Business owners, disc jockeys, musicians and farmers. Taxi drivers, tour guides and tutors.
Those are just a sample of the professional roles filled by Cayman Islands civil servants, in addition to their official occupations.
In response to open records requests, the government’s ministries and portfolios provided information about 151 instances where civil servants reported having ‘private gainful employment’ and/or business interests apart from government.
In a handful of cases, those civil servants had business relationships with government through their private interests.
There is no outright ban on civil servants having outside jobs or running their own businesses. In February 2012, government chief officers asked the Portfolio of the Civil Service to draft a policy on private gainful employment that would apply uniformly to the entire public service.
According to minutes of that meeting released by the deputy governor’s office, “Civil servants who wish to engage in private gainful activity are required by the Public Service Management Law to first obtain their chief officer’s approval.”
Ministries respond to FOI
In late December, the Caymanian Compass submitted requests under the Freedom of Information Law to ministries and portfolios seeking information about public servants who declared having private gainful employment or business interests, how many public servants had a paid contract relationship with government in addition to their regular employment and the entity’s policy on private gainful employment by public servants.
The public finance branch of the Ministry of Finance was the first to respond, on 16 January. The financial services branch of the Ministry of Education, Financial Services, Training and Employment didn’t respond until 25 April, after the Compass submitted an appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
The Ministry of District Administration, Works, Land and Agriculture had the highest number of civil servants – 72 – who had declared outside employment, followed by the Ministry of Education, Training and Employment – 48. That does not necessarily mean those two ministries actually have the greatest number of civil servants with jobs on the side – just that those two ministries had the greatest number of civil servants who followed procedure and told the chief officer about their private employment or business interest.
More money, more interests
Based on the information provided, it appears that the greater a civil servant’s salary, the more likely he or she is to have outside employment or business interests. A total of 16 civil servants with salary grades from A-G declared they were engaging in private gainful activities. That’s about 11 per cent of the 144 civil servants in that salary range, according to the government’s most recent Annual HR Report, for the 2010/11 budget year.
No people with pay grades of A or B reported having private employment (judges, deputy governor, governor, attorney general, legislators, financial secretary, speaker of the house). Salary grades C-G cover job titles ranging from directors to chief officers, and carry annual wages of between $77,700 and $143,000.
Salary grades H-L cover job titles ranging from assistant directors to managers, and carry annual wages of between $42,500 and $93,500. A total of 57 civil servants in that pay range declared having private employment, or 5 per cent of the 1,246 civil servants with those pay grades.
Salary grades M-R cover job titles ranging from assistant secretaries to trainees, and carry annual wages of between $17,800 and $51,400. A total of 40 civil servants in that pay range declared having private employment, or 2 per cent of the 1,635 civil servants with those pay grades.
Hourly workers also appeared more likely to declare having private employment. A total of 38 hourly workers declared having other employment, or 6 per cent of the 594 workers paid by the hour, with wages ranging from $8.92 to $19.60 per hour.
Overall, 151 civil servants reported having outside employment, or 4 per cent of 3,619 civil servants.
Who does what
The types of outside occupations by civil servants are rather diverse. They include appliance repairs, auto mechanics, bartending, bus/limo/taxi driving, car washing, construction, DJ’ing, farming, gardening, hair salons, musicians, real estate, retail, sales, tour guides and tutoring. One postal service employee is a “financial industry board member”; one Department of Counselling Services employee is a “small batch coffee roaster”; and one Ministry of Health Administration employee has an “Internet based children’s bookstore”.
For several civil servants, the descriptions of their outside employment or private business interests are rather vague, including ‘business’, ‘family business’, ‘N/A’, ‘part-time employment’, ‘website’ and even ‘?’.
The Ministry of District Administration was the only entity with civil servants who reported having additional contract relationships with government. A total of four civil servants (all paid by the hour) said they had contracts with government for functions including baggage examiner, car wash and room rental at private residence.