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Jokowi unhappy with bureaucracy

Lots to improve: Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo (left) pays a surprise visit to the Papanggo subdistrict chief’s office in North Jakarta on Wednesday following local citizens’ complaints about poor public service. (Kompas.com/Fabian Januarius Kuwado)
Lots to improve: Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo (left) pays a surprise visit to the Papanggo subdistrict chief’s office in North Jakarta on Wednesday following local citizens’ complaints about poor public service. (Kompas.com/Fabian Januarius Kuwado)

The latest unannounced visit made by Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to a subdistrict office on Wednesday has brought to the attention of many that bureaucratic reform in the capital over the past year has yet to result in improved public services.

During Jokowi’s blusukan (impromptu visit) to the Menteng Atas subdistrict office in Setiabudi, South Jakarta, several residents were seen waiting for officials to open the public service counters.

Jokowi made his visit at 8:10 a.m., while the office’s working hours supposedly begin at 7:30 a.m.

“I am very disappointed. I will summon the subdistrict head [Eko Kardianto],” he said later in the day.

Such an unsatisfactory visit is not his first.

Over the past year, Jokowi has conducted a number of similar visits to various city administration offices, mostly subdistrict offices, and often found the counters unattended.

The current 267 subdistrict leaders and 44 district leaders were the first recruits of an open-call selection introduced by the governor earlier this year.

Separately on Wednesday, Deputy Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama addressed dozens of city officials attending a coordinating meeting at City Hall to improve public services.

As many as 52 city officials signed a pact stating their commitment to the improvements.

“Let’s face it, we are being dragged down by past mistakes. We have selected the best people for the subdistrict and district leadership posts, but many of their subordinates are still involved in fraudulent practices. We need to join forces and solve the problems together; otherwise, the problems will remain,” Ahok said.

He pointed out that the governor had set a public service benchmark that had to be followed by all
civil servants within the city administration.

“Pak governor wants the quality of our services to equal those in private banks. When we arrive at a bank branch, we are usually greeted and assisted by a security officer, whereas that isn’t his responsibility. That’s just one good example,” he said.

He said in future, all civil servants needed to play a larger role beyond their primary job description.

“I don’t want to hear about a resident not receiving proper assistance just because he or she didn’t meet with the ‘right’ official. Everyone at a city office should be able to assist or offer explanations to residents. It’s time to change,” Ahok said.

The city administration is mulling the introduction of night shifts for officials at local offices as one way toward improving public services.

National Ombudsman chief Danang Girindrawardana said the city administration’s performance in public services remained lackluster.

“Compliance among city offices with public service standards as stipulated in the law still stands at between 18 and 25 percent. The law stipulates, among other things, that all government offices should display at their counters the required fees and standard time frames for each service,” he said.

Danang acknowledged, however, that he appreciated the bureaucratic reform programs initiated by Jokowi and Ahok.

“They are both reformists and we are happy to support the two of them,” he said during the City Hall meeting.

He added that the Ombudsman had conducted a surreptitious assessment over the past two months on officials’ compliance with legal standards.

“I will deliver the results to Pak governor and Pak deputy governor on Dec. 8,” he said.

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