The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is apparently unsure about the academic qualifications and criterion required for senior positions within the organization- that of the Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO) and the Assistant Chief Elections Officer (ACEO).
This supposed uncertainty was observed in vacancy advertisements placed in the local newspapers.
Questions are being raised over the human resources policy of GECOM and motive for “watering down” the qualifications needed for two senior positions.
In new advertisements, the requirements for the Public Relations Officer were placed above those of the DCEO and ACEO.
During the month of January 2018, the Commission placed advertisements inviting suitably qualified persons to apply for the posts of DCEO, ACEO, Logistics Officer, Information Technology Manager, Public Relations Officer, Civic and Voter Education Manager, Legal Officer, and Research and Planning Officer.
All applications were to be addressed to the Chairman of GECOM. And, the deadline for applications was February 1, 2018. However, the Commission reportedly reopened the application process.
Again, advertisements were placed in the newspapers requesting persons to apply for the respective posts. The new deadline given for applications is February 17, 2018.
This time, there were adjustments to the academic qualifications and criterion required for certain positions, particularly that of the DCEO, ACEO and the PRO.
This move by the Commission has observers wondering the motive for the adjustments since the academic qualifications required for two of the most senior positions within the organization were significantly reduced. And the academic qualification for the PRO was increased.
The new advertisement states that the DCEO and ACEO are required to have:
Incidentally, the successful candidate for the position of DCEO is likely to be paid from $706,711 to $941,371. Furthermore, the DCEO has significant responsibility towards the organization.
These include preparing schedules and plans for field activities; coordinating the preparation of annual and quarterly work programmes and related budgetary estimates; and reviewing weekly, monthly and other periodic reports submitted by Managers, and coordinates the preparation of Departmental Reports for submission to the Chief Elections Officer.
Meanwhile, the successful candidate for the position of ACEO is likely to be paid between $613,783 and $847,773. The primary duties for this position include: ensuring that all field activities confirm to the relevant laws, regulations and GECOM policy, directives and guidelines; coordinating, directing and ensuring the implementation of all operational plans; and regularly monitor and evaluate the performance of the various Divisions/ Sections/ Units/ Offices within the Operations Department.
In what appears to be improper human resources practice, the qualification requirements for a junior to the DCEO and ACEO was increased.
In the first advertisement the maximum qualification required for the PRO was a degree in Public Relations, Communications or related discipline. However, the new advertisement for the PRO states that the PRO is required to have:
Ironically, the successful candidate for this position, even though being more qualified than the DCEO and ACEO would only be paid between $272,697 and $475,925. The primary duties for this post include: maintaining a good image of GECOM; establish a system of two-way internal communications; and establish and maintain links with the media.
According to officials, minimizing the academic qualifications for the two top positions was done to facilitate more applicants. However, this is an unheard of situation, according to Human Resources sources.
It was explained that requirements for senior positions within organizations are supposed to be harder to satisfy. This limits the number of applicants and attracts only persons with the requisite competence.
GECOM is the body charged with overseeing the electoral process in Guyana, including local and general elections. It had come under fire for what was described as highly questionable procurement practices during the 2015 general elections. That matter is now engaging the attention of the Commission.
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