Civil servants’ attendance may be monitored

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The new government administration building, which opened last spring, has the ability to monitor and record building access for individual employees through the cards they use to enter the building.  

Since the building opened, the system has been used for this purpose already, according to the property manager. 

“Chief officers welcomed this as being particularly useful for periodic reviews and for following up on individual cases where attendance is a concern,” according to the minutes of a government managers meetings held last month.  

Richard Sanfilippo, the administration building’s facilities manager, discussed the system with chief officers and other top government officials on 20 February, according to the meeting report.  

The system is able to provide reports to chief officers listing the time an employee arrives and exits the building. More detailed reports may track an employee’s movement throughout the building at times and can be synchronised with CCTV video cameras inside the building.  

Reports on employee activity may be generated on a monthly basis, but officers agreed that reports should only be sent upon request. 

Cayman’s Civil Service Association was contacted by the Caymanian Compass, but officials there declined to comment on the issue.  

Mr. Sanfilippo said the system has been in place since the opening of the new government administration building on Elgin Avenue. However, he said its sole purpose is not just tracking government employees.  

“We’ve used it during fire drills to count heads and make sure no one’s left in the building,” he said.  

Another of many functions of the key card safety system is that it allows employees to make photocopies at any copy machine in the building, and can keep track of how many copies are being made – a potential cost-tracking service.  

“It’s not just about attendance,” he said, adding many modern office buildings in the private sector around the world have implemented such safety and security features.  

It remains unclear precisely how many central government departments, statutory authorities or government-owned companies are housed inside the government administration building.  

Several departments initially scheduled to move in, including the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Maritime Authority have not done so. Government leaders have said the building was never intended to house everyone working in the public sector.  

“There are some [departments] that would never move into that building,” Education Minister Rolston Anglin said last month, listing the Department of Counselling Services and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service as being among those.  

The government declined to move the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority into the administration building, even though the third floor of the complex was outfitted specifically for that agency.  

Premier McKeeva Bush said government felt CIMA should stay at its current Elizabethan Square location so it could be seen to maintain the office’s autonomy.  

Former Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said he saw no reason why CIMA shouldn’t be in the Government Administration Building.  

The Caymanian Compass has requested information on the number of government entities and employees who work inside the administration building, and those who work outside the building. The newspaper has also requested the locations of government entities based outside the building.  

Part of the information request included costs incurred by government entities for leasing office space, utilities and insurance. 

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The system is able to provide reports to chief officers listing the time an employee arrives and exits the building. – Photo: File
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3 COMMENTS

  1. I think check-in and check-out cannot reasonably be objected to, but am very wary of any further surveillance. It is, after all, a supervisor’s responsibility to ensure acceptable performance including timekeeping.
    Is there any suggestion that a significant number of officers are not keeping fair time/ not performing satisfactorily? Are reporting officers making this clear, and informing their juniors accordingly?

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  2. You mean to tell me that previously no one kept track as to when people were arriving for work or leaving to go home.

    I am reminded of a quote:

    A bureaucracy is an orgainization where those arriving for work late cross over with those leaving early.

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  3. longtermresident that is a great quote.

    What I do not understand is what all the fuss is about. This all about making sure that public employees give value for money.

    Back in the late 1970s when I was a civil servant we introduced flexi-time on an honour system (which is a contradiction in terms) and it was so chaotic that machines had to be installed to record staff attendance. The savings paid for the equipment in the first month. We had a brief spell when staff members tried clocking in and out for each other but instant dismissals and threats of criminal action soon solved that.

    It is now more than 40 years on and this is nothing new in the rest of the world, in fact it is just catch up time.

    The message is this – You do the hours, you get paid. You don’t do the hours, you get fired. You don’t like clocking and out, get another job.

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