District councillors' hands tied by no-overtime move
A day after proposing greater powers for district councils, the government spelled out that councillors' hands would be tied on overtime for leisure and cultural staff - there would not be any.
Sai Kung district councillor Gary Fan Kwok-wai said that meant councillors would have little room to move in exercising their powers to manage district facilities.
Anissa Wong Sean-yee, director of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, said asking department staff to work beyond the normal opening hours of facilities such as libraries would clash with government policies on management.
Ms Wong said it would also be inappropriate for councils to hand out overtime pay from a $300 million annual fund for sports and recreational activities proposed in the consultation paper.
Instead, she said councils could team up with non-governmental organisations to extend opening hours.
But Mr Fan dismissed that option as not feasible, saying the department was unlikely to allow outsiders to manage its facilities.
Under the government proposals, each of the 18 councils would form a district facilities management committee to initiate and endorse proposals for the management of almost 1,700 district facilities, including libraries, swimming pools and community halls.
Government departments would implement the committees' decisions, as long as they did not conflict with the government's statutory powers, or with policies on staff and resources management.
Solicitor Sidney Lee Chi-hang yesterday became the third candidate to sign up for the Central and Western District Council by-election scheduled for June 11. He will run as an independent.