COA questions work overlaps

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014


CEBU - State auditors called the attention of Talisay City Mayor Johnny V. de los Reyes after they found that five offices he created duplicated the functions of other City Hall departments.

“The duplication/overlapping of functions performed by regular and job-order employees on the same transactions resulted to longer processing time, the possible loss of documents, conflicts in office, as well as waste of man hours and money,” said State Auditor Ma. Daisy Bercede.

The Commission on Audit (COA) recommended that the City review the duties and responsibilities of regular and job-order employees to avoid duplication or overlapping.

The COA, in a three-page audit observation memorandum dated April 7, 2014, mentioned the offices of the Project Monitoring Team, Job Order Monitoring Team, the Flying Squad Task Force Patrol, the Indigent Pharmacy, the Text to the Mayor and the Mayor’s Task Force (MTF).

It said that these overlapped with or duplicated the work assigned to the City Engineer’s Office, Civil Security Unit (CSU), the City of Talisay Traffic Operations and Development Authority (CT-TODA), the City Health Office and the Talisay Rescue and Emergency Assistance Team (TREAT).

But the mayor’s son, Talisay City Administrator John Yre de los Reyes, denied that the offices formed by his father were duplications of existing City Hall offices.

In the memorandum, Bercede revealed that state auditors found several discrepancies upon reviewing the functions of the five offices.

She noted that both the City Engineer’s Office and the city mayor’s Project Monitoring Team (PMT) receive applications for building, fencing and electrical permits and certificate of occupancy; review applications and their pertinent documents; and conduct inspections.

According to the Citizen’s Charter of Talisay City, the processing time for such applications usually takes five hours from the time the client submits requirements.

But under the present set-up, processing time for applications takes more than a week, as inspections are conducted and the documents reviewed by the two offices.

Attendance

The PMT, which is led by the city mayor’s son JVR Jr., is composed of six to seven job-order personnel.

Bercede also noted the same problem between the city’s CSU and Mayor De los Reyes’s Job Order Monitoring Team (JOMT).

Both offices have the same functions, which are to monitor the attendance of employees and to check if City Hall workers are actually reporting to work.

Bercede said that while she appreciates the effort exerted by the JOMT in validating the attendance of job-order employees in City Hall, it needs to coordinate with the CSU to avoid duplicating their work.

She also advised the CSU to do their duties by checking the attendance of regular employees while the JOMT takes charge of monitoring job-order employees.

The JOMT, which is led by regular employee Joy Eligin, has eight to 10 job-order workers.

Bercede also questioned of the presence of the mayor’s Flying Squad Task Force Patrol, although the city has the CT-TODA.

After examining their accomplishment reports, Bercede found that job-order employees composing the Flying Squad Task Force Patrol and the CT-TODA performed similar functions. These included assisting the Department of Public Works and Highways in clearing the Natalio Bacalso Highway and the Cebu South Coastal Road (CSCR) of parked vehicles.

Different heads

Both offices also stated that they assist the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in clearing sidewalk vendors and enforcing traffic laws.

Bercede also noted that aside from the two groups, there are also job-order workers assigned to the mayor’s Anti-Sidewalk Vendors Task Force, who also duplicate another office’s functions.

The CT-TODA is headed by Vice Mayor Romeo Villarante while the Flying Squad Task Force Patrol is headed by the mayor’s appointee, Joel Salazar, and is composed of 28 personnel.

Bercede also found duplications with the City Health Office and that of De los Reyes’s Indigent Pharmacy.

She noted that while the City Health Office and the city’s three rural health units give medicine, whenever they run out of stock, their patients are referred to the Indigent Pharmacy.

The Indigent Pharmacy is led by De los Reyes’s daughter and city consultant Johnson Joy De los Reyes-Pagusan, and is manned by five job-order workers.

Works 24/7

Bercede also saw the same problem within the Text to the Mayor (TTM) unit and TREAT.

She said that while the main function of job-order employees assigned to TTM is to receive and reply to text messages or calls from Talisay residents, they also respond to emergencies by going to the actual site, which duplicates functions of TREAT.

Like TREAT, TTM operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Bercede recommended that the City Government limit the creation of offices or groups with functions that are distinct from regular functions of various departments “to ensure that funds are used economically and efficiently.”

But the Talisay City administrator denied there was duplication in the five offices’ functions.

In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu yesterday, the younger De los Reyes said that his father created the five offices to complement the existing departments.

He said the TTM is the same as that of the 911 system in the United States, where citizens can report different kinds of incidents.

Monitoring

He also defended the creation of the City’s Flying Squad Task Force Patrol and denied that this duplicated the CT-TODA’s functions.

De los Reyes said that the Flying Squad Task Force Patrol handles not only traffic enforcement, but also serves as “force multipliers” during demolitions and fires. They are also authorized by his father to arrest violators of environmental regulations in the city.

He added that members of the Flying Squad Task Force Patrol are deputized by the LTO.

The younger De los Reyes also advised the City Health Office and the three regional health units to not give free medicines to the city’s constituents, as that task has been given to the Indigent Pharmacy.

As to the PMT, he said it was created to monitor the activities of different agencies, including the City Engineering Office. The city administrator said that through the PMT, the City has prevented allegedly anomalous transactions in some City Hall departments. (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 06, 2014.

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