Sicilian Architects Federation: lack of staff in institutions, a competition like the one in 1986 is needed


Emma Potter

Concorsone Sicilia 1986, since then no maxi competition

The 1986 competition made it possible to reorganize the staff: «The winning professionals were all hired by the Civil Engineers. Then they moved to Palermo to the various departments, where the suitable ones also converged, while in the other provinces they were assigned to the various peripheral offices. By integrating the existing senior staff, the offices were given broad scope and impetus. From then on – in 37 years – no competition, only recently some calls for very few units – Amaro continues – over time the senior staff retired, including the then winners, especially in management positions. All this has led to dysfunctions in the regional administrative machine and in that of the Municipalities.

Let's witness one progressive overlapping of tasks. In addition to office work, every employee is overloaded with functions, working under pressure, with the risk of increasing the margin for error. For example, in the Civil Engineering Department in Catania, in 1989 there were 6 sections which, thanks to the restructuring of resources, became 16 operational units, all managed by managers. Today they are back to being 6 with only 3 managers, therefore reduced to a minimum, but with much more demanding quantities of activities. As in Catania, similarly it happens in the other provinces.”

FAS: a new competition is needed due to staff shortages

«In recent years, the staff has only been expanded with the regularization of category A and B columnists. And many of these carry out higher duties. But the regular implementation of practices and procedures at an organizational level suffers from a lack of skills. We need to fill the gap with a new competition, also because there is a lack of respect for technical professional qualifications: personnel who often occupy top positions it has no title to intervene on approvals, rejections and designs. It is not enough to be a manager or official to express a technical opinion on a project, nor is it possible to carry out a design just because you are a municipal or regional employee. Due to the serious shortage of staff operational units and services remain vacant who are often assigned on an interim basis.

This void also involves the assignment of roles of Rup, works director, safety coordinator to employees who throughout their career they have never dealt with public works, nor have they followed specific training courses for the activity to be carried out. Furthermore, these highly responsible positions add to the load of ordinary office activities – continues Amaro – managers and officials often carry out planning or work management activities that they could never carry out as freelancers lack of professional qualificationskills, turnover, works completed.

The scenario also highlights the serious harm to freelancers. There is an obvious one inequality between the two figures: the freelancer must have all the legal requirements to participate in a design competition, the public employee may not even have the appropriate qualification and can design the same work. Many similar events could be cited. All of this is sinking into the total collapse of the efficiency of public administrations. Perhaps, as then, politicians would need the courage to launch a new major competition. Even more, we could plan the actual simplification of the rules by making them clear and precise, without room for interpretation”.

Press release by the I Press Agency