Editorial for December 6: Disappointed?

We have printed Portfolio of
Internal and External Affairs Chief Officer Franz Manderson’s letter to the
editor regarding our story ‘Whopping pay raises for government portfolio’ today.

We accept much of what he says, but
not everything.

The portfolio was certainly given
an opportunity to respond and could have included all of the information Mr.
Manderson has now sent via the Freedom of Information process, during which
this newspaper specifically asked “if there is any particular reason why an
employee received a salary adjustment/increment feel free to state that”. In
fact, several other departments in government who submitted their information
on salary increments for our request have included complete and thorough
explanations for every single pay rise they awarded.

Sadly, when given the opportunity
to do so, Mr. Manderson’s portfolio merely included its explanation as a one
word answer – either “promotion” or “regrading”. Let us not pretend that the
portfolio was forthcoming with all this information at the time they were asked
for it.

As far as the “heads rolling”
comment, we should restate our previously elucidated view that Mr. Manderson
remains among the best and brightest of the Cayman Islands government service.
We have praised his performance and we have not been disappointed as he
continues to climb through the ranks of the government service – even though he
is now apparently ‘disappointed’ in us for reporting the exact information his
portfolio provided. 

But this issue is not about Mr.
Manderson. This issue of salary increments is about equity and transparency.

There are many civil servants in
the government who have been forced to take on additional responsibilities
without the pay increase that typically implies. We wonder how many others are
out there who have not received such consideration and whose bosses were simply
told that there was not enough money to do so – no matter how they rearranged
or “regraded” work assignments.

We also continue to believe that
government must give an explanation to the public regarding why dozens of civil
servants have received pay rises at a time of national austerity. It is neither
unreasonable nor unfair to ask for such explanations and publish responses as
they are presented to us.

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