Deputy Mayor Takele Uma assigned Commander Ahmed Mohammed to head the Addis Abeba City Administration Fire & Emergency Prevention & Rescue Authority, replacing Amanuel Redda (Com).
The new assignment, effective September 4, 2018, also brought in Tessema Negash (Com) as deputy head. It is not yet clear who Tessema is going to replace, since two other deputies, Alemayehu Fikiru and Beto Dima, are still working at the Authority.
The reshuffle was made following a recent visit by Takele to the Authority where he held discussions with employees and management, according to Nigatu Mamo, a public relations officer at the agency.
Amanuel, who has led the Authority since 2014, was relieved of his duties two weeks ago.
“I regret leaving office without finalising the installation of emergency warning sensors in the city, especially in the commercial sections where a large crowd is present,” said Amanuel.
The new incumbent, Ahmed, comes from the Federal Police Commission where he served for 23 years under different capacities.
Since assuming office, he has visited the eight substations and departments and has held different discussions with employees and managers.
“The meetings helped me to trace the major problems the Authority faces,” Ahmed told Fortune.
Issues with procurement, property and financial management, lack of benefit packages and good governance were the major concerns he heard from employees, according to Ahmed.
Established in 1934, the Authority was led by the Russian Puter Chaninov, who served until the end of the Italian occupation in 1941. Up until 1953 the heads of the agency were civilians, but that year it switched to receviting its directors from the police force.
The Authority operates with 36 fire trucks, two cranes, two fully equipped rescue vehicles and 34 ambulances.
At the beginning of the past fiscal year, the Authority, which has 1,300 employees, procured 20 fire trucks at a cost of 133 million Br. In addition, an excavator, six command cars and fire-retardant foam chemicals were procured at a cost of 16 million Br.
Accidents and incidents within Addis Abeba have reportedly been increasing. In the last fiscal year, with 408.5 million Br worth of property damage was registered due to fire, flooding, other water damage, soil erosion and various other incidents that caused 535 casualties. The rate of incidents has shown a 48pc increase from the previous fiscal year. In the same period, the Authority claims it has rescued property worth 5.8 billion Br.
“My focus will be smoothing the relationships between management and the staff to create a conducive working environment,” Ahmed said.
An expert with a half-century experience in management lauds the move of bringing in new faces.
“The city lacks good governance in all aspects, including emergency and accident response,” said Zewdie Shibre (PhD), a lecturer at Addis Abeba University.
“New appointments should have been made based on competence, commitment” he pointed out.
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