The Information and Communications Technology Authority board has demanded a greater role in the hiring and firing of employees at the regulatory authority, according to a report into allegations surrounding “questionable” hiring practices.
ICTA board chairman Dale Crighton, who compiled the report, told the Cayman Compass on Thursday that the board needs to play a greater role in such determinations, amid a debate over the role that the volunteer boards should play in the day-to-day running of the authorities.
His comments follow a report into the authority’s hiring last year of Dr. Russell Richardson and Dr. Vladimir Bulatovic, which caused controversy after it was revealed that the senior employees had signed contracts prior to their positions being advertised locally.
“It is the view of the current board that it be made abundantly clear that, being tasked with the administration of the Authority, it demands more involvement in such matters,” Mr. Crighton stated in the report.
In a letter addressed to Planning Minister Kurt Tibbetts, Mr. Crighton stated there was an “apparent lack of regard for Board involvement in the recruitment process of staff by the ICTA.”
He said while the hiring of Dr. Richardson was done correctly with an employment contract and work permit, it was not an integral part of any board meetings.
He said at no time was the board presented with any information about the hiring of Dr. Bulatovic.
“Although it was brought to the attention of the Board that the ICTA was actively seeking a replacement for that position, at no time was the Board made aware that an individual had been interviewed, hired or a contract executed,” the letter said.
Mr. Crighton said the current Board was involved in the hiring of all employees, and had the final approval in the hiring of all employees with the exception of the managing director, which was done by Cabinet.
“As with a private sector business the ICTA board is tasked with the administration of the Authority,”Mr. Crighton said,
“The board has to be involved in such process to ensure everything is done in a manner that does not compromise the Cayman Islands government, the board of directors and the public.”
The Cayman Islands auditor general’s office has previously reviewed issues surrounding appointed board interactions with management of statutory authorities and government-owned companies.
A management review letter sent by the auditor general’s office to the Cayman Islands Airport Authority board last year set out a number ways in which Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick believes that board strayed beyond its role as an oversight body.
Those concerns dealt with board members delving into the day-to-day management of the airports authority.
They included board directors participating on project evaluation committees (procurement), sitting in on interviews below senior management level and compelling the CEO to seek board approval on recruitment decisions and all spending.
Laying out how the board should be operating, the auditor wrote: “Beyond approving the operational policies for the organisation, the hiring of the chief executive officer and setting out its expectations for performance, the development of a strategic direction and the approval of an annual operational plan, the board should only be receiving reports and making decisions that are the purview of its mandate
“The separation of these key responsibilities between the board and management ensures what is known as a good corporate governance framework.”
In response to the letter, the board wrote: “Management does not agree with this observation. However, the distinction between the responsibilities of the board and those of the CEO will be clearly defined in a Board Governance Policy that has been drafted and is being reviewed by the board.”