NRA chief: We met budget targets

The
managing director of the Cayman Islands National Roads Authority told the
Caymanian Compass Wednesday that his agency met, even exceeded, all government
budget-cutting requests this year.

  

Brian
Tomlinson said the NRA lost 22 staff members at the end of 2009, either through
attrition – the expiry of employee contracts – or through layoffs.

  

The
employee losses led to an estimated budget reduction of some 15 per cent, Mr.
Tomlinson said.

  

“It
was an excruciatingly difficult process,” Mr. Tomlinson said of the layoffs,
which affected 12 foreign workers and 10 Caymanians who were on temporary
employment contracts because they had reached the civil service’s retirement
age.

  

Mr.
Tomlinson said NRA senior staff felt the reductions were necessary considering
the government’s grim financial forecasts. The roads authority operates
separately from central government, but essentially has just one major client –
the Ministry of Works.

  

The
authority began noticing a drop off in requested work orders from about 18
months ago, he said.

  

The
managing director said comments made by Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson
that no government departments had met the budget reductions sought for the
upcoming 2009/2010 budget did not apply to the NRA.

  

Mr.
Tomlinson said he had not seen the e-mail sent Tuesday evening from the
financial secretary’s office to civil service chief officers and said he did
not attend a Wednesday budget meeting with elected lawmakers.

  

It
was unclear if Mr. Jefferson’s comments in Tuesday’s memo about government
agencies failing to meet budget reduction targets were only related to central
government, or if they included statutory authorities – like the NRA – and
government-owned companies.

  

We’ll
have more on this story in Friday’s editions of the Caymanian Compass….

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