THE position of provincial administrator for Southern Highlands (SHP) was advertised by the Department of Personnel Management (DPM) towards the end of last year.
That province has run into social disorder, turmoil and decline and declining levels of public service delivery standards.
There is information that a shortlist of three names have been completed and ready for vetting by the PEC and the National Executive Council (NEC).
I have always maintained that the office of the provincial administrator is the most powerful creature in the provincial government system.
The office is the conduit of change in SHP, therefore, a permanent PA is needed.
The appointee must be a person who can command the respect of the Southern Highlands people, including politicians.
The PA must sit at Agiru Centre and run the public service and the province. The public service structure and process must be seen to be working and in an orderly manner.
Public servants are not politicians, they must therefore serve to deliver. The CEOs must sit at their respective district headquarters and be seen to be working and controlling the public servants.
The provincial administrator, with his district administrators (CEOs), are important conduits of change.
They are not there to be joked around by politicians with their chequebooks. Signing a cheque to my mind is only a fraction of their work and is not the major work.
There are other bigger and better things to do in running the affairs of the province and the district. SHP’s civil administration has collapsed because politicians have turned the PA and CEOs into mere filling clerks. Full stop.
Politicians must now stop moving public servants around for their convenience.
If it is true that a list of three candidates has been made available by the DPM, then this must not be exhaustive.
The DPM must provide many choices and alternatives. This list should not lock out choices and options. I suggest that all five, the maximum shortlist, must be provided to the PEC, who can rank their choices from 1-5.
The PEC must not cut the numbers to three, it must submit all five to NEC in order of their ranked preferences.
NEC, as the highest employing authority, should exercise its powers to appoint from any of the five candidates. Southern Highlands is bigger than any one person.
I urge the PM to demand all five shortlisted candidates to go through the appointment vetting process until it reaches the NEC – with five maximum names as submitted by Department of Personnel Management.
In this way, the NEC, in its wisdom, can do proper due diligence checks on all five candidates before a permanent appointment is made. Over to you Mr Powi and Mr PM.