It is clear. The post of geydrung or gewog clerk in the local government is indispensable.
Following an organisational development exercise the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) found that the post of geydrung was recommended to be phased out. The RCSC reasoned that the responsibilities of geydrungs are now handled by Gewog Administrative Officers (GAOs) and accountants. The move is towards achieving a smaller and more efficient civil service.
The recommendation has met with resistance by gups both in the former and present Local Government (LG).
In the ongoing annual LG chairpersons’ conference being held in Phuentsholing, gups once again called on the government to make a decision. The gups want either the government to provide them with geydrungs or for the power to recruit them on their own.
The post was created in the 1960s, to help gups with their official correspondence. However, as it became mandatory for gups to be literate, the geydrungs then began writing for both the gup and the public. They would help citizens write applications, agreements, and file in forms, among others.
Today, the geydrung’s miscellaneous responsibilities besides writing also includes carrying out tax collections, perform the responsibilities of an administrative assistant, serve as the tshogdrung for the gewog tshogde, maintaining the census records, among others.
As per the LG rules and regulations, a GAO would be serving the same functions.
Therefore, the RCSC could be correct when it says that the two posts are a duplicate of one another. However, the duplication seems to be only on paper. Since the 1960s, the unofficial roles and responsibilities of the geydrung have evolved.
In reality, as evident by feedback from the gups, a geydrung plays an essential part in a gewog’s administration today. Besides the functions of a GAO, geydrungs are known to serve as a link between the public and the administration, for instance, when mediation is required. They are even known to officiate when the gup and mangmi aren’t in office. Perhaps, it is not only their skills as an administrator or accountant that is required. There are already some complaints that some GAOs aren’t proficient enough to write in Dzongkha.
Another reason why the gups value their geydrungs may be because the clerks are directly recruited by the gewogs, while the GAOs are picked and assigned by RCSC. This likely means that the geydrungs probably have more skills that are relevant to the administration than GAOs.
It is therefore in the interest of local governments that the geydrung post be reinstated and the recruitment process be decentralised.