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Dubai’s Boss and the Empty Government Office

August 29th, 2016 · No Comments · Dubai, UAE

I love this story.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the ruler of Dubai and the UAE’s vice president, made some surprise visits to the city-state’s governmental agencies yesterday.

At one municipality office, identified by The National as the Department of Economic Development, not a soul was to be found. During working hours.

An embedded video went up with this story, showing Dubai’s ruler looking around the office, walking over to the window, picking up a book … and not finding another person in the room.

So, how did that work out for the absent office workers?

Nine of those with “director” titles, who apparently were supposed to be at their desks … were “ordered to retire” by Dubai’s ruler today.

Or, as the protocol-imbued Dubai-based Gulf News put it: Sheikh Mohammed “issued a resolution on the retirement of nine executive directors at Dubai municipality” and “expressed his appreciation of the municipality’s retired leaders and thanked them for their efforts”.

Maybe some sarcasm there?

And in a rather chilling coda, the sheikh “wished them success in their future endeavors”. When what I know of the UAE, from living there for six years, would suggest that those nine guys will have trouble finding jobs anywhere.

The director general of the Dubai media office, Mona Al Marri, told Bloomberg yesterday that (Sheikh Mohammed) “certainly wanted to send a message”.

She suggested the sheikh would go hard on executives but not on those with lesser titles.

“Timeliness starts at the top and we won’t go after the employees when their bosses aren’t there.”

Meanwhile, also on Sunday, the sheikh visited several other governmental agencies, including the airport, where executives were on the job.

The sheikh’s movements yesterday were said to “reflect Sheikh Mohammed’s keenness to allow a new generation of young leaders to shoulder the responsibility of development in the next period, bringing about new changes in compliance with the basic standards set by the Dubai government”.

One of those basic standards, clearly, is showing up to work.

The UAE, and Dubai,surely doesn’t have the worst batch of governmental employees in the world, but the country doesn’t work with German efficiency, either, despite a government job being known for good pay, light workloads and lots of time off.



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