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General News of Monday, 20 July 2015

Source: GNA

‘Assemblies must open communication channels to public’

District Assemblies must create responsive and friendly communication channels that humble-looking persons could feel confident to deal with.

“There must be somebody that anybody could direct their petitions to for answers at anytime,” Dr Callistus Mahama, Head of the Local Government Service Secretariat (LGSS) has stated.

He was spelling out the terms of the Performance Contracts signed by Municipal and District Chief Executives and Co-ordinating Directors in the Volta Region in Ho.

The contracts between the respective Municipal and District Chief Executives and their Co-ordinating Directors, span from July 1 to 31.

Dr Mahama said such channels were potential instruments for winning the citizenry over as spokesmen for the Assemblies, and getting over the negative perceptions among the citizenry towards the Assemblies.

He observed that the good works by the Assemblies were lost on the people, who out of frustration, went to radio stations over issues which could be dealt with constructively by the Assemblies.

Dr Mahama also advised the Municipal and District Chief Executives to avoid “micro-managing” their Co-ordinating Directors because these were technocrats with varied expertise and experience, vital to their successes as political heads of the Assemblies.

He cautioned the MDCEs that they risked pushing their Co-ordinating Directors into the hands of third parties who could take advantage of the gap, and drive wedges between them, as the two key actors, and undermine the efficient and effective functioning of the Assemblies.

“Keep quiet when your MDCEs make slips in public, and draw their attention later in the office,” Dr Mahama advised the Co-ordinating Directors.

The contracts focused on six Key Performance Areas (KPAs).

These covered each Assembly’s top priority, based on its peculiar situation.

The others, general to all the Assemblies, are Performance Reporting, Implementation of Annual Action Plan (APP) and Financial Management, Human Resource Management, Customer Service Initiative and Work Environment Improvement Initiatives and Cross-Cutting Issues.

The 25- page document, among others, spelt out the strategic direction of the Local Government Service, top priorities of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Coordinating Directors (MMDCDs), obligations of the MMDCDs, obligations of the Metropolitan Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) to the MMDCDs, performance evaluation under the contract, rewards, sanctions and arbitration.

Ms Helen Adjoa Ntoso, Volta Regional Minister, urged signatories to the contracts to train their staff to implement the terms of the contracts, strengthen administrative structures, policies and processes necessary for implementing the contracts.

She reminded the signatories of the pressure from their “clients to improve upon service delivery by being client focused, transparent, accountable, effective, efficient, professional and responsive to the needs of society.”

“This ceremony will be an exercise in futility if things remain the same with us in our various Assemblies. All of us here represent the new face of the Public Service and…Local Government Service,” she observed.

She, therefore, exhorted the Co-ordinating Directors to take all necessary steps to elicit the support, co-operation and commitment of their staff towards achieving the bench marks set out in the contracts.