Aguilar: Right job for the right office

Against the current

WHILE I am happy with the local government’s effort of sustaining the cleared roads they have been operating for the last few weeks as reported in today’s headline, I could not help but notice that the office being tasked to carry out such mandate is the City Legal Office. This is particularly a unique setup at least in comparison with all the LGUs I was exposed to, and I have handle quite a lot already across the archipelago.

Ordinance implementation such as road clearing is usually handled by the Administrator’s Office. I mean without even going into the official mandates of the respective offices, inherent into the name of the Administrator’s Office it is supposedly the one administering the city affairs. The Legal Office on the other hand as its name says is supposed to provide all legal services that the local government needs. Ordinance implementation is not a legal service.

Now this might be a minute issue and that in the context of Bacolod City this may not even be an issue at all, but I think it would be worth looking into for the purpose of sustainability and strengthening of the bureaucracy.

You see I do consultancy on Organizational Development. My eyes are trained to look into the organization and how it is framed. I obviously put more premium on organization than leadership. With the right structure and the appropriate processes, an organization has more chance of achieving and sustaining its desired target over and above having a very smart leader.

Leaders come and go, but organizations stay. This also explains why in my consultancy engagements with LGUs I bank more on checking the organizational framework, assessing set skills to right positions and capacitating the units, departments and divisions for them to carry out their mandated functions effectively and efficiently. A capacitated bureaucracy can run the local government smoothly and deliver all their mandated services with least supervision. In short, it would be less expensive and more efficient if the offices know their mandates and carry out their mandates well.

If a certain task of the office is transferred to the other, it would mean that the office receiving this new task will have to sacrifice some of its services to carry out the new given mandate. On such set up, the one whose mandate was taken away will under-deliver while the one receiving the new mandate will be overworked under limited resources and consequently other services may be sacrificed in the process.

Technically there is no law that would bar the existing setup and so technically as well there is nothing wrong with the setup too. In fact it could even be made into a law (it probably is already) through an ordinance for it to officially allow such unique structure. That is pretty much how free an LGU can redesign its organization. I for one when I get into an LGU as an organic senior executive I get lodged into whatever vacant post that can accommodate me in and so while in paper my mandates are pretty much attached to the office I occupy, in actual operation I and my team makes the whole machine run. In my case however, it’s always clear that it’s a temporary setup until the bureaucracy is capacitated to run on its own.

My point being is that if the issue is about skills set of certain office personnel or the confidence of the chief executive officer to certain departments to function crucial roles then it is better to reshuffle the team and assign the right people to appropriate offices so they can be more effective in carrying out the tasks instead of importing office mandates and functions. Just a thought.


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