Big paycheques for ‘required leave’

High-ranking civil servants not given new jobs

At least three former high-ranking
members of the Cayman Islands civil service
who held positions under the previous government have been on required leave
from their jobs for a number of months and are still receiving pay, according
to records obtained by the Caymanian Compass.

Former Education Ministry Permanent
Secretary Angela Martins, former Health Ministry Chief Officer Diane Montoya and
ex-Deputy Financial Secretary Deborah Drummond are still receiving pay at
‘Grade C’ scale – that salary level means they would normally earn between
$127,296-$147,648 per year.

According to government records
obtained through the Freedom of Information Law (2007), all three women have
been placed on ‘required leave’ by government for unspecified reasons.

The placement of the three
top-ranking civil service officers on required leave does not mean they’ve done
anything wrong.

Two of the three civil servants who
were contacted by the Caymanian Compass this week confirmed that they were
merely awaiting the decision of Deputy Governor Donovan Ebanks in placing them
in new roles within the Cayman Islands government.

Ms Martins said she had been in
discussions with Mr. Ebanks. Mrs. Drummond indicated that she was still with
the civil service, but her placement hadn’t happened as yet.  

Ms Montoya could not be reached for
comment by press time.

The positions held by each of the
three have been filled by other staffers; Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn in the
Health Ministry, Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues in the Education Ministry, and
Sonia McLaughlin as deputy financial secretary.

The appointments of Mrs. Ahearn and
Mrs. Rodrigues were announced shortly after the new government took office,
with Mrs. Ahearn named to the position on an acting basis at that time.

According to the Public Service
Management Law – the legislation that details how civil servants are hired and
fired – chief officers of ministries and portfolios can have their appointments
terminated only on the basis of gross or serious misconduct, or significant
inadequate performance over a reasonable period of time.

Chief officers can also be required
to take early retirement on medical grounds, and can be forced to retire in
certain circumstances by the head of the civil service “in order to improve the
efficiency of the civil service entity.”

As with all Cayman
Islands civil servants, any terminated workers have the right to
sufficient notice and the ability to appeal those decisions.

In this case, since none of the
civil servants fall into any of those categories, they were placed on required
leave while government officials sought new postings for them.