Home Letters Town Clerk must be approachable with utmost integrity
It is no coincidence, accident or unfortunate circumstance that caused Georgetown, our capital and once “Garden City”, to become one of the least livable cities in the world. It is as a result of deliberate, willful, wanton and uncharitable actions by a few persons.
Since January of this year, the substantive Town Clerk was fired by the Local Government Commission after a Commission of Inquiry found him guilty of gross misconduct. The person placed to act in his stead has since been sent on administrative leave in the midst of financial documents not being produced to the Audit Office of Guyana for a forensic audit into City Hall, yet up to now neither the municipality, the Local Government Commission nor the Ministry of Communities has found it necessary to appoint a new competent and substantive Town Clerk.
In Georgetown, which still follows an archaic colonial system, the Mayor is the leader of the city council but has no greater official authority than any other council member, in fact, the Mayor’s responsibilities are primarily to preside at council meetings and to act as Head of the city for ceremonial purposes, so, therefore, the role and functions of the Town Clerk are very important as that person is responsible for managing the municipality’s budget, overseeing city personnel, making recommendations to the Mayor and other city leaders on a variety of issues, etc and as a consequence, should be filled at all times with urgency.
Of course one would expect that it would be filled by someone not only with a Masters Degree in Public Administration, but with good writing and public speaking skills, knowledge of municipal and administrative laws and procedures and an understanding of management theory and practices as well as dispute resolution procedures. The officeholder must also be someone who is trustworthy, respectful, ethical, and who has an approachable character with the utmost integrity.
But what do the authorities do? They go in-house and select someone way down the food chain of junior rank, someone who does not have the experience, the capacity, the temperament and the wherewithal and stick them in the position temporarily. It seems as though gone are the days when the position of Town Clerk was considered to be one of prestige, authority, respect and influence.
One can only hope that the Local Government Commission would look to fill the position of Town Clerk of Georgetown urgently with a proper candidate substantively.