CALAMITY OMINOUS WITHIN THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICE.
Global Reporter can confidently say that there information gathered so far points to an imminent disaster within the Local Government Service. The reasons being that majority of the Staff are up in arms against the introduction of the New Conditions of Services which they claim is seriously de-motivating and counterproductive. Some of them who spoke to me argued that the suppose new conditions of service was developed without due consultation with staff and the worst part of it is that, the new conditions of service was supposed to have taken effect from the 1st October, 2014.
However, they opined that even as at the first week of November, 2014 the document containing the new conditions of service was still not in the public domain.
One of the Staff who spoke to me on condition of anonymity, postulated that they only sighted a wireless message that was being circulated in the Greater Accra Region to the effect that Officers who were due for promotion this year with majority being Assistant Director IIA's cannot be promoted since in the supposedly new condition of service, the number of years to serve before one can be due for promotion from Assistant Director IIB to Assistant Director IIA and that of Assistant Director IIA to Assistant Director I had been revised from three(3) years to four(4) years.
He suggested that any conditions of service that is de-monitoring cannot take a retrospective effect hence the reason why members were bracing themselves to fight for their rights. He intimated that all the arsenals within their power and not excluding resorting to the law courts would be considered to ensure that New Conditions of Service do not see the light of the day.
He further stated that, at best such dehumanizing conditions of service can only be applied to would-be employees at the time of recruitment for only those who would still be interested despite the changes in the conditions of service to be recruited.
He further stated that all those who would be affected negatively by the new conditions of services of services are organizing themselves at the various regions to vehemently appose to implementations.
Our investigations here revealed that ever since Dr. Calitus Mahama took over as the heed of Local Government Service, he seems to be autocratically implementing decision without recourse to due consultation. We have been informed that he directed that all co-ordinating directors (who are Administrative Officers) at all the MMDA's throughout the country to hand over to the most senior officers irrespective of the CLASS of the person. This totally deviates from the norm whereby co-ordinating directors previously had to hand over to the most Senior Administrative Officer in case they were to take leave of Office.
One co-ordinating director alluded to this fact and argued that the previous practice was done on the premise that the Administrative Class was a professional Class hence the need to always hand over to an officer of the same Class. He predicted a total collapse of the Local Government system if the new practice as directed by the head of service is not abolished. He opined that most of the Unit/Departmental heads cannot effectively perform the role of a Co-ordinating Director which is purely Administrative and Managerial and in circumstances where the Administrative Officers are by-passed for other unit or departmental heads to act instead, the Administrative Officers will invariably exhibit lukewarm attitude towards the challenges that may confront who ever that would be acting and overall effect would be poor service delivery. Most units/departmental heads were specialists in their respective jurisdictions while the Administrative Officer is a Generalist hence the reasons why they are made to rise through the system when they are recruited in order acclimatized with the decentralization and the local governance system. This affords the Administrative officer to be abreast with activities of the departments of the Assembly so that they could effectively and efficiently coordinate their programs and projects.
When we caught up with one deputy director, he indicated that, when he joined the service with some colleagues budget and planning offices, they were posted to MMDAs were they immediately took the mantle of heading those units but he had to rise through the ranks under a co-ordinating director and that after more than 10 years of service, he is still deputizing and learning the rudiment of the administrative work.
He suggested that, the person to Act in the absences of a Co-ordinating Director should not and was not a contentious issue until the directive from Dr. Calitus Mahama. In his words “even an Assistant Director IIB could act as the Co-ordinating Director in the absence of the substantive provided the person has the capacity since other officers are expected to give respect the office to be occupied and not the personality or his/her rank”.
He intimated that the current Head of Local Government Service who is introducing policies and programs in a whimsical and capricious manner is even a beneficiary of what he is opposing to.
He asked a rhetorical question, is Dr. Calitus the most Senior Officer in Local Governance? He was previously working under Dr. Mrs. Offei Aboagye at the Local Government Studies prior to his appointment as Acting Head of the Local Government Service.
Per his current appointment, Dr. Mrs. Offei Aboagye who is the Head of the Local Government Institute is now supposed to be under Dr. Calitus Mahama. Will it be appropriate for Mrs. Aboagye to refuse to take directives from Dr. Calitus because she is senior to him? He concluded that the answer is Absolutely NO, since Mrs. Aboagye is expected to look up to the office occupied by Dr. Calitus and not his personality or rank. This he said was the import of the arrangement at the various MMDAs.
From our investigation it seems that Dr. Calitus Mahama does not regard the Administrative Class a professional class and hence his stand that, any officer can perform the roles of a Coordinating Director which was previously the preserve of the Administrative Class. This perception of his is most likely to collapse or militate against effective service delivery in the MMDA's derail the gains made so far the decentralization system.
The Global Reporter was informed that in this era of decentralization, the Head of Local Government Service still continue to post Co-ordinating Directors left, right and Centre and even sometimes without recourse to the Regional Co-ordinating Councils. Some co-ordinating directors we interviewed expressed their displeasure of the current trend and intimated that the most bizarre aspect of the entire posting issue was that, mostly the MMDCE's were those championing the requests the head of service to post them out. Sadly the head of service who is supposed to protect and safeguard the interest of staff accepts the request of the MMDCE's without given the affected Co-ordinating Directors fair hearing. This situation has made most of the Co-ordinating Directors timid and for the fear of been posed out, they were compelled to accept whatever proposals from the MMDCE's irrespective of whether the proposals were against the ethics of their profession and might not even inure to the best interest of the country. Most Co-ordinating Directors are now stooges and if care is not taking, our fight against corruption will be defeated on the basis of these capricious postings of Co-ordinating Directors who may incur the displeasure of some MMDCE's by objecting to some corrupt practices. His actions are more dangerous than the Eloba disease and something must be done urgently to cure this unwanted disease in the local government service to pave way for counter-production.
From our interviews with staff of the service, mostly the Administrative Class and our own independent situational analysis, we respectfully request Dr. Calistus Mahama to respond to the following burning questions.
1. Where is the new condition of service that was supposed to come into effect 1st October, 2014?
2. What is the extent of consultation/involvement with staff of the service in the development of the new conditions of services?
3. Are Conditions of Service supposed to be de-motivating?
4. Is it a sign of motivation to extend the number of years by an additional one (1) year and some cases two (2) years as we are been told for a person to go through before being due for promotion?
5. Are the various substantive Planning Officers, Budget Officers, Agric Directors etc. expected to hand over to the most senior officer when taking a leave of office?
6. Is the administrative class professional class or anybody at all can perform their function?
7. Can't the Local Government Service decentralize the internal postings of officers to the regional co-ordinating councils?
8. To what extend do you give fair hearing as the law of natural justice requires to co-ordinating directors on allegation leveled against them buy MMDCE's anytime they want them posted out?
9. Are you aware that the manner in which Co-ordinating Directors are posted on the behest of MMDCE's is gradually breeding corruption as they are likely to approve hook, line and sinker whatever requests from the MMDCE's in order to protect their stay?
I wish to conclude my write up by calling on the Local Government Service Council to as a matter of urgency step in to address these concerns to forestall an eminent disaster. Tension is mounting gradually among the workers and the need to expedite action on this matter cannot be over emphasized.
Abu Nabong Narawie : The Global Reporter