Christen Suckoo has been seconded to serve as the chief operating officer at the Utility Regulation and Competition Office, known as OfReg, after serving as chief officer in the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands.
Cetonya Cacho will serve as the ministry’s acting chief officer while government searches for someone to fill that post on a permanent basis.
Mr. Suckoo was appointed chief officer in October 2015. Before that, he was the deputy chief officer in that ministry, with a focus on finance, administration, and major capital projects.
In his new role at OfReg, Mr. Suckoo “will bolster key functional areas of OfReg, including budgeting, procurement and human resources,” government said in its announcement.
In addition, he will aim to enhance good governance by helping implement numerous policies adopted by central government over the last several years, including the official travel policy, the anti-fraud policy, the policy on offering or receiving hospitality, entertainment and gifts, the procurement code of conduct, and procedural guidelines for Crown estate matters, according to government.
OfReg ran nearly a $1.5 million operating deficit in its first year, and has spent at least $387,000 on travel expenses since it was created in January 2017.
The former chief officer was involved in a dispute in late 2017 and early this year, involving a situation where he hired a non-Caymanian to fill the role of ministry human resources director over two Caymanians who also applied for the job and who both scored higher during a panel interview for the position.
The Caymanian applicant who scored the highest in the interview took her case to the Civil Service Appeals Commission, which ruled there was evidence that the ministry “acted unfairly toward the [Caymanian job applicant] during the selection phase of the recruitment process.”
The commission ordered that the Caymanian applicant be offered the post as of Feb. 15, 2018, and that she receive additional compensation for pay she would have received if she had been hired for the human resources job at the date it was first awarded, in late September.
The Cayman Islands government has requested that a court conduct a judicial review on the dispute, but a hearing has not taken place.
Government stated in its announcement that while on secondment, Mr. Suckoo will remain a civil servant, with his substantive post being transferred to the Cabinet Office – the portfolio with responsibility for OfReg. However, government has not confirmed whether he will eventually return to the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands.