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Editorial

Security of tenure

/ 07:29 AM June 27, 2013

By the time the collective groans of Cebu City Hall casuals who won’t be retained by the Rama administration passes, new or old workers would have come in and it would be business as usual for the rest of the year which may or may not be a good thing at all for the public.

As to be expected, the mayor made some appointments of key allies like outgoing Councilor Jose Daluz III, his campaign manager and nephew Eduardo Rama as part of his “executive circle.”

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The bigger announcement came with Rama’s decision to appoint former Cebu City mayor Alvin Garcia and former south district congressman Antonio Cuenco as consultants in key projects.

How they would wield that influence with the mayor only time will tell but while they can afford to be unemployed, longtime City Hall department chiefs like Dr. Alice Utlang of the City Veterinary Office and Felix Magno of the Department of Manpower Placement and Development won’t likely be able to do so.

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Magno in particular was one of the key officials who walked out of a closed door meeting by Rama as part of the mayor’s efforts to circle the wagons in the campaign period.

“I am too young to retire. Wa man sab koy gihmo nga binuang (I didn’t commit anything illegal). In fact our department is a performing department,” Magno said.

But thanks to a Civil Service Commission rule that assures tenure for government employees who served for at least six months, both Utlang and Magno would likely be reassigned to other less sensitive posts, perhaps even in dead-end jobs where they would at least be paid comfortable salaries for the next three years or so.

The security of tenure of government employees was acknowledged by incoming Toledo City Mayor and former senator John Henry Osmena, who planned to sack 705 casual employees but can’t do the same to tenured department heads, some of whom like the municipal treasurer are appointed by the Department of Finance.

Rama can replace a city police chief and may even secure a reappointment of Ofelia Oliva, former city treasurer but he is limited by law from firing department heads hence his appeal for them to resign.

How he would deal with the likes of Magno and Utlang will be known next week, but at the very least those two won’t have to experience the nightmare that befell former Capitol administrator Eduardo Habin who was fired by outgoing Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia but not before being given a tongue-lashing by former Capitol security consultant Byron Garcia, who had the gall but not the legal and moral authority to scold him for locking his sister out of her office.

Such is the life of tenured public servants and it’s little wonder how they manage to stay in the service long after their bosses moved out to obscurity or to other fields of interest.

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