any disciplinary action.
“The decision to send the petitioners on compulsory leave was made without jurisdiction and is wrong in every respect as none of the petitioners was ever notified of any complaints or allegations against them that could trigger such drastic action,” part of the affidavit read.
They further sought orders restraining the county government from advertising their positions until when the matter is heard and determined.
Justice Wasilwa, who certified the matter as urgent, directed that the matter be placed before the Employment and Labor Relations court in Nakuru on September 18.
“Pending hearing and determination of the matter, an order is hereby issued staying the letter by the respondent dated August 28 sending county employees on compulsory leave,” she directed.
Governor Kinyanjui has vowed to tame the burgeoning wage bill which hit the Sh 5.5 billion mark within four and half years that Kinuthia Mbugua was in office.
The wage bill was partly blamed on excess employees, who include staff inherited from the defunct municipal council and the national government when devolution was implemented.
The governor also announced immediate replacement of County Secretary Joseph Motari, who has been in the office for the past four and half years.