A hiring “moratorium” that a number of government managers complained was slowing efforts to fill civil service job vacancies for the last 10 years has ended.

Since 2008, all requests for new hires in government had been required to go to a two-member “moratorium committee,” presided over by Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, who would ultimately decide whether there was sufficient funding for the position.

Requests that previously had to go before the committee included filling any new or currently vacant government post, the renewal of a non-Caymanian employee’s government contract, or the contract arrangements for a Caymanian who reached the mandatory retirement age but who the department wanted to keep in that job.

Committee’s role shrunk

Gloria McField-Nixon, chief officer of the Portfolio of the Civil Service, said Tuesday that the committee’s role since April had shrunk significantly. “Normal hiring,” she said, is done by the various ministry chief officers or department heads responsible. Those requests no longer need to go to the committee, she said.

“Exceptional hiring” cases, where a post is filled without public advertisement, for example, still have to go to the committee, which consists of Mr. Manderson and a representative from the portfolio.

“The deputy governor decides such matters and the portfolio gives policy advice on the [job] applications,” Ms. McField-Nixon said.

The moratorium committee was formed at a time when the civil service had grown to about 3,800 employees and was widely viewed as overstaffed. Government employment records show civil service jobs dipped to a low of about 3,500 after the hiring moratorium was put in place, but had grown to about 3,600 as of last year.

By 2015, numerous complaints were being voiced about “bureaucratic delays” which had stymied the hiring of necessary personnel, leading to vacancies in the police and fire services, among others, and leaving several leadership posts unfilled.

East End MLA Arden McLean in 2015 compared Cayman’s government to Hollywood, given that so many people in civil service starring roles were “acting.”

Growing civil service

In 2016, for the first time in a number of years, the growth in the central civil service outpaced employee growth in the outside authorities and companies, which are managed by independently appointed boards rather than directly under ministries or portfolios.

Central civil service hires increased by 116 employees compared to 2015, pushing the total staff to 3,600.

Job numbers for the central government do not represent the full picture of Cayman Islands public sector employment.

Nearly 6,000 people worked in the Cayman Islands public sector during 2016, according to figures produced by the government.

The 5,961 public service employees counted as of June 2016, as well as the related statutory authorities and government-owned companies, represent about a 3 percent increase in government staff from 2015.

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