More than 400 JO, casuals rehired by Cebu City Hall

MORE than 400 job order (JO) and casual employees at Cebu City Hall whose contracts expired last September were given a new lease by Mayor Michael Rama.

Rama told reporters on Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, that he has decided to rehire the more than 400 JO and casual employees, with their new contracts starting Oct. 1.

“After due deliberation and all circumstances considered, I exercised the mayor’s prerogative. [They are] rehired then they will continuously be [evaluated],” said Rama.

The mayor added that the hiring and evaluation process of incoming JO and casual employees for January 2023 has already started.

During the Panaghisgot Forum hosted by the Cebu City Public Information Office on Monday, Remie Vestil Mondigo, head of the city’s Human Resource and Development Office, said that a total of 660 employees appealed for the renewal of their employment contracts.

Mondigo added that they have already processed the appointment papers of some employees who got previously renewed before Rama’s pronouncement on Monday.

After a series of appeals made by the employees to the City, the total number of workers granted with fresh contracts have already reached around 1,000, said Mondigo.

Rightsizing necessary

Mondigo also noted that the number of personnel working at City Hall has been reduced as of Sept. 30 after the City discontinued some of their programs instituted at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As of Sept. 30, 2022, City Hall had 3,433 casual employees, 1,367 permanent employees, 200 coterminous employees, 45 contractual workers, and 2,263 JOs, for a total of 7,363 employees.

Lawyer Collin Rosell, Rama’s executive secretary, said that the mayor wants to implement rightsizing of employees at City Hall to spare funds that can be used for different programs and projects in the city.

“If we can spare more resources, then we can bring more services to those who needed them. That is why we want to determine if how much (employees) do we need in order to spare our resources for the City’s projects and programs,” Rosell said in Cebuano.

But according to Rosell, there is no definite number where the City Government can tell that it has already achieved the rightsizing of employees; however, he also emphasized that the measure should also be responsive to the City’s need and ensure that the delivery of basic services won’t be hampered.

More workers over the years

Mondigo said that since 2019, the number of employees working at City Hall has ballooned after it started employing JO workers.

She said that when then Mayor Tomas Osmeña first served as city mayor in 1988, City Hall had only 3,189 casual, permanent, coterminous and contractual workers hired at a time.

The City Government did not also hire any JO employees since 1988 and only started hiring them in 2019, Mondigo added.

Mondigo’s presentation showed that the City had a total of 4,253 employees in 2018 but it then ballooned to 7,210 in 2019 due to the employment of 2,251 JOs.

She explained that some of these JO workers were assigned in the different barangays and other City Hall departments that need additional manpower.

It was in 2021, or just before then Mayor Edgardo Labella’s term ended following his death, that City Hall hired around 5,075 JO workers, considered to be largest in the city’s history. The total number of City Hall employees at that time reached 10,183.