Provincial ministers, mayors not happy with their ranking

Elected officials say the order of precedence is ‘unfair’ considering that they drive the bureaucratic unit

Dec 18, 2018-Dispute between then chief administrative officer Chakra Pandey and Deputy Mayor Sita Neupane at the Ghorahi Sub-metropolitan City over the order of precedence resulted in Pandey leaving the local level a few months ago.

According to the order of precedence published by the Federal Home Ministry in February, the chief administrative officer ranks higher than the deputy mayor of a sub-metropolis. The first class gazetted officer who works as the chief administrative officer at the municipality ranks 19th while the deputy mayor ranks 20th.

Ghorahi Mayor Narulal Chaudhary confirmed that relations between the civil servant and the people’s representative had sourced due to the order of precedence. “There was no problem after the new chief administrative officer worked in tandem with the elected representatives ignoring the order of precedence,” Chaudhary told the Post.

Elected officials have said that the order of precedence is “unfair” considering that they drive the bureaucratic unit. “We have received several complaints of bureaucracy ignoring the instructions of the elected authority in many municipalities,” said Ashok Kumar Byanju, president of the Municipal Association of Nepal.

“Although the bureaucracy has worked in tandem with the elected leadership in many cases, the order of precedence gives the elected representatives a psychological sense of inferiority.”

On August 30, the sixth National Convention of the umbrella organisation of municipalities asked the federal government to review the order arguing that it had demoralised the chiefs and deputy chiefs of the local governments.

Rural municipalities share the same concern on the ranking. They want elected representatives of rural municipalities to have the same rank as elected representatives of municipalities.

“Since the mayor of the municipality and chairperson of a rural municipality are the leaders chosen by the people of a constituency, their recognition should not be different,” said Home Narayan Shrestha, president of the National Association of Rural Municipalities in Nepal.

The issue figured also in the recently concluded Inter-state Council meeting, where the chief ministers voiced reservations over the order of precedence. Principal secretary of the provincial government is higher in order than a state minister of the provincial government, deputy speaker of the provincial assembly and provincial lawmakers.

The principal secretary ranks 11th while the state minister and deputy speaker of the provincial assembly are placed in the 13th position. Provincial lawmakers hold the 14th spot.

“Provincial lawmakers have to go to their constituencies to observe development projects and listen to people’s concerns under the principal secretary,” said Province 1 Minister for Economic Affairs and Planning Indra Angbo. “Since this is unacceptable to provincial lawmakers, there have been no joint visits by lawmakers and the bureaucratic leadership in the provinces.”

He reported problems even when lawmakers and the principal secretary are invited to the same event. “Problem arises when the organiser has to decide whether to make the lawmaker or the principal secretary the chief guest,” the minister said.

Published: 18-12-2018 08:14

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