Sixteen people have been fired from the Cayman Islands civil service since January 2015, mostly due to what was termed “misconduct.”
According to the government’s Portfolio of the Civil Service, between Jan. 1, 2015 and March 1, 2016, two workers were dismissed “for inadequate performance.”
Another 14 workers were let go based on unspecified “misconduct,” which did not necessarily have to do with poor job performance, according to portfolio chief officer Gloria McField-Nixon.
The data was released amid warnings, this year and last year, by Deputy Governor Franz Manderson that poor job performance could lead to “separation” or “exit” from the civil service.
Few workers have been released from the government service because they were not doing a proper job, compared to those terminated for misconduct.
Within the past two years, however, the central government has completed performance agreements for all of its workers – about 3,600, Mr. Manderson said. This gives civil service managers a baseline against which to measure the effectiveness of an employee, he said.
If employees fail to meet stated goals, they face discipline which can include written reprimands, suspension without pay or a job transfer.
In certain cases where non-performance is egregious, Ms. McField-Nixon said, civil servants can be terminated.
“The … personnel regulations set out the procedures to be followed for terminating staff on the grounds of significant inadequate performance,” she said. “Generally speaking, the law calls for there to be evidence-based decision-making, open communication with the staff member regarding the concerns, and two opportunities for the staff member to respond to the stated concern.”
After that, the employee is given a “reasonable period” – about one month – to improve performance. If nothing changes, dismissal can occur, she said.
Mr. Manderson told civil servants in an administrative circular this week that the portfolio would produce plans this month to “deal more effectively with staff who have failed to perform their duties at a satisfactory level.”
“I expect inadequate performers to make the necessary improvements or exit the service,” he said.
The deputy governor’s intention to begin reducing the number of government workers who do not perform their jobs well was announced in February 2015 in a memo to all staff.
“Civil servants who consistently provide poor customer service will be required to separate from the civil service,” Mr. Manderson’s Feb. 13, 2015 administrative circular read. “Such persons, by association, harm the reputation of the majority of staff who do exceptional work and they harm the public’s confidence in the civil service overall.”
Mr. Manderson said it was “evident” that the civil service was “not doing enough” in the area of customer service, and he used as an example a recent poll in the Cayman Compass newspaper as evidence of customer dissatisfaction.
In the follow-up memo released this week, Mr. Manderson noted it was evident that inadequate performance by “some staff” continues in the civil service.
Representatives of the Cayman Islands Civil Service Association said this week that low-performing workers could hardly complain about the policy. Association president James Watler said as long as the policy is enforced fairly across the service, the employee group would not have a problem with it.