Tomáš Elis


“ As a manager I put emphasis on high professionalism of employees. ”


ATE_9648r2MANAGER OF THE YEAR award is the most prestigious and systematically organised managerial competition in the CR. Dating back to 1993, it  brings rankings of the most outstanding and successful Czech managers. You were awarded a prize in the section Public Administration – Secretary of the year 2014.

Who nominated you for the award?

I was nominated by the Association of Secretaries of Municipal Authorities.

How do you view the result of the competition and your achievement?

I am truly humbled to have been awarded a prize in such a prestigious competition. I see the award as a result of not only 15 years of work for the town of Opava, but also a long-term support of the town management. Without a well-functioning office, my nomination would never have been possible. I therefore wish to thank all the employees at the Municipal Office in Opava.

When did you start working at the office, and how old are you?

I started working at the office on 1st November 1999. I turned 53 this year.

Can you share with our readers your three biggest achievements in the position of the town secretary?

As the secretary of the Municipal Office in Opava I was at the birth of the idea to redisclocate the state and public administration in the Statutory Town of Opava. In 2009 after a lot of hard work, especially on the part of the Statutory Town of Opava, eight subjects of state and public administration made an agreement. 200 clerks of state administration and 140 clerks of the Municipal Office in Opava moved from one workplace to another. Many offices had to undergo an extensive reconstruction. The aim was to concentrate public administration in a few premises, and to prepare a high-rise building in the centre of the town for demolition. We managed to reduce the number of seats of the Office from 9 addresses to two premises (one in the town centre and one in the seat of a former military grammar school). The buildings underwent a complete reconstruction. Today there are not only the Municipal Office, Municipal Police and the Central Registry, but also other state administration authorities (Customs Service, a workplace of the Ministry of Agriculture, and a seat of the Social Security Administration). The operation was demanding in terms of finance, logistics, and time and space coordination. We negotiated the move with several ministries, and had to restart the debates several times because of changes after elections. Our successful operation serves as a model and inspiration for similar projects in other towns. The last piece of the jigsaw puzzle nicknamed “fireball” was the demolition of the high-rise building in the centre of town, which gave way to a new development in the historical centre.

In 2007 the Municipal Office in Opava became one of the pioneers in electronic data interchange that was introduced as a part of the economic modules project.

In 2009 the Statutory Town of Opava built an evacuation centre in Krnovská street. The centre serves as emergency lodgings for our citizens in case of natural and other disasters. The premises include a doctor’s office, storeroom, and accommodation including facilities with room for 71 people. There are 229 more beds and material for 300 evacuees in the storeroom. Ours is the largest centre in the country.

It is rather difficult to choose 3 particular achievements. What I see as a complex success of my work here at the office is that we have managed to build a stabilized team of enthusiastic, hard-working, result-producing and smart people. I believe that this team is the best capital I have for my work, because only with such people can one build a modern and first-rate office. The award would not have been possible without them.

Do you follow any principles in your work?

I strive to follow several wise recommendations I had the opportunity to receive in my professional life:

  • there is always a person behind every decision – the one who makes it and the one affected by it, therefore every decision should be viewed as such,
  • a thorough preparation may take longer, but in the long run it saves both time and money,
  • opposing ideas promote understanding, not hinder it,
  • anyone can make a mistake, but then they have to acknowledge it and rectify it,
  • there is always space for improvement.

As a manager I put emphasis on high professionalism of employees, quality of their work and readiness to help the clients – citizens, as well as one another (which is why I support employees in further professional and soft skills training). I require that employees respond to the clients’ needs promptly, meet deadlines, provide quality service, and establish a friendly and agreeable rapport with the clients. I also put a lot of emphasis on loyalty of employees to their employer. I am not afraid to delegate powers and responsibilities.

What is the vision of the office?

We have been working on the image of the Municipal Office in Opava being a transparent and positive office. We want to be professional, open and friendly to our clients and citizens. We are here for the people, not the other way round.

What is your message to the citizens for the future?

We view citizens as customers we wish to serve professionally and obligingly, and we want to give them information on their level of knowledge and understanding.

We are open, transparent, trustworthy, considerate and we treat people with respect. We will be an office for everybody; we accommodate handicapped people and make efforts to minimize both physical and information barriers. We want to maximize the availability of information citizens are interested in, and make it accessible both for people and search engines. We will provide our clients with comprehensive and transparently presented information, and we will do so in a timely manner using innovative technologies that are safe for the office. We want to anticipate the clients‘ needs and communicate with them in a safe environment. In the long run we are working on a change of approach in communication with citizens by using new technologies. We are therefore grateful to citizens for any suggestions that will improve our performance.

How are you going to meet these goals?

The role of the Municipal Office in Opava is to provide public services and help the town flourish. We will provide highly professional services with a pro-client approach in an environment of mutual trust. In order to be effective, we wish to save the clients‘ as well as the clerks‘ time by dealing with requests and inquiries economically and without delays. The newly introduced methods and procedures will not put an unnecessary strain on the citizens.

If the Municipal Office in Opava is to become a trustworthy organization that offers above-standard services, we must put emphasis on the quality of services we provide, and ensure a continual professional growth of our employees.

The Municipal Office in Opava has always paid attention to safety – we wish to ensure our clients that we will always treat sensitive information with due care. The Office is fully aware of the responsibility it has for the safety culture of a public corporation, and we see it as a matter of the utmost importance.

Looking at the development of professionalism at the Municipal Office in Opava, we are striving to execute public and local administration by employing competent, trained and civic-minded clerks, who always provide clients with an optimal solution, and they do so in a friendly manner.

For this reason we are establishing a functional organizational structure that relies on competent and responsible management. The Office is forming a motivational environment for all employees, because only a good and motivated employee performs optimally. The office is trying to provide the employees with a long-term employment perspective and ensure a respectable and agreeable work environment. We are promoting a company culture of mutual trust.

We will increase the efficiency of communication and cooperation in the Office – we are promoting good practise with all the employees having access to information and being able to utilize their potential. We see the development of information technologies as an opportunity for growth, and we attach great importance to it, which is why we are building quality teams that will be able to react to the ever-changing information technology demands.

We administer the entrusted property well. We wish ensure and maintain the financial situation of the Office and town by expertly managing the financial means.

What are your hobbies?

My hobbies are history, photography, amateur theatre, travelling, reading, etc. 

What would you like to say in conclusion? 

My motto: We live in deeds, not years (as formulated by Seneca).

Give opportunities to competent and honest people.

To finish, there is one philosophical quote in which I seek solace when times are hard:

Don’t take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive anyway.