UL Breaks Ground For US$2.3M Medical School

first_imgUL President, Dr. Weeks.Ahead of the upcoming 98th graduation and convocation exercises of the University of Liberia (UL), the administration has undertaken several activities.As the first of these activities, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf last Monday broke ground on the UL Fendell Campus for the construction of 96-bedroom dormitories costing about US$2.3 million for the A. M. Dogliotti College of Medicine.At the groundbreaking ceremony, President Sirleaf reiterated her government’s commitment to ensuring an educated Liberian population. She noted that due to the importance government attaches to good education, it directed its Chinese grant to the building of the Fendell Campus of the UL in 2006.Health Minister Dr. Bernice Dahn recounted numerous efforts by the government to secure funding for the new home of the medical school.She said the dormitories will improve the living and learning conditions of medical students at the A. M. Dogliotti College of Medicine.She said that the government has established a partnership with the University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to improve pre-clinical sciences and faculty in-learning platform to connect the medical school’s students with the world.Dr. Dahn said given the limited space and poor condition of the existing medical school, the government was able to secure through its partner, the World Bank, the US$2.3 million grant to construct the facility.UL president Dr. Ophelia I. Weeks expressed happiness for the construction of the dormitories and hoped that a health science college would also be built on Fendell Campus in the near future.Dr. Weeks lauded the government for helping the university to secure its Fendell land.She revealed plans to build a university city, which according to her, will provide jobs for citizens in Fendell and surrounding areas.World Bank Country Manager Larisa Leshchenko said the grant will cover the construction of two 48-bed dormitories and two classrooms to strengthen the learning environment at the medical school.In a related development, the University last Tuesday  inducted into its honors program 63  scholars for academic excellence.Dr. Weeks encouraged the young scholars to always plan and remain disciplined if they are to maintain academic excellence.“Planning and discipline will help you follow schedules and deadlines for registration. If you know that you want to be in school next semester, you have to plan ahead,” said Dr. Weeks.She also used the occasion to admonish other students of the university to cut down on some of their activities and plan properly by saving money, noting that this will get them ready for the following semester.The just ended honors program was the first under Dr. Weeks’ administration.The Dean of Liberia College, Sekou Konneh, who was the keynote speaker surged the students to put God first in all that they do. He advised the students to take risks and positive adventures and have dreams with goals. “You must be consistent. Study with plans, organize your time and yourselves because planning is critical in anyone’s life,” he said.The 98th commencement convocation began last Thursday at the Fendall Campus with an arts and crafts exhibition that will run up to December 15.According to a UL release, various events have been scheduled for the seven undergraduate colleges, with today’s commencement for Liberia College being the first.The release added that Teachers, Science, Agriculture, Business, Vocational, Engineering, and Health Sciences Colleges will follow from December 5 to 13.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Council split on pay raises in face of city financial crisis

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre “The real issue here is why are judges being paid so much?” said Zine, who plans to give his raise to charitable organizations in his west San Fernando Valley council district. “We have no control over this. It’s the state that decides salaries for judges that determines our pay.” Salaries paid to key Los Angeles city officials have been tied to judges’ pay since 1990 when voters approved Measure H, an ethics-reform package that prohibited elected city officials from earning money other than their city salary. At the time, the City Council decided to tie salaries to those of Municipal Court judges – $86,000 a year then – compared with council members’ pay of $62,000. The new formula stated that the controller would get 10percent more than a judge’s salary; the city attorney 20percent more; and the mayor 30 percent more. Even as Los Angeles faces severe financial problems, city officials were sharply divided Monday over whether to accept a recently announced pay raise that would boost their annual salaries to $178,000 or higher. The 4.16 percent raise, retroactive to July 1, is their fourth major salary hike in two years because of a policy that ties the pay of City Council members – as well as the mayor, city attorney and controller – to judges’ salaries. Seven council members and City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo said Monday that they will accept the raise. But four council members, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Controller Laura Chick said they will reject the extra money. Meanwhile, Councilmen Dennis Zine and Jose Huizar said they will accept the extra money, but donate it to charities in their districts. Two council members – Bernard Parks and Greig Smith – did not return calls. But as California in recent years has sought to boost judges’ pay, city officials have also seen their salaries soar. The most recent increases approved by the state would bring Villaraigosa’s salary up by $8,283, to $232,425. Chick also is rejecting her increase of $7,855, which would boost her salary to $196,667. Delgadillo’s salary will rise $8,569, to $214,546, and council members’ salaries will rise $7,141, to $178,789. Councilman Richard Alarcon – who will accept the raise – said he believes it should not be a political issue. “I’m not going to issue some politically patronizing statement about this,” Alarcon said. “If I do a good job, the people will re-elect me, regardless of what the salary is. If I’m doing a poor job, I will be out of office. “I work very hard for my district, seven days a week, every single holiday and most nights of the week. If voters feel it is inappropriate, they will let me know. If they like the work I do, they will return me to office.” Alarcon said he has heard comparisons of Los Angeles’ officials pay to other cities, such as New York or Chicago. “But the fact is we are a much smaller council and cost less than New York City and represent far more people,” Alarcon said. The budget for the 51-member New York City Council is $34.2 million. The Los Angeles City Council budget for this year is $26.4 million. New York council members are paid about $90,000 a year, although committee chairing and other leadership stipends can add up to $20,000 more. In Chicago, 50 aldermen make about $98,000 each. Other council members who say they will accept the increase are Ed Reyes, Tony Cardenas, Tom LaBonge, Bill Rosendahl, Jan Perry and Herb Wesson. Those rejecting it outright are Wendy Greuel, Janice Hahn, Jack Weiss and Council President Eric Garcetti. Zine, who also draws an $80,000 annual pension from his years as a Los Angeles police officer, said he has made a practice of donating $25,000 a year from his own pay to organizations in his district. “This year, I’ll be able to add a little more to it,” Zine said. Aides to Huizar said the councilman and his wife will be determining which groups will receive his donations. The raise comes at an awkward time for the council as the city budget faces at least a $75 million shortfall this coming year and the council is asking voters to continue a telephone users’ tax. The council also is weighing rate increases for both water and electricity that have been proposed by the Department of Water and Power. Late last week, Chick urged the City Council to look at developing a new way of setting the salaries. While her suggestion has received some support, no one has yet come up with a specific proposal other than to say it should be determined by a group separate from the City Council. “I think the last thing we want is the City Council in charge of setting salaries,” Perry said. “I think we have to be extremely cautious about having us determine the salaries.” And that would include linking the pay raises of officials to whatever contracts are negotiated for city workers. Delgadillo, through his spokesman Nick Velasquez, said the city attorney agrees with Perry. “He believes in the current system approved by voters,” Velasquez said. “But (he) believes it may be time to look at different systems of setting salaries, so long as the council and mayor don’t set their own.” WHERE THEY STAND ACCEPTING THE RAISE: City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo; council members Ed Reyes, Tom LaBonge, Bill Rosendahl, Jan Perry, Herb Wesson, Richard Alarcon and Tony Cardenas. REJECTING THE RAISE: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Controller Laura Chick; council members Wendy Greuel, Janice Hahn, Jack Weiss and Council President Eric Garcetti. DONATING THE RAISE: Councilmen Dennis Zine, Jose Huizar. DID NOT RESPOND: Councilmen Bernard Parks, Greig Smith.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more