From the port boss who receives just $150 per meeting to the utilities director who is paid more than $50,000-a-year, an auditor general’s investigation found vast disparity in the pay handed out to the men and women appointed to the boards of some of the Cayman Islands’ most important institutions.
The auditor’s report examined pay and benefits to the boards of directors of Cayman’s 24 government companies and statutory authorities.
While many are paid small stipends of between $150-$200 a meeting for volunteering their services, some receive a significant annual income.
Linford Pierson, the chairman of the board of the directors of utilities regulator OfReg, for example, is paid $54,000 a year.
Cayman Airways board chairman Philip Rankin, by contrast, is not paid for his services, though he and other board members receive free flights for themselves and their families on the national airline. During the 18-month budget period under review, ending Dec. 31, 2017, the seven board members were given a total of 416 airline tickets – an average of around 60 tickets each – worth a total of $80,000.
Port Authority board chairman Errol Bush is among several high-profile board chairmen who simply receive $150 per meeting.
Aside from OfReg, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority directors are the only board members to receive significant remuneration. The CIMA board chairman, a position now filled by former government minister Wayne Panton, attracts a stipend of $4,000 a month, according to the report.
Some board members, including those on the Children and Youth Services Foundation and the Tourism Attraction Board, opted not to receive any compensation.
The roles and responsibilities of boards of directors vary, but typically require attending regular meetings, setting broad policy goals and hiring and firing the CEO, who is responsible for the day-to-day management of the company or authority. Board positions are not full-time roles, and most board members have other jobs or are retired.
The report says that the 24 Statutory Authorities and Government Companies reviewed had a total of 99 board members who were paid a total of $788,000 in the 18-month budget period.
OfReg, which began operating in May 2017, was responsible for $113,000 of that expenditure across those eight months. CIMA’s board members were paid a total of $233,000 over the 18-month budget period.
Auditor General Sue Winspear said the investigation was a “public interest report” and was for information purposes only. As such, she makes no comment or recommendations in relation to board remuneration or on the reasons for the inconsistency across the various entities.
Summarizing the reports findings, she said, “Compensation for board members varies across SAGCs with some providing their services for free while others are paid up to $4,500 a month. Where board members are compensated, the basis differs across SAGCs with some board members paid a monthly sum while others are paid for each meeting attended.”
The report also looked at staff numbers and wage trends across the sector, analyzing budget figures for the 18-month period through the end of December 2017.
The report states at that time there were 2,743 employees across all statutory authorities and government companies – comprising 40 percent of the entire public sector. They were paid $249 million in remuneration for the 18-month period.
A total of 154 key management personnel were paid around $23.5 million.
The eight largest entities – Cayman Airways, the Cayman Airports Authority, Cayman Islands Monetary Association, the Health Services Authority, the National Roads Authority, the Port Authority, the Cayman Turtle Centre and the Water Authority – are responsible for the bulk of those employees and associated costs.
The Health Services Authority had both the largest number of staff, 851, and the largest wage bill.
Of the larger entities, Port Authority staff had the highest average wages at $6,673 a month for rank-and-file staff. The Health Services Authority had the highest average salary for key personnel at $13,434 a month.
For the medium-sized companies and authorities, Civil Aviation Authority staff were the highest paid at $119,000 a year for regular staff and $185,500 for key personnel. The average salary for OfReg staff, the report states, is just under $100,000 a year, with key staff paid $114,000 per annum.
The Cayman Islands National Insurance Company showed the biggest differential in pay between key staff and rank-and-file employees. Key personnel are paid $12,473 per month, compared with $5,384 for regular workers.
“The remuneration paid to key management personnel varies significantly across the SAGCs,” Ms. Winspear said in the report. “There is currently no standardised job evaluation system or salary and allowances scale for SAGCs. The Public Authorities Law intends to deliver a standardised pay system, but the implementation date for this particular clause in the law has been pushed back to June 2019.”