Disciplinary measures for public servants


I AM shocked to see many of my relatives and other public servants dismissed and put off the government payroll over trivial disciplinary matters.
These matters could have been solved easily by having the manager and the affected officer sit down and discuss the issue.
Officers in management positions do not seem to know the disciplinary processes that are clearly defined in the Public Service Management Act or the Public Service General Orders.
Without effecting other forms of disciplinary measure as outlined in the above mentioned documents, the only option the senior management seem to know and use is to suspend and eventually terminate workers.
Warnings, relocations, transfers, demotions and suspensions are other means of disciplinary actions that are often overlooked and bypassed. The last thing we should do is look at sacking someone. When an officer is suspended, it is so that his or her presence does not affect an investigation or allow for a possible repeat of the offence.
Once dismissed, the only recourse for many workers is to contact organisations like the Public Service Commission (PSC) to seek redress.
I pity the officers who do not live in Port Moresby or Central because the PSC has time limits for the lodgement of appeals. If the worker who has been dismissed does not live in Port Moresby, then he or she will have to find money to pay for travel into the city.
I am not too sure if the rules have changed from when I was a public servant many years back. The Secretary for the Department of Personnel Management used to be the authority that actioned dismissals, but today the order for termination is given at the national departments, provincial administrations and, I believe, at the district administration level.
Many affected officers are not familiar with their rights as public servants and therefore do not challenge their dismissal. Members of the Public Employees’ Association (PEA), are usually well represented in the court by the association’s lawyer.
Senior management officers need to go through a refresher course to bring them up to date with the rules and procedures that cover disciplinary actions.
If the minister for public service does a review of terminations he will understand what I am talking about.

Frank Gamezuho