Gov defends “average’ satisfaction rating

PHUKET TOWN: Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi today defended his performance during his first six months as Governor CEO, from October last year to March. The Governor’s defense of his record followed the release of the results of a survey by the Rajabhat Institute Phuket of local levels of satisfaction with Gov Pongpayome’s performance. Addressing a public forum held at the Thavorn Grand Plaza Hotel this morning, the Governor complained about lack of cooperation from bureaucrats, and indicated that he was under considerable stress. “I have had only a little time to deal with a lot of tough problems. I have authority to organize public departments, but I need help from government officers, and sometimes they seem unwilling to cooperate. “I’d like to say that I’m very tired and feel stressed every day. “During my first six months as CEO, we focused on environmental and tourism problems, which are very important. But it seems that we neglected to deal with poverty.” However, he added, “We have since followed through with this, tracking the 30-baht medical scheme, the million-baht-per-village scheme and the One Village, One Product project.” He also blamed some of his problems on a shortage of manpower. He pointed out that Phang Nga – which is being used as a “control” in the CEO experiment – has 14,908 Gov officers while Phuket has only 4,615. The same is true of the police, he said, noting that Phuket has only 800 police officers for a population of around 500,000. “I have requested Bangkok to give us 300-400 additional police officers.” Addressing corruption, Gov Pongpayome said, “To know who is corrupt, we must get tip-offs from both sides – such as the police and the public, or the land department and the land owners. So the prevention of corruption needs the public’s cooperation.” The Governor stressed that he reads every letter he receives from informants, and acts on all of them. Once again criticizing the local bureaucrats, he added, “Sometimes, it seems to annoy the government officers involved, because they think some of the issues that are raised in the letters are not true. But I never ignore the letters.” Chirawat Nitnaet, President of Rajabhat Institute Phuket, which conducted the survey of Gov Pongpayome’s performance, said that the people polled included members of both the public and the bureaucracy. The survey showed a higher level of satisfaction than in Phang Nga with efforts to deal with corruption and improve government services. But Phang Nga’s governor scored higher when it came to alleviating poverty and in terms of perceived leadership ability. “However,” K. Chirawat added, “I think the result cannot be regarded as very accurate because it covers only a six-month period.”

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