Deputy governor plays by travel rules

It appears the head of the Cayman Islands civil service is adhering to the same travel policy he set out for all government workers earlier this year.  

It also seems that Deputy Governor Franz Manderson is not a big spender when it comes to overseas travel expenses, if the first report of his recent trip to the United Kingdom is any indication.  

According to the report, Mr. Manderson traveled to London for the U.K.’s heads of overseas territories meeting between Oct. 4 and Oct. 9. He spent no money on air travel, which was paid for by the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, according to the travel report. Hotel costs were also funded by the FCO, except for the first night, which Mr. Manderson paid for out of pocket.  

The deputy governor received a total of $450 for the three days he was in London for a per diem allowance.  

The 17-page travel policy for civil servants was made public in July. Government ministers and legislators have generally agreed to follow its tenets as well.  

“Individuals conducting official business or incurring travel costs at the [Cayman Islands government’s] expense are expected to exercise the same care in incurring expenses as a prudent person would in spending personal funds,” the policy notes.  

The general idea is to reduce the demand for official travel by Cayman Islands government employees through using other means, such as teleconferencing and Skype. Where official travel is required for government employees to obtain training, the government will determine whether trainers could be brought here or if certain training could be provided through the civil service college on the campus of the University College of the Cayman Islands.  

The policy does not set out specific penalties for failure to follow its directives, only that breaches of the policy will result in “disciplinary action.”  

When official travel is required, each government department must justify that need via an application for official travel form submitted to the “accountable officer” for each department, ministry or portfolio. Travel for higher-ranking officers must be approved through the deputy governor or governor.  

The policy seeks official travel expenses to be pre-paid as much as possible. In most cases, airfare, hotels, transportation and any conference fees are to be paid in advance.  

Airfares should be paid “at least 30 days in advance” to obtain the lowest airfare. The policy requires civil servants to travel on Cayman Airways, unless there are no available flights on CAL to that destination, appropriate flight times are unavailable, or if an alternate carrier’s price is at least 10 percent lower than CAL’s.  

Business class flights are allowable for senior managers and for government workers taking flights of longer than five hours, but those individuals must first submit a business case for doing so. Otherwise, workers fly in economy class.  

Ground transportation while on an official trip can be reimbursed or paid by the employee’s per diem allotment. However, government business travelers will not be reimbursed for “specialty rental vehicles” – luxury cars, sport utility vehicles, convertibles, etc.  

The per diem allowance is set at a fixed rate schedule, depending on what country the civil servant is traveling in, but it is never set higher than $150 per day. The allowance can cover meals (but not a bar tab), communication, laundry and some transportation services.  

Any expenses not pre-paid on the official trip must be reconciled within seven days of returning to the Cayman Islands. 

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Mr. Manderson
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