Government auditors are now conducting a tertiary review of overtime payments made to Department of Environmental Health staff, according to information obtained by the Cayman Compass through the Freedom of Information Law.

The first two parts of the review are finished, but Internal Audit Service Director Andy Bonner said those could not be released because of an ongoing investigation into the matter.

“Phase 1 and 2 reports cannot be released until the third and final phase is completed,” Mr. Bonner wrote in response to an open records request filed by the Compass. “This is expected to be by early September 2018.”

According to Mr. Bonner, the first two phases detail budget controls and management reporting of the overtime spending and the reasons behind the rise in overtime pay.

“[The] focus is on the highest overtime spend operation within the Department of Environmental Health, solid waste collections,” Mr. Bonner said.

The third part of the review involves “further scrutiny” of the overtime data and a review of overtime spending on other department operations, including George Town landfill operations.

Environmental and Health Minister Dwayne Seymour confirmed last month that the department was spending $100,000 per month for overtime to staff garbage collection as of late 2017.

Since the start of this year, those costs have been cut to about $25,000 per month, Mr. Seymour said, after 10 temporary staff members were brought in to assist with “mission critical” areas of the department.

“All trucks are currently operational and routes are fully staffed,” Mr. Seymour said, adding that there were some lower-than-usual levels of employee attendance due to “employee illness and vacation” at the Department of Environmental Health. “I cannot promise that these challenges will end imminently, we are doing everything in our power to provide reliable, consistent service.

“No one is more anxious than myself to see this situation improve and normalize.”

A staff dispute that occurred in fall 2017 concerning overtime pay and difficulties with operating some of the government’s garbage trucks led to persistent delays in trash collection and recommendations for the internal audit.

Sometime in late 2017, Department of Environmental Health Director Roydell Carter was placed on unspecified leave in the wake of the overtime spending concerns.

As of Thursday, he had not returned to the department and an acting director, Richard Simms, was named in his place for what government said was a six-month secondment.

Both Health Ministry chief officer Jennifer Ahearn and Acting Governor Franz Manderson have declined to respond to questions about Mr. Carter’s status, beyond a statement released late last year denying he had been suspended from the job.

1 COMMENT

  1. After the OffReg debacle I suggest that all future audits of Government and Government related departments include travel expenses as a line item, if this is not already the case. I am not suggesting that DEH sent our garbage collectors to Mumbai on training courses, but now one wonders, when it seems that in some public sector departments, the sky, literally, is the limit.

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