Letters to the Editor: Response to pay raise article

Please allow me to respond to the
article in the Thursday 2 December issue of the Caymanian Compass titled:
‘Whopping pay rises for government portfolio’ and the editorial titled “Heads
should roll”.

As the chief officer in the
Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, I am responsible for the increases
in salary referred to in the article and editorial. Regretfully, I was not contacted
by the Compass and afforded an opportunity to explain the reasons for these
increases. I am of the view that had I not been “convicted without a trial” you
would have been in the desired position of printing positive news, although I
appreciate that good news does not often sell newspapers.  Kindly allow me to now explain.

The increases in salary afforded to
staff in one of the key departments in the Portfolio involved in public safety
were the result of a strategic exercise that achieved a number of goals,
including realization of savings in the Department’s overall personnel costs.

The Department in question was
required by the Portfolio to undertake the provision of additional services
targeted at reducing serious crime which were well outside the parameters of
its original mandate and budget. However, the current financial situation required
that any solution to this issue must be achieved without increasing personnel
costs.

A decision was taken to execute a
plan to address this issue. In February 2010 the Portfolio of the Civil
Service, at the request of the Portfolio of I&EA, assessed a new job description
that effectively merged the duties and responsibilities of what were previously
two separate posts. The new post was assessed at a higher grade (N) which had a
salary range of $35,640-47,904 per annum prior to 1 July 2010. It should be
noted that all nine staff members referred to in the Freedom of Information
response are now paid on the N scale.

Shortly after the re-grading
exercise two young Caymanian trainees successfully completed their training and
were accordingly promoted to this new post on the N scale. This promotion
translated into their salary moving from $2,434 per month to $2,970 per month,
an 18 per cent adjustment in salary. Following the 3.2 per cent salary cuts in
July 2010 this was decreased to 15 per cent.

Additionally, seven officers also
received adjustments in salary between 2 per cent-12 per cent as a result of
the re-grading exercise, at a total cost of $25K in basic salary per annum. To
offset this cost, two full-time positions which were graded at a higher level
were given up, which resulted in a cost savings of $90k in basic salary per
annum.

I wish to make it clear that no
adjustments in salary were given to staff who remained in their substantive
posts.

In keeping with the Portfolio’s
strategic plan, these types of initiatives are utilized in order to prioritise
succession planning for Caymanians and promote the effective use of
resources.  At the end of this exercise
we were able to increase the services provided to the public without increasing
personnel costs. In fact, in ‘10/’11 we reduced the Department’s total budgeted
personnel costs compared to the ‘9/’10 budget year.

I hope that it is now clear that
when I authorized the increases in salary to nine of the eight hundred staff in
the Portfolio, I was not ignoring the efforts of the elected Government to
balance the budget as you stated in the editorial. I was in fact following the
mandate of the Government by providing opportunities for the professional
development of Caymanians and reducing expenditure.

You will appreciate that I am
having great difficulty understanding why you called for my “head to roll”
based on a spreadsheet of figures supplied to you in response to an FOI
request. I am most disappointed that you were able to conclude, based on this
very limited information, that the Caymanian public should be outraged at my
attempt to fulfil my obligations as a good employer and develop plans which
realize savings in the overall personnel costs of a Department in the
Portfolio.

Nevertheless, I will continue to
perform the duties expected of me by the Government and the Caymanian public
and will pray that in the future you carry out a proper investigation before
reaching a conclusion.

 

Franz Manderson

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1 COMMENT

  1. Is this letter rambling, disjointed and hard to follow because Mr Manderson is waffling to try and conceal the truth, or simply because he is not a very good communicator?

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