Public Servant Matrix

Government employee, that would be anyone who is employed by any governmental entity, conducts himself as though he is a part of some controlling mechanism of authority and that he is in fact a public servant.  This is not simply attitudinal at the employee level, it is an institutional mindset that is evident in every memorandum, directive, policy and communiqué emanating from the top down.

In broad terms, a public servant must respect and protect every person’s dignity and his rights as contained in the Constitution. A member of the public (citizen) should be treated as a customer – he/she is entitled to be treated in an unbiased and impartial manner. In terms of the law any breach of the code is regarded as misconduct. If any citizen feels that a public servant has treated him/her badly or breached one of the rules of conduct he/she should be encouraged to report it to the relevant department, public entity or protection agency.

The strength of any government system lies in the extent to which it deserves and holds the respect of its citizens. This depends more than anything else on the integrity of its institutions. In the case of the Public Service, such integrity is built on conventions and practices that attach the highest importance to lawful conduct, due process, fairness, probity and professionalism.

A public service could claim to meet all of the performance targets set for it, and yet not merit respect if serious questions existed about the way it did its business, or about its regard for the rights of citizens, or about its internal control and management. Public servants, therefore, are as much servants of democracy as they are of the government of the day or their fellow citizens.

Lawful conduct, due process, fairness, probity and professionalism should be common values of our society. Unlike a good many others, we do not have to try to establish these against the currents of a strongly established contrary culture. But this also means that our citizens have naturally high expectations of their government and its institutions, and are sharp to criticize when they believe the expectations are not met.

Citizens expect departments to comply with the letter and the spirit of the law. They expect official decisions to be made fairly and impartially, public money to be spent wisely, and public assets to be used and cared for responsibly. They expect the conduct of officials to be above reasonable reproach, and official duties to be performed conscientiously and competently at all times. Where the integrity of the government system is concerned, they will accept nothing less than a full measure, and rightly so.

Unfortunately our government employees have the misimpression that they have been appointed as our betters, our superiors and rulers whose every order must be obeyed.  This is evident not only in their officious and rude behavior but also in the copious amounts of controlling regulations that we must follow when entering one of “their” facilities.  They expect that the citizens must abide law (the assumption is that the presumed or convicted criminals are being brought before the judge in chains) treat with suspicion, search and restrict them.

This lack of accountability is the result of many factors, the most major one being the total ignorance and propagandizing of the people. If we are to win this war for our freedom, an essential ingredient is going to be the transformation of the public consciousness from the attitude of serf to that of a sovereign citizen.  Any of us who have conducted ourselves as a sovereign, aware of our rights and the fact that the “authorities” who confront us are in fact our public servants, can testify that this will engender the most belligerent and often brutal behavior from said servants.

And yet we must be mindful of this fact, that any time anyone who is in fact a public servant speaks or acts, it must be constrained by the Constitution; else it is nothing more than lawlessness and brigand. When a public servant exceeds his proper authority (and I am not speaking of the authority illegally granted him by his own supervisors through some official sounding but legally hollow directive or decree), he is in fact nothing more than a lawbreaker.

Start referring to all government employees as public servants in your thinking and conversation, and see if it does not create change in your thinking.  While this alone is not going to rectify the current situation, it can be instrumental in changing the thinking and behavior of the person who can do the most to help us restore our Constitutional Republic, namely you. My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact Asif J. Mir.


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