Civil service cuts, job reductions ‘inevitable’

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.

 

Budget cuts

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….

Franz Manderson

Mr Manderson
File

1 COMMENT

  1. When a business reaches this point in its economic cycle the adage is your first loss is the cheapest.

    Meaning make the tough cuts now and the long term effect will be less painfull to all stakeholders.

    Demonstrate your ability to manage in the tough times and you will garner respect and probably nearer term turn around in social economics.

  2. Agree with Stevie D – trim the considerable fat. Painful, yes, necessary, yes.

    Southernboy, I think you got the wrong word there, but jester is a word that does spring to mind when thinking of the government.

    Editor’s note: We were wondering about the jester comment too. We can change the comment, if desired by the commenter.

  3. Also, the moratorium, the vast number of teachers they are replacing are probably ones who are annoyed at the way their ‘contracts’ mean nothing. Recruitment isn’t easy or cheap, it is more cost effective to keep the best staff when they are here, not treat them in a shabby manner.

  4. Comparing Cayman’s Government budget directly to that of Anchorage, Alaska or any town in the US , UK or any large country for that matter may not be valid as those towns also enjoy the resources and expenditure of thir respective County, State Federal Governments.
    Similarly, to compare the size of a US or UK town’s police department with that of the RCIP is probably also not valid as that town will also have State police, Highway Patrol and FBI resources actively patroling or on hand to call upon.
    That does not mean that I do not think that our per capita cost of Government is excessive, I am simply saying that direct comparisons of local Government costs must be done with great care and take into account all resources available to the town or territory in question.
    So it is probably not valid to directly compare Cayman’s Governmental costs with a US or UK town, but probably valid to compare to another British Overseas Territory such as Bermuda. Even the Bahamas is probably not a good comparison as they are an archipelago of hundreds of Islands and an independant sovereign country that has to maintain a Diplomatic Corps with embassies around the world and a Defence Dept. In regards to the latter, Cayman has the resources of the UK Armed Forces to which, it must be stated, we do not financially contribute but who are ready to defend and assist when required.

  5. First people to be cut should be those who have been abusing the gas key-card system. Filling your personal vehicle with government gas is the same as stealing and employee theft should never be tolerated.

  6. Give me a break! A 3.2 percent cut in salaries! Woop-te-do guys. How much will that take off the budget? Lets see, government pays 100% of a 12% pension contribution; the private sector pays 10% equally split between the employer and employee. Government pays 100% of the health insurance costs; again the private sector splits that expense between the employer and employee. It is not unreasonable to split these expenses. At least reduce the pension contribution to 10%.
    And still no talk of reducing the civil service which is exactly what needs to be done. We need a serious cut of at least 10% in addition to these measures. Get rid of Hazard Management, Radio Cayman, and trim some serious fat in other departments. And for heavens sake, can Cayman Brac and Little Cayman start paying SOME import duty!!!! Why should the residents of Grand Cayman pay all these increases when the sister islands residents live tax free. No more free rides.
    The private sector is adsorbing these huge increases in government fees across the board. It’s time government give a little back and get realistic about their expenses and human capital. Government takes in a HUGE amnount of money for what they do. You have exhausted all revenue generating measures.Its time to manage the expenses!

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