Most want civil service cuts

Nearly half of the respondents to a
recent caycompass.com online poll think the government should reduce its
personnel costs by eliminating jobs, cutting salaries and requiring
contributions for pensions and health insurance.

Those participating in the poll
were given a choice of just choosing any one of the cost-cutting measures
alone, but 255 out of the 538 respondents (47.4 per cent) thought government
should us use all three.

“Cayman’s
civil servants are way too pampered,” said one respondent. “If the private
sector has to make cuts, why shouldn’t the public sector face the same?”

 “Insist those employed by government start working
full days,” said someone else.

“All of the
above and they should also try paying bills on time,” said another respondent
“I’m aware of one bill that incurred $8,000 in late fees!”

“But if
lay-offs are necessary, it should be the expats only,” said someone else. “The
locals should remain on the job; they have nowhere to go.”

The next
largest segment of voters, 104 people or 19.3 per cent, thought the government
should just require employee contributions for pensions and health insurance.

“I think a
gradual approach to employee contribution for health insurance and pension
would be a start,” said one person.

Another 82
respondents (15.2 per cent) thought the government should just eliminate civil
servant jobs.

“Reduce the
number of mid-level and upper-level management positions,” said one person.

“Let’s look at
redundancy of labour within the departments,” said someone else. “They all have
some that can go!”

“The
government’s excessive personnel costs are a direct result of the Public
Management and Finance Law, which decentralized the government,” said another
respondent. “Government must trim the fat in the civil service; there are too
many people getting paid big salaries for doing little and nothing.”

Only 49 people
(9.1 per cent) thought the government should only cut civil servants’ salaries.

“We need to
keep as many people employed as possible,” said one person.

“Terminate the
low performers first, then look at possible redundancies,” said another respondent.
“Keep those who are actually working and filling essential roles. If government
deals with all civil servants the same at the outset, they’ll lose the quality
of their staff. They’ll shoot themselves in the foot to do one thing across the
board for everyone without regard for who’s performing and who’s not.”

“Our company
had to cut salaries so that everyone could keep their jobs,” said someone else.
“We have adjusted; why can’t government?”

Thirty-seven
respondents (6.9 per cent) thought the government should introduce direct
taxation instead of reducing personnel costs.

“None of the
above; introduce a property tax,” said one person.

“Tax all,
except for the true Caymanian,” said someone else.

“They should
implement all the other revenue ideas that civil servants provided,” said
another respondent.

Only 11 people
(two per cent) thought the government should borrow more instead of the other options.

“Government
cannot reduce personnel costs by borrowing,” said one respondent. “It can,
however, borrow in the short term while it takes a few years to reduce costs.
This is sensible as it will not be able to reduce costs overnight. That said, I
do believe that there is a need for property tax in addition to cost reduction.
We need to have a revenue stream that is reliable and not flow and ebb with
global economic tides.”

Some
respondents made other suggestions or comments.

“Reduce hours.
Have people work in shifts,” said one person.

“The civil
service has to be cut,” said someone else. “The salaries at the top end of the
scale are too high, especially when the person is no longer working in that job
and they are still paid.”

“Have a
written test to see who is most worthy of having civil servant jobs,” said
another respondent.

“Sell/privatize
Boatswain’s Beach and Cayman Airways,” said someone else.

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