Idled civil servants can get paid indefinitely

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Cayman Islands government officials acknowledged Friday that there is no limit to
the time former top-ranking civil service officers can be paid while they are
on required leave from their old jobs.

The Caymanian Compass first
reported that three former high-ranking government officials had been receiving
salary for months after being placed on leave from the service. According to
government records obtained by the Compass, all three are listed as being on
‘required leave’ from their former positions despite the fact that other
individuals are now holding those posts.

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, a salary level that means they would normally earn between
$127,296-$147,648 per year.

All three women were replaced in
their positions after the current government took office in May.  

Deputy Governor Donovan Ebanks said
the civil service cannot place any limits on the required leave pay period for
the three civil servants because the arrangements they now find themselves in
“were not initiated by the individuals”.

Moreover, Mr. Ebanks confirmed
there was no active placement effort under way to find new jobs for the three
idled civil service officers, even though at least two of the three have
expressed a desire to return to government work.

“There is no active and assertive
placement programme aimed at assigning them in positions,” Mr. Ebanks wrote in
an e-mail in response to questions on the matter. “We are mindful of them and
their current status.”

Deputy Governor Ebanks said the
three former high-ranking civil servants would have to be given similar paying
and similar skilled positions to the ones they held prior to being placed on
required leave, if they were to return to government.

He was not aware of any other civil
servants who are currently idled but receiving pay, other than Astley
McLaughlin – the scientist who the UK
courts determined was wrongfully fired by the Cayman
Islands government in 1999. Mr. McLaughlin has been on the public
payroll since the Privy Council’s judgment

“No agency has indicated an
interest in employing him,” Mr. Ebanks said.

Mr. McLaughlin – now listed as
making a salary between $55,128 and $74,136 per year – will have to be paid
until he reaches age 60, regardless of whether he ever finds government work
again. Age 60 is typically the mandatory retirement age for Cayman
Islands government workers.

Other Cayman
Islands civil servants are currently on leave for various reasons,
for instance, being accused of criminal wrong-doing.

However, in the case of the three
former high-ranking civil servants and Mr. McLaughlin, there is no suggestion
whatsoever that they have done anything wrong or that they are incapable of
doing their jobs.

The Cayman Islands Public Service
Management Law sets out strict guidelines for removing civil servants,
particularly chief officers, from office. The rules generally make it very
difficult to remove chief officers for any reason other than gross misconduct,
loss of mental capacity, serious illness, or significant inadequate performance
over a reasonable period of time.

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Mr. Ebanks
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