By Melvin Jackson
MONROVIA: Workers of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are agitating for the resignation of Prof. Wilson Tarpeh, Executive Director of the agency but the EPA boss has resisted their demand, saying he is serving a tenure position and will not therefore resign, a situation that has led the Administrative Manager of the entity, Joseph Doles to file a complaint in court for “felonious restraint
According to our reporter who is following the case, a writ issued on Tuesday, January 23, by the Stipendiary of Magistrate Monrovia City Court, Ben Barco, said the staffers prevented the EPA boss from accessing the compound of the institution.
EPA Administrative Manager Doles, complaining the workers’ behavior, said the defendants’ workers intent has exposed the institution’s executive director to a condition of involuntary servitude.
But speaking minutes after their release from the Monrovia City Court, Andrew Cooper an Account Analyst at the institution said employees at the institution want the Executive Director to relinquish his position as it is not a tenure position.
According to him, Prof. Tarpeh wants to forcibly claim a tenure position that was not given during his appointment which was not sanctioned by the institution’s National Policy Council as required by law, to render the his appointment to be one of tenure
Mr. Cooper said Prof. Tarpeh can only claim tenure only if his appointment was done through the institution’s National Policy Council as established by law, which he pointed out has not been the case.
He further said that count 16 of the Act that created the EPA grants the Executive Director a tenure position provided he meets the fundamental formulation of being recommended by the board to the president for appointments.
“Count 16 of the Act says the president shall appoint an executive director who has a vast knowledge on environmental issues, but this was not in the case of Prof. Wilson Tarpeh as he lacks all [vast knowledge of environmental issues]” Cooper said.
The account analyst of the institution further quoted the act that established the EPA which states by stating “that the president shall appoint the Executive Director from a short list of three, following the vetting by the board of directors for appointments.”
He maintained that the National Policy Council, which should serve as the backbone of the institution for appointments of EDs, has not been established, something he said does not give Prof. Tarpeh the right to claim tenure.
Cooper and his colleagues recounted that President Weah, prior to leaving office, issued executive order 123 in which Section 9 of the order states that non-tenure appointees shall be presumed resigned as of the date of the inauguration on January 22, 2024.
Also speaking to our reporter, EPA Executive Director Wilson Tarpeh, termed the staffers’ actions as being criminal, diabolical and illegal towards his office and the institution.
Prof. Tarpeh maintained that his position at the EPA is a seven-year tenure position that is expected to end on October 1, 2027. The Environmental Protection Agency boss further dismissed allegations levied against him by the staffers and said that their quest is intended to destroy the image of the institution.
According to him, the executive order issued by former President George Weah in no way refers or includes his office as it is a tenure office, saying that a tenure of an EPA executive director is a seven-year period.
The EPA boss added that those found disturbing the constituted authorities of the EPA, including Andrew Cooper, are all undergoing suspension, saying that the presence of Jerry Tokpah and Andrew Cooper to bring in a new acting executive director to the EPA was unlawful and that branded it “lawlessness at the peak.”
Prof. Tarpeh, further clarified that since the policy council does not exist, there was a system put in place where the national climate change secretariat was constituted to help manage the day-to-day affairs of the institution.
According to him, the absence of the policy council does not make the EPA ineffective, saying that this is why the climate change secretariat was established to manage the affairs of the institution.
He maintains that they cannot scrape the authority of the climate change secretariat, and that they don’t have to demand him to step down as head of the institution.