CITY Administrator Floro Casas Jr. has formally resigned his post following the death of Cebu City mayor Edgardo Labella last Nov. 19, 2021.

Engineer Suzzane Ardosa, a City Hall veteran, has been tapped to replace him.

Casas is the highest-ranking official in City Hall whose employment is coterminous with that of Labella, the appointing authority who placed him in his post.

“With Mayor Edgar Labella’s passing, my coterminous appointment as city administrator also expired. It is truly an honor and privilege to have served the Cebu City Government and to have worked with competent and dedicated public servants under the administration of our beloved mayor, Edgar Colina Labella,” Casas said Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021.

Casas was Labella’s managing partner at the E.C. Labella and Partners Law Office before he was appointed as the mayor’s alter ego when Labella was elected mayor in the 2019 elections.

During his administration, Labella replaced the 33-year-old traffic light system with an intelligent traffic light system (digital and camera), provided free uniforms and school supplies to nearly 200,000 elementary students, made operational the first three floors of the new Cebu City Medical Center and allocated P1.5 billion more to complete the fourth to 10th floors of the hospital, erected the medium rise building in Barangay Lorega worth P120 million and undertook many more activities in just two years and four months.

“Daghang salamat (Many thanks), Mayor Ed, for your trust and confidence! You are the best mayor ever!” added Casas, who also thanked his fellow department heads at City Hall and all the staff he had worked with.

Mayor Michael Rama, the vice mayor who took his oath of office as mayor the day after Labella’s passing, designated engineer Suzzane Ardosa as acting city administrator to run the 27 departments and division offices at City Hall for the next seven months.

Ardosa, who held an assistant department head position at the Department of Manpower Development and Placement, has been entrusted by Rama to continue the work left by the former city administrator, with the priority being the salary of the staff.

“For the salaries of the employees, even before I was designated (acting city administrator), we already worked out with the bank the signatories. While I could not yet sign, or while we had not designated any signatories yet, we already submitted to the bank the specimen of Mayor Mike Rama’s signature,” Ardosa said.

A civil engineer, Ardosa was reassigned as the City Engineer before she was transferred to Rama’s office a year ago.

Ardosa has worked at City Hall for more than 30 years, since 1989. She was an engineering professor at the University of the Visayas College of Engineering prior to her entering government service.

Rama wants a seamless delivery of basic services to the Cebuanos during this transition in the Cebu City Government under the theme “Keeping service alive,” and for this purpose, the mayor has placed overseers acting as a “shadow cabinet” in almost all departments and offices of City Hall to enhance collaboration and cooperation.

Don’t come to work

Rama urged all coterminous employees hired by Labella not to report for work until a month-long evaluation has been completed.

“All coterminous upon the death of the appointing authority who happened to be my partner, mayor Edgardo Colina Labella, had ended by operation of law. And in addition I would not even wish so that there is no such thing as bringing hope. So I would suggest, all coterminous may not really be reporting yet,” Rama said.

The coterminous employees include the city administrator, city legal officer and those executive assistants directly hired by the Office of the Mayor.

Rey Gealon, who was Labella’s City Attorney, already resigned, however, as he had filed a certificate of candidacy last month to run for councilor in the south district in the May 2022 polls.

Last Monday, Rama had announced that all regular and casual employees of the Cebu City Government would be subjected to a one-month evaluation to determine their tenure and renewal of their contract from January to June 30, 2022.

For Labella’s appointees to coterminous positions, Rama had said their retention in the City Government would be based on the current appointing authority’s trust and confidence in them. (CTL, WITH CAL)