Some employees get 18 per cent hikes
According to government payroll records obtained by the Caymanian Compass, five employees in the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs received between 12 per cent and 18 per cent salary increases since April of this year.
Four other portfolio employees received 2 per cent to 7 per cent pay hikes as the government service considered plans to cut workers’ pay across-the-board by 3.2 per cent and declined to renew the contracts of dozens of workers in attempts to balance a projected multimillion-dollar budget deficit.
A number of government department heads were also told they were not able to give deserving employees pay increases at that time because of budget austerity measures.
Six of the portfolio employees received the raises through a “regrading” of their positions, which essentially means they were placed in a different civil service pay bracket. Three of the portfolio employees got raises due to promotions, according to officials who released the information to the Compass under Cayman’s Freedom of Information Law.
All but two of the employees received pay hikes as of 1 April, 2010. A government memo announcing the 3.2 per cent pay reduction for central government workers was released on 7 May, announcing that the pay cut would take effect on 1 July.
However, on 16 May and 23 May, pay raises of 18 per cent each were given to two Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs employees for promotions.
The Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs records salary review comprised the government elections office, commissions secretariat, hazard management office, deputy governor’s office, governor’s office, emergency communications (911), the community rehabilitation department, and the legislative department. Other government departments overseen by the portfolio – the police, immigration and prisons – are responding separately to RCIPS requests for information.
Information provided by the portfolio did not specify which departments had received the pay hikes.
In a separate response provided to the Compass, the Cayman Islands governor’s office stated that none of its direct employees had received any pay increments between 1 March and 31 October – which was the period requested under the Compass open records’ request.
The governor’s office noted that four of its workers, who are not paid by the Cayman Islands government, did not have to take the 3.2 per cent pay cut. However, a spokesman for the governor stated that, due to major budget cuts in the UK, it was possible that cuts could affect salaries and staffing at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The Compass had earlier reported that eight employees in another government portfolio – the Portfolio of the Civil Service – had received pay raises of between 2.5 per cent and 10 per cent earlier in the year. Those raises all took effect 1 March, the same day Premier McKeeva Bush was announcing proposals to reduce civil service salaries between 5 per cent and 15 per cent across the board.
Following that report, the newspaper sent open records requests to all central government departments and has received responses from more than two dozen so far. Ten government departments have reported giving at least one employee a pay increase between 1 March and 31 October.
More than four dozen government employees have received a pay increase since 1 March in the 25 government departments examined by the Compass so far. Some of those pay hikes included:
A 22 per cent pay hike for one worker in a central government department.
Pay raises for 11 workers in another department that essentially served to cancel out the 3.2 per cent pay cut that took effect on 1 July.
Several pay increases that took effect in the current budget year, following the implementation of the across-the-board pay decrease.
The Compass will publish a full report on all central government departments, ministries and portfolios once it has received responses from each agency.