A travesty perpetrated by the city councillors

Dear Editor,

As a citizen I am most concerned about the travesty reported to have been recently perpetrated by the Councillors of Georgetown – at once reflecting an embarrassing display of ignorance of the very statute – Cap 28:01 – by which they should govern, and be governed. This ignorance is compounded by an arrogance which suggests that the city council could confront the responsible Minister with an illegal action.

What is further troubling is that the city council, in apparent denial of a suspect track record, well documented by the Report of the Burrowes Commission of Inquiry of 2010, has not paused to reflect on its identified organisational deficiencies, nor to recognise the substantive malfunctioning of operational units, and the identified incompetence of related senior managers.

A modicum of reasoning would question how, faced with a most informed analysis of comprehensive systemic failures, could it be expected that any of the existing under-performers could claim ability to raise the very low level of productivity to which they have so long contributed.

It is of course possible that the Report of the Burrowes Commission of Inquiry may not have been adequately examined by some members of the city council, so that the latter could better apprehend its full import. Their abstinence, however, would be no excuse for a level of behaviour which effectively declares to our citizenry: It is business as usual – addicted as we are to old wine.

Most, if not all, stakeholders are by now advised how much effort is needed to mend, and in some cases, replace, identified broken systems. They are equally convinced of the stark absence of the needed competencies. They will, however, need to be convinced how a supervisory body which allowed the deviations of conduct by the principal actors highlighted in the named report, can better manage personnel who were not only witnesses to the misconduct, but worked close enough to elicit genuine concern about their own effectiveness.

Stakeholders would therefore reason that any suitably qualified replacement must be sourced from other systems and institutions, even if for a prescribed period of a rehabilitation programme – with specific targets to be achieved. The selection must send a positive message of both competence and integrity, given the extant environment of doubt.

It is possible to conceive a contract agreement for the two high level positions – Town Clerk and City Treasurer – which specifically articulates the authority relationship between these appointees and the city council as a whole.

In the face of the urgent need for professionalism, the traditional review of current applications can only be an exercise in futility. Those who exercise authority should easily appreciate the fundamental that to compromise a principle is to betray it. It surely defies logic that a review panel, including representatives (protectors) of the categories of defective performers, can be regarded as having the moral authority, apart from technical competence, to review candidatures for the instant vacancy.

At the same time one must question the non-presentation of at least a corporate citizen (a more likely repository of the requisite skill and experience) on the ‘reformed’ interview panel.

In any event the latest amendment to the selection process myopically overlooks the contradiction in considering persons who were participants in a failed management system, the restructuring of which must now be led by a quality of leadership not the least discernible from amongst them.

Yours faithfully,
(Name and address provided)

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