After nearly five decades in the public service and contributing greatly to the national development of this country, Director of the Office of Public Sector Reform (OPSR), Michael Archer, has retired.
And, public officers at all levels, as well as representatives from The Productivity Council, the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration (CARICAD), family and friends, gathered recently at the Almond Bay Centre to bid Mr. Archer, who was visibly overcome with emotion, a happy and productive retirement.
He joined the Public Service on July 19, 1966, on the eve of this country???s Independence and served for just over 49 years.
His first assignment was at the Ministry of Education as a Clerical Officer, and from there he served in various positions throughout the public service.
Some of the posts he held included Assistant Accountant, Senior Clerk, Executive Officer, Administrative Assistant, Assistant Director, Assistant Chief Research Planning Officer, Government Printer and Director at the Office of Public Sector Reform. He worked at a number of ministries, including Education, Finance, Culture, Agriculture, and Labour.
Becoming Director of the Office of Public Sector Reform seemed to be a natural progression for a man skilled in job analysis and counselling, and well informed about what are the demotivating factors in the public service.
Armed with this knowledge, Mr. Archer developed his own leadership style. As leader of the agency for over 15 years, he sought to develop the skills of those he led. Management Development Officer, Morinda Stuart, said on presentation of a gift to her former boss:
???Staff members were always comfortable in seeking his guidance because he led by example and treated everyone in the organisation with respect and dignity.??? She recalled that Mr. Archer was a believer in ‘humanised management’ and practised what he preached.
Mr. Archer has always had a passion for public sector improvement, and as early as 1974, he compiled a synopsis of the General Orders which focused on the main areas of which new recruits needed to be aware. As the years passed and he assumed the helm of the public sector reform agency, he became very vocal about what needed to be done, and stoutly defended the work of his office.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Civil Service, Alyson Forte, recounted: ???Michael was not afraid to break protocol and engage the media on controversial matters. Sometimes, however, the outcome would not be what he would have intended.
On those occasions, he would call me and say that they had misquoted him. This, however, never deterred him from further engagement.?????Retired Permanent Secretary, Elsworth Young, also recalled that the outgoing Director???s passion for public sector improvement did not allow him to keep quiet about how committed others in the sector were about reform.
Mr. Young quipped that with Mr. Archer now retired, his e-mail inbox will not be the same, for the latter ensured that he was always well informed about his agency???s initiatives. Mr. Young contended that Mr. Archer???s intellect on entering the public service was evident as a young man, and he was one of four officers chosen to attend City University of New York to pursue a Masters in Urban Policy and Administration.
Those present were reminded by current Director, Charley Browne, that Mr. Archer was an advocate for partnerships, and, under his tenure, built alliances with the National Productivity Council, the National Initiative for Service Excellence, the Barbados Workers??? Union, CARICAD and other organisations on various projects.
The former Director of OPSR had been instrumental in the publication of the Guidelines for Administrative Officers and the Guidelines for the Orientation of Public Sector Officers. He has also assisted with the Barbados Standard Occupational Classification, with accompanying Occupational Classification Publications in areas such as the hotel industry, construction, garment manufacturing, printing, health, agriculture and the public service, while he was assigned to the Ministry of Labour.
A Job Seekers Handbook and a Job Information and Guidance Manual were also developed and produced by him. In all, he has played a pivotal role in the production of over 20 publications in the public sector. While lauding Mr. Archer???s work, Mr. Browne stressed that he has contributed greatly to Barbados??? national development through his service, and described him as a ???true patriot???.
Mr. Archer expressed thanks to his family, friends and colleagues for their support over the years, admitting that ???even though life has its challenges, we must be thankful for what we have and what we are able to achieve.???
He expressed the view that life should be kept simple and a person should know what is important. Everything, he stated, starts with the family, and suggested that people must focus on loving and caring for each other, and treating one another with respect. He concluded by saying: ???We must remain humble and above all, as public officers, treat all matters with a sense of urgency.???