ILOILO City – Mayor Jose Espinosa III ordered a review of the performance of all city government job hires.
“All city government offices are covered,” he said yesterday.
City Administrator Hernando Galvez was tasked to do the performance evaluation.
Twenty-three job hires at the Iloilo City Urban Poor Affairs Office (ICUPAO) whose contracts were not renewed recently came out with a position paper criticizing Espinosa for firing them and making it appear they were useless.
Espinosa, however, said his goal was “streamlining” and “proper accounting” of city government personnel.
“Ang redundancy tan-awon gid,” he stressed.
The review would be fair, said Espinosa, and the job hires’ political leanings won’t factor in the assessment.
Even his executive assistants were covered by the review, said the mayor.
“They should be worth the people’s money…gusto ta may gina obra ang mga tawo,” the city mayor emphasized.
Working in government is a privilege, said Espinosa, thus, “We want to see to it that government money is not wasted on (nonperforming job hires).”
Galvez started the review with the ICUPAO, an office he is temporarily heading due to the resignation of its head, Roy Firmeza, on March 15.
In their open letter, the 23 axed ICUPAO job hires denied they were good-for-nothing employees and cited as proof of their performance the annual ICUPAO reports and a consolidated report ending 2009.
“May these give a clearer picture of the truth,” they stated in Hiligaynon.
The job hires said their axing from city hall was “makahuloya” (humiliating).
Accountability at ICUPAO was wanting, said Galvez, due to the office’s lack of permanent staff.
The office had a total of 35 staff including Firmeza but only three were permanent employees; the rest were job hires, he said.
The city administrator said he was surprised that job hires were given crucial tasks that needed accountability such as determining whether a person is poor and homeless and thus may be qualified to avail himself of ICUPAO’s programs and services.
As its name indicates, ICUPAO deals with urban poor concerns, and primarily on their housing and livelihood needs.
Galvez stressed the importance of having a permanent ICUPAO staff.
“Public office is a public trust. Job hires’ contracts expire monthly and this makes their accountability tenuous,” explained Galvez.
According to the city administrator, he immediate ordered a stop to the field inspections of ICUPAO job hires.
He planned to tap survey experts to do the inventory.
Government housing projects are for deserving beneficiaries only, and these are the homeless and the underprivileged, stressed Galvez.
Galvez recommended the renewal of the contracts of eight ICUPAO job hires only.
“I believe these are enough at the moment to handle the volume of work at ICUPAO,” he said./PN