Idled bigwigs paid four years salary
There will be virtually no change at the top for the Cayman Islands Civil Service at the start of the People’s Progressive Movement-led government, Premier Alden McLaughlin announced last week.
However, a few civil service employees will be departing with the advent of the new administration and a couple of others’ futures remain unresolved.
According to Mr. McLaughlin, the only significant personnel change among the seven government ministries will be that former Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs chief officer Eric Bush will now be the chief of the newly-created Home Affairs Ministry; for all practical purposes it’s the same job.
Ken Jefferson will remain as the government’s financial secretary, working with new Finance Minister Marco Archer, whose chief officer, Sonia McLaughlin, also remains unchanged.
Other chief officers remaining in their posts include community affairs’ Dorine Whittaker; tourism’s Stran Bodden, who adds district administration and transportation to his areas of responsibilities; Dax Basdeo, who remains chief officer for the financial services and commerce ministry; Jennifer Ahearn, who stays on with the health ministry; Works and Infrastructure Ministry chief officer Alan Jones, who adds planning and housing; and Mary Rodrigues, who will remain as chief officer for the education and employment ministry.
A few senior civil servants will not retain their posts. Mr. McLaughlin said Leonard Dilbert, the chief of staff in the premier’s office, will not continue in that job.
“I have taken a decision not to continue with that post,” the premier said, adding that he was still trying to determine precisely what to do with the premier’s office. In addition to Mr. Dilbert, former press secretary for the premier, Charles Glidden, acknowledged that his contract had ended as of 1 June. Mr. McLaughlin said he had not yet appointed a press secretary for the premier’s office.
“I don’t even have a regular secretary yet,” he said.
Premier McLaughlin said a “rationalisation” exercise undertaken by the civil service management prior to the new government taking office was helpful in getting the various ministries organised.
“That makes life easier for a lot of people, not least of which are the chief officers,” Mr. McLaughlin said.
‘Chief officers’ remain
There are at least two other civil service chief officers who remain on full pay despite their removal from their jobs in 2009, at the start of the previous United Democratic Party administration.
At the time, it was reported that at least three former high-ranking members of the Cayman Islands civil service, who held positions under the PPM government between 2005 and 2009, were on “required leave” from their jobs and were still receiving pay.
Former Education Ministry Permanent Secretary Angela Martins, former Health Ministry Chief Officer Diane Montoya and ex-Deputy Financial Secretary Deborah Drummond are still receiving pay at “Grade C” scale – that salary level means they would normally earn between $127,296 and $147,648 per year.
Ms Martins has since retired from government, but the other two are still receiving pay, Mr. McLaughlin said.
“Those are issues that we obviously want to look at,” the premier said.
Cayman Islands government officials previously acknowledged that there is no limit to the time former top-ranking civil service officers can be paid while they are on required leave from their old jobs.
Former Deputy Governor Donovan Ebanks said in 2010 that the civil service cannot place any limits on the required leave pay period for the civil servants because the arrangements they now find themselves in “were not initiated by the individuals”.
Moreover, Mr. Ebanks confirmed at the time that there was no active placement effort under way to find new jobs for the idled civil service officers, even though at least two of the three have expressed a desire to return to government work.
The former high-ranking civil servants under the Public Service Management Law would have to be given similar pay and similar skilled positions to the ones they held prior to being placed on required leave, if they were to return to government.
Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said Wednesday he hoped to have a resolution to the situation with Ms Drummond and Ms Montoya in the near term.
“My office is in active discussions with their attorney and we hope to have the matter resolved in the very short term,” Mr. Manderson said. “I wish to express my sincere thanks to both Ms Montoya and Ms Drummond for their professional approach to this most difficult situation.”