A number of government positions will be eliminated and certain public services reduced to help the Cayman Islands meet its budget goals in the coming year, according to Deputy Governor Franz Manderson.
A memo released to all government workers Monday afternoon by Mr. Manderson forecast tough times ahead, with current public sector employees having to take on more work in order to keep their jobs.
“Through 30 June, chief officers have agreed to eliminate approximately 140 of the vacancies and new positions that had been funded in the original draft of the 2012/13 budget,” the deputy governor’s Monday memo stated.
“Over the next five years the moratorium on recruitment will aim to make further reductions to our numbers by closely scrutinizing new vacancies….to assess whether such posts remain critical to our operations,” the memo continued.
The “moratorium” referred to is not absolute. A number of positions continue to be advertised by government, including for jobs such as educators. Mr. Manderson also pointed out that government was still recruiting for a new collector or customs to replace Carlon Powery who retired earlier this year.
There would be offers of “voluntary separation” from the civil service made by government in consultation with the Cayman Island Civil Service Association, but there were no specifics of that plan offered in the memo.
Deputy Governor Manderson acknowledged that over time, certain services would be affected by government austerity measures and the moratorium on hiring new positions.
“I accept that there is a need to educate the public where reduced resources will inevitably impact the scope or timeliness of existing services,” the memo read.
Rather than require civil servants to contribute a portion of their salaries to pension and health care allotments, it was agreed that a 3.2 per cent salary reduction would be given instead.
That salary allotment was restored to civil servants earlier in this budget year. Premier McKeeva Bush said at the time that government believed it to be affordable.
Certain changes to government policy that essentially require civil servants who are contracted to work after reaching age 60 to take a pay cut if they receive a pension are being discussed.
The police officers’ housing allowance will be adjusted from $450 per month to $200 per month; essentially reducing it to pre-Hurricane Ivan levels.
Civil servants that are hired from overseas will no longer receive an allowance to assist with that move, but rather will be given what amounts to a short-term loan – repayable within six months.
Please see more on this story in Wednesday’s editions of the Caymanian Compass….