Manderson: Civil service morale ‘weakened’ from cuts

Manderson Lead

 

The Cayman Islands civil service has cut about $12 million in personnel costs during the past year, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said. 

The personnel cost cuts amount to slightly less than 5 percent of the overall core government personnel costs, which was budgeted to be $250.9 million for the financial year ending June 30. According to unaudited financial statements for 2012/2013 submitted to the Legislative Assembly last week, the total amount spent on core government personnel costs was $238.9 million. 

With increases in other areas of the central government budget, not all those savings appeared in the bottom line. However, Cayman recorded a reduction of about $10 million in operating costs during the 2012/13 financial year, figures presented to the Legislative Assembly revealed.  

The net result was a decrease in the overall size of the civil service between the 2011/12 and 2012/13 budgets, Mr. Manderson said Friday.  

“These savings and reductions in numbers were achieved while offering additional services to the public,” he said.  

Specific numbers of the civil service posts reduced were not provided Friday. The Cayman Islands overall government service grew by 90 positions between the 2010/11 and 2011/12 budget years.  

The budget cuts during the fiscal year just ended have come with a more human cost, the deputy governor said.  

“Morale has been weakened by salary cuts and other severe austerity measures,” he said.  

At the start of his term as deputy governor, Mr. Manderson proposed cutting about 360 positions in the core government service over a period of five years. Those reductions were largely to be achieved through attrition, meaning not filling posts that had been vacated. 

The salary cuts referred to are presumably a reference to the 3.2 percent cost of living pay increase first awarded to civil servants in 2008. That increase was later taken away, restored a second time and then taken away again due to financial constraints. In effect, the civil service hasn’t seen an across-the-board pay raise since 2008, although individual members have received pay increases and promotions.  

The core government service has steadily decreased over the past five years, from more than 3,800 employees at its height in 2008 to just more than 3,500 today.  

However, employment in the related statutory authorities and government-owned companies has not kept pace, according to a government human resources report completed for the 2011/12 financial year.  

Between June 30, 2011, and June 30, 2012, entire public sector jobs increased by 91 positions, according to the report. In mid-2011, there were 5,810 people employed in the entire public sector; 3,619 in the civil service/core government and 2,191 in the statutory authorities and government-owned companies.  

“Seventy-eight percent of the [91 employee] increase [came] from the statutory authorities and government-owned companies, and 22 percent [came] from core government,” according to the human resources report for 2012.  

This theme of keeping the civil service/central government in check while at the same time seeing massive growth in the other public sector entities has been repeated steadily over the past decade, the HR report shows.  

In January 2001, the civil service consisted of 4,034 employees. At that point, the government decided to split off the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority from its central government operations, dropping the central service to 3,097 workers.  

Compared to June 30, 2012, the central government service has increased 17.5 percent from 2001. The non-central government entities employed 2,262 people by June 30; significant growth over the 937 workers initially spun off from the central government service.  

That’s a 141 per cent increase in staff since 2001. 

Lemuel Hurlston 3

Mr. Hurlston
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