A New Dawn at the Civil Service Agency

Dioda Wreh-Seekey

Monrovia, Liberia: In a momentous event marked with optimism and renewed commitment, the Civil Service Agency (CSA) and Liberians in general witnessed the official takeover of Honorable Josiah F. Joekai, Jr., as the Director-General of the Civil Service Agency of the Republic of Liberia on March 12, 2024.

In a more forward-matched takeover message filled with assured hope for the estimated 65,000 civil servants, Hon. Josiah F. Joekai, Jr., outlined his vision for the Civil Service Agency and the future of Liberia’s public sector. He reechoed the introduction of a bi-monthly payment system for all civil servants, including the call to conduct a comprehensive national forensic payroll audit of the one hundred and three (103) spending entities of the government for the period of 2022–2023.

He stated that the Civil Service Agency and the central administration of the national legislature will also be audited. The intention of the audit is to clear out ghost names, get rid of civil servants who are double-dipping, and be able to have a merit-based employment and pay system. As such, he is emphasizing the importance of integrity, transparency, and efficiency within the civil service, as already mentioned during his confirmation hearing at the Senate.

“As I take over today, March 12, 2024, the bank balance of the CSA USD Account is only $10,200. As of February 2024, the total employee strength of the CSA alone is 322, of which more than 200 sit at the central office with a total wage bill of US$227,416.62. Furthermore, I have inherited an overstuffed payroll that currently sustains 67,746 employees across the 103 spending entities, with an alarming average monthly wage bill of US$23,543,874.64″.

The bi-monthly payment system, if approved, will relieve civil servants of the hard financial burdens of borrowing money and paying it back at high interest rates upon receiving their paychecks. Hon. Joekai stated, “Many times civil servants will spend their income before the month ends; in short, they will dig holes to cover holes; as such, this new strategy will empower families to put food on their tables.”

Acknowledging the challenges ahead, the new CSA boss expressed his commitment to cleaning the national payroll. “However, as I step into the role of Director-General of the CSA, I am fully aware of the enormity of challenges confronting our nation’s civil service; the current state of the government’s workforce requires immediate and decisive reform actions.” Hon. Josiah Joekai.

The Hon. Director-General is grateful to the President of Liberia and has conveyed his interest in working with the CSA staff. He then called upon all staff to join hands in the collective pursuit of excellence and service to the nation.

Amidst a backdrop of anticipation and eagerness for change, Hon. Josiah F. Joekai, Jr., the newly appointed Director-General of the CSA, now takes over the agency from the Deputy-Director for Human Resource Management and Policy, Hon. Darlington A. P. Smith, who served as head of the agency during Hon. Joekai’s pending confirmation and subsequent appointment.

In a symbolic turnover, Hon. Darlington A. P. Smith commended Hon. Joekai’s leadership qualities and pledged his professional support for a result-oriented team in the best interest of the country.

At his historic and colorful takeover, there were remarks of support and cooperation from the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Thomp P. Fallah, the Lofa County Legislative Caucus, and the Executives, including Friends of the Hon. Director-General. Others who pledged their cooperation were the Civil Servant Association of Liberia, along with a conglomeration of other civil society groups. Also, Madam Ciata Stevens d’Almeida, Executive Director of the President Young Professional Program (PYPP), pronouncing the New CSA’s boss as the Board Chair of the PYPP as required.

Mr. Alfred Drosaye, Principal Administrative Officer of the Civil Service Agency, assured the new boss of the unwavering and professional support of the staff of the agency (CSA).

With a plethora of well-wishes and congratulatory messages going the way of Hon. Josiah F. Joekai, Jr., the start of a new chapter for the Civil Service Agency is signaled, consummating a renewed sense of purpose and determination as the agency stands ready to confront challenges head-on and uphold its mandate to serve the public interest.

Under Hon. Joekai’s leadership, the CSA looks poised to chart a course towards a new Liberia for all citizens under the vision of President Joseph Nyuma Boakai’s ARREST agenda, an acronym representing agriculture, roads, rule of law, education, sanitation, and tourism. 

Enacted by an act of the legislature in 1973, the Civil Service Agency (CSA) is a central government agency with statutory responsibility for ensuring a merit-oriented system throughout the civil service. It is also there to ensure that civil servants’ rights are properly protected and that uniformly high standards of personnel administration are practiced in every government agency.

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