Appointment of CEOs in municipalities: why are mayors not ready to accept them?

Newly elected mayor of Brahmanbaria Sadar municipality, Nayer Kabir, speaking at the open air ceremony on Thursday, April 8, 2021 Dhaka Tribune

The government has already appointed CEOs in 11 municipalities

The government has decided to gradually appoint general managers (CEOs) in all category “A” municipalities in the country, but mayors are unwilling to accept them.

According to the plan, the CEO will be an officer of the rank of deputy secretary of the administrative cadres department.

“When a CEO is appointed, revenue generation increases and municipalities will be run smoothly following rules and regulations,” said Helal Uddin Ahmed, Principal Secretary of the Local Government Division (LGD).

However, a group of mayors have expressed reservations about appointing CEOs, as mayors will have no authority over them. These government employees will receive salaries from the government rather than the municipalities.

The Bangladesh Municipal Association (MAB) has also expressed concern over the shift in salary source from local revenue to national revenue and the reconsideration of the mayor’s jurisdiction to provide annual confidential reports (ACRs) of appointed officers.

The decision to appoint general managers in municipalities was taken following discussions with the highest level of government in accordance with the 2009 Law on Local Administration.

The government has already appointed CEOs in 11 municipalities, including Benapole, Laksam, Bhairab, Hajiganj and Chowmuhani.

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There are 194 of 328 Category “A” municipalities across the country.

Preferring to remain anonymous, one of the mayors said: “Under current law, a CEO can be appointed, but his salary will be taken from the municipalities’ own revenues and the officers will be under the mayor’s supervision.

However, with the new policy, the salary will be allocated by the ministry while the mayors will no longer give the agents’ ACRs.

“The government can appoint a CEO under existing law. We hope that it will bring mobility to the municipalities. But if they receive salaries directly from the government and mayors do not have access to their RTAs, municipalities as organizations cannot properly discharge their responsibilities, ”said Md Asraful Alam, mayor of the municipality of Benapole.

Mohammad Faruque Hossen, deputy secretary (municipal-1) of LGD, confirmed to Dhaka Tribune that mayors will not provide ACRs for CEOs.

“The salaries and other benefits of a CEO usually come from local municipal revenues. To guarantee the salaries of the appointed agents, the government has decided to provide them from national income for the time being, as the municipalities have not yet reached their own capacity, ”he added.

Criticizing recent bureaucratic developments in this regard, local government expert Prof Tofail Ahmed said: “It is not a government organization. Why is the government paying their salaries? The municipality is an institution of public representation. A certain part comes from public money apart from government aid.

He added: “Even though it is interim support, wage support should be provided by transferring it to the municipal fund.”

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According to the rules and regulations of government employees, an employee can be transferred from one organization to another under two systems: delegation and privilege. The appointed person / officer will receive a salary and other facilities such as provident funds from the organization for which the officers are appointed in both systems. In addition, the first condition is that the organization is willing to appoint the manager.

Helal Uddin Ahmed, LGD Principal Secretary, said: “The position of CEOs in municipalities is not a sudden and new decision. We will gradually appoint the CEOs while discussing with the mayors. “

At all levels of administration, public representatives and administrative agents work in parallel. “Due to a long-standing lack of practice regarding the appointment of CEOs in municipalities and the lack of knowledge of public officials, mayors believe this has been forced upon them,” he added.

However, when available, authorities appoint officers to these posts, Helal Uddin said.

“A well-trained and competent public administration official who is familiar with government rules and regulations greatly contributes to their respective position while working. However, it is delayed due to a lack of manpower and the reluctance of many agents to go to the municipalities, ”he added.

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