Phuket chosen for experiment in bureaucracy
PATTAYA: Phuket is one of five provinces chosen for a one-year experiment in bureaucracy that will see them run, not by governors, but by Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) who will have much greater autonomy. At a seminar on bureaucratic reform in Pattaya over the weekend, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra proposed the idea of provincial CEOs with greater flexibility to manage local administrative affairs. Governor Pongpayome Vasaputi told the Gazette, “Phuket is ready to try out the new management approach because it has good economic potential. It also has a skilled and knowledgeable workforce, and strong local elected bodies.” The CEOs will have the final say on provincial budget management and the transfer of bureaucrats within the province. In addition, they will report direct to the Prime Minister. Under the current system, provincial governors report to the Ministry of Interior, which also dictates budget policy and decides on transfers of officials. Interior Minister Purachai Piemsomboon told the seminar that the CEOs would not necessarily be appointed from within his ministry, but might come from anywhere in the Thai Civil Service. The general consensus in the Thai bureaucracy, Purachai said, is that it is time to try out a “broader” style of provincial government. The Cabinet is expected to approve the selection of the provinces earmarked for the pilot program this month, and the experiment will begin on October 1. The names of the five CEOs are expected to be announced by the end of this month. The five provinces were chosen on the basis of income and population, or because they have problems with illegal labor and border issues that are representative of similar problems in other provinces. The other four provinces chosen are Srisaket in the Northeast, Lampang in the North, Chai Nat in Central Thailand, and Narathiwat in the South.
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