The new chief administrative secretaries (CASs) will be earning more than principal secretaries after the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) raised their monthly pay to Sh780,000, putting them in the league of Kenya’s top six best-paid officials in the public service.
A new SRC advisory to the Public Service Commission (PSC) shows that a CAS’ monthly pay will rise from Sh765,188 following a job evaluation that put the position in a higher job grade.
“SRC has determined the monetary worth of the job of CAS at grade F1 and would like to advise on the attendant remuneration and benefits structure,” said the SRC chairperson Lyn Mengich in a March 14, 2023 letter to her PSC counterpart, Anthony Muchiri.
The current and previous administrations have been seen to use the position to reward loyalists and election losers.
The CAS’s take-home under the new pay structure will increase when you factor in commuter allowance, which will be paid at the ‘official’ government rates.
The SRC advisory will now see the CASs, who were earning the same as principal secretaries under the Uhuru Kenyatta administration, overtake the pay of the ministries’ accounting officers by Sh14,812.
Only the President and the Deputy President, who earn Sh1.44 million and Sh1.23 million respectively, and the Attorney-General, Cabinet secretaries (CSs), the Secretary to the Cabinet and the Head of Public Service (Sh924,000 each) will be earning more than the CAS, whose job description is to deputise CSs.
The SRC said the CAS position will now fall in grade F1, marking a departure from the PSC grading that had classified them under CSG 3 or an equivalent of Job Group V.
The new pay structure means that the 50 CASs that were sworn in at State House on Friday, in a function graced by President William Ruto, will be costing taxpayers Sh468 million annually for salaries alone.
A CAS’s salary is made up of Sh459,113 basic pay, Sh165,000 house allowance and Sh155,887.
The SRC defines salary market adjustment as a salary modification that factors in market positioning and constitutional and statutory principles.
Principal secretaries were earning Sh874,500 per month five years ago when the SRC cut their pay to Sh765,188 in a review that also affected all officers in the national and county governments.
A CAS will be provided with an official car with an engine capacity not exceeding 3,000cc and medical cover that includes Sh10 million inpatient and Sh300,000 outpatient.
This is in addition to a car loan of up to Sh8 million, a mortgage of up to Sh35 million, Sh20,000 monthly airtime and Sh50,000 annual leave allowance, all being the same as the entitlements of principal secretaries.
The CAS will upon exit be paid a service gratuity at the rate of 31 percent of the annual pensionable pay for the term served.
Unlike under former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration when individuals who held the CAS positions never went through the recruitment process by the PSC, Dr Ruto’s appointees went through a competitive process.
Parliament on Wednesday, however, declined to vet the CASs on grounds that there is no law that requires them to be vetted by the House, paving the way for Dr Ruto to appoint all the nominees.
The PSC last September listed the CAS roles as that of responding to issues touching on the portfolio assigned to the office and providing liaison with the National Assembly and Senate.
CASs will also be providing liaison with county governments on “matters of concurrent mandate and common interest” and providing “inter-ministerial and sectoral coordination,” according to the PSC’s September brief.
Other roles of the CASs are representing the CSs at any meeting as instructed by the latter and executing any other duties and responsibilities specifically assigned to the office by the CS.
The Law Society of Kenya had challenged the establishment of the office of CAS but lost the case at the High Court. In the legal battle, the law society argued that the CAS position is illegal and would lead to a bloated public wage bill.
The LSK also said it was likely there would be duplicity of functions of the CAS and principal secretaries, “which would further bloat the public wage bill without corresponding improvement of services.”