Civil service cuts signalled

| 29/06/2009

(CNS): Although no specific policy statement was offered that the civilservice may be facing personnel cuts under the new administration, speaking in the Legislative Assembly on Friday Deputy Leader of the new government, Rolston Anglin, made it very clear that he believed the civil service had burgeoned under the previous administration and there were too many unnecessary posts. Lamenting the increase in senior staff as a result of the introduction of the PMFL, he said that law needed to be reviewed .

Criticising the Public Management and Finance Law, which he said was not working and had been demonstrated in other jurisdictions to be unsuitable for small island governments, Anglin said that the law’s introduction had ushered in more levels of public servant management and doubling up of jobs.

“Add up the salaries of human resource staff only and you will see,” he noted, adding that in his own new ministry not only did he have a significant number of human resource personnel but the same jobs were duplicated in the Department of Education. Anglin said he had around 30 people in his ministry alone, which was too many, and even expressed his surprise at having a head of graphics in his ministry as well.

While Anglin did not directly state that the new government intended to cut civil servants, he said that the government would be tightening its belt and criticised the previous administration for allowing the burgeoning of the service.  He said that the PMFL had created excessive positions and his government intended to drill down and make serious cuts in the civil service bill. He said it would have to be considerably more that the 6% cut which the previous administration had called for.

Earlier in the debate, opposition member Alden McLaughlin had pointed out that with the global recession biting into government revenue all future governments would face the challenge of managing the government’s biggest expenditure, which was the civil service.

“We are extremely vulnerable as a country with a narrow tax base based on tourism and the financial services,” he said, pointing out that government had little control over the principle sources of its income because it was tied to the state of the world economy.  He said that if the new government, as it had said during the election campaign, was not going to introduce any new revenue streams then it would have to cut public spending. He lamented that fact that although his government had requested statutory authorities, government companies and departments to reduce their expenditure when the recession began affecting government revenue, it was “a monumental failure”.

He said the service failed to make cuts and even continued hiring despite the government’s request to freeze recruitment. He said the civil service had told the elected government that it could not reduce its expenditure because of fixed costs. McLaughlin said given the expected reduced earnings again in 2009/10, the new government would have to give serious consideration to what it would do about public services.

Anglin noted McLaughlin’s comments and said that he had accused the UDP of not caring about civil service, but there he was saying the new government would have to reduce services. He said he was well aware of the plethora of services for the size of the country.  He said there was a need to take stock and look at efficiency, the duplication of jobs and the number of services being provided.

During the election campaign, however, the UDP said it would not cut public servant jobs but would seek to make efficiencies within the service that could reduce costs.

Anglin and the other members will continue the budget debate when the Legislative Assembly resumes on Monday morning.

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Comments (29)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The Minister needs to check the cost of bringing all those so called experts to fill all the higher management positions, when we have people more than qualified to hold these jobs. The ministries brought in these people and as usual we in the service had to train them to do the jobs they were  hired for… The majority have not brought anything new to the table except high wages and a disrespect to all of who have to work under their so called leadership…..

  2. Fed-UP CAYMANIAN says:

    CNS have you fallen asleep at the wheel? SMILE……I posted on here at 4 PM and dont see it yet.

    Just checking on you guys.

    CNS: Thanks! Just busy

  3. Fed-UP CAYMANIAN says:

    Mr. Anglin has struck a nerve somewhere hasnt he. But he is correct in that the Ministry that he now leads is over burden with employees abd beauracracy. And the sad part- well over 75% of these individuals are EXPAT. Now this may seem like an expat -vs- Caymanian thread but this is far from the truth. The truth is that Angela Martins did not want Caymanians employed with her as she knew that she could not do to the Caymanians what she has done with the expats and make them her little puppets. Can A. Martins name 10 Caymanians that she gave a chance to while she was the CO in that Ministry.

    I say go UDP- I am sick and tired of the PPM rhetoric. Clean up the employees and cut ‘presenteeism’. Thats a HR reference maining that staff are at work, but not working.

    And while your cleaning up, PLEASE do something with the beauracracy and red tape in the Labour Office and put persons in charge who cares about Cayman and not themselves. The policies and procedures of that office is nothing short of a dictatorship wherein employers are held to the ransome of that office. I have a good friend who owns a business and from March 2009 he registered one job with the office and as of today’s date he has gotten 3 referrals yet they fail to issue him with the necessary paperwork to allow him to hire a suitably qualified expat as he CANNOT find employees who can do the work he requires locally. It seems that this office is in-directly attempting to force businesses to close.

    UDP- all the best for a successful 4 year tenure. You are on the right track so dont let the detractors allow you to become dis-illusioned.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Like virtually every other story on the Cayman New Service this has eventually descended into the "get rid of foreigners" "up with the wonderful Caymanians" argument.  You all sound like a load of broken records – can’t you find some other reason for the source of allthe problems on this island.  Like for instance someone (Caymanian Expat or Martian) hasn’t done his or her job, someone has taken a backhander, a failure in good governance and accountability procedures or any number of a host of reasons why things don’t work work.  It would be so refreshing to see.  As someone who has experience of working the the CI gov I would say that a review of procedures would show a lot of inefficiency and if those inefficiencies were reduced then there would be a need for less employees.  This requires accountability and people in management who manage and are not afraid to enforce against poor performance.  There is far too much saving face going on instead of cold hard facts and enforcement of performance indicators.  If you don’t do something in the time frame expected then you should be warned – do it again and job gone – Caymanian or Expat.  Its simple.

    • Anonymous says:

      "Like virtually" at 12:20 is spot on. There is hardly any accountability enforced in the civil service as managers are unwilling to hold their Caymanian brothers and sisters hands to the fire. If a foreigner is the problem, they can be got rid off by non renewal of contract. The situation with Caymanians is very different (and perhaps understandably so though it is deadly for good or even adequate performance).

      A classic example is Mr Jefferson’s (the FS) situation right now. In the private sector, someone like him, embarrassed by the total incompetence of those reporting to him and supposedly providing him with the figures he needs, would have burned their a–es.(if he himself had not been summarily fired first). The other example is the failure of chief officers to produce accounts on time (for muli-miilion dollar ministries spending the public’s funds for Heaven’s sake!). What happens to them and their CFOs? Nothing. instead the blame is put on this law or that system or whatever. Laws and systems are "mechanisms" or "tools". They require people to work them. And that’s our undoing. When the people do nothing, nothing is done to the people.

      Just try that at Walkers or CUC or Maples or KPMG or Ernst and Young or Applebeys or Deloitte or etc etc.

  5. noname says:

    I thought they were about creating jobs..if i recall they campaigned about doing so… at least PPM kept ppl employed.. What are we going to do with more unemployed Caymanians? Is this really a benefit? If they do so…I say start with the ppl on work permits! Let’s have a roll over policy that permits Gov. Workers to be rolled over and rolled outta here!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sack MLAs

    Oh yes and while we are at it do we need 18 representatives on high salaries to represent less than 20,000 (Caymanian population) !! – Makam

    Indeed. In the UK each MP represents between 20,000 and 100,000 people. It is true that this would not scale down to Cayman. However, an assembly of about 5 members would be far more appropriate.

    • Anonymous says:

      "Indeed. In the UK each MP represents between 20,000 and 100,000 people. It is true that this would not scale down to Cayman. However, an assembly of about 5 members would be far more appropriate".

      That is very simplistic thinking. Because the UK population is tens of millions one MP for between 20,000 and 100,000 permits sufficient representatives to conduct the business of the country. What you seem to forget is that notwithstanding that Cayman is an overseas territory it functions as a country in most respects. The scope of responsibilities for each Cabinet Minister very large. That fact alone necessitates the increase in the number of MLAs so that the number of Ministers can be increased. 

      In terms of the requirements of governance Bermuda is a comparable jurisdiction and has 36 members in its House of Assembly plus a Senate of 11 members.         

      • Anonymous says:

        In terms of the requirements of governance Bermuda is a comparable jurisdiction and has 36 members in its House of Assembly plus a Senate of 11 members

        And the population of Bermuda is?


        • Anonymous says:

          "And the population of Bermuda is?"

          Approximately 68,000. Number of voters is about 33,000. I think that emphatically makes my point.

          • Anonymous says:

            "Like virtually every other story on the Cayman New Service this has eventually descended into the "get rid of foreigners" "up with the wonderful Caymanians" argument."

            Huh?. I have read and posted on this thread and didn’t see that. It seemed to be wide-ranging discussion.  

            • Anonymous says:

              To the person who couldn’t find the references to the expat vs Cayman arguments – you obviously haven’t read the threads – here they are:

              "I have to agree 100% with the previous comments that we have senior civil servants responsible for hiring, whom continue to employ overseas workers who arrive to our shores having been rejects from their own country of origin, bringing along their cats, dogs, spouses and children, thereby causing additional strain on our very fragile infastructure to include schools, health care etc."

              "Let’s have a roll over policy that permits Gov. Workers to be rolled over and rolled outta here!"

              Perhaps a little subtle for the poster who said he could not find the references referred to in my post of "Like Virtually" etc

              • Anonymous says:

                To: Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 06/30/2009 – 14:02.

                I have read the threads, but it is a stretch to suggest that this is what this one came down to. Many issues were discussed. You just focussed on a couple of comments and that coloured your entire perspective. Only goes to show that you see what you expect to see.

  7. Makam says:

    Oh yes and while we are at it do we need 18 representatives on high salaries to represent less than 20,000 (Caymanian population) !!

    The deputy (who created that post?) LoGB seems to think so!!

    Kind of mixed signal don’t you think?


  8. Joe says:

    I do not agree or like UDP Government espically they way like they quick to jump and do things. However this is how they repay their constituents and voters everytime they tend to stab you in the back, just like the Status Grants and other things.  As the old saying goes "tha wha una get" 

    I do agree it is time to cut some of the dead weight in Government.  We got soem geriatics up in here that has just got to go.

    This maybe the one of the best things the UDP will do.

  9. Caymanian to the bone says:

    No doubt, the Cayman Islands Civil Service is way too "top heavy" having re-employed numerous retired Caymanian employees on contract. Most if not all of these same individuals, are taking up space and preventing subordinate staff from upward mobility. Additionally, these same contracted officers either spend most of their "out of retirement leave" either on sick leave or have to be on leave to tend to their ailing spouses and other aging family members.

    I have to agree 100% with the previous comments that we have senior civil servants responsible for hiring, whom continue to employ overseas workers who arrive to our shores having been rejects from their own country of origin, bringing along their cats, dogs, spouses and children, thereby causing additional strain on our very fragile infastructure to include schools, health care etc.

    Additionally, they are given government vehicles to travel home in, to pick up their kids from government schools in, to go grocery shopping in, to take their pets for to their every Saturday visit to see "pet friends" at the Humane Society in, attend the cocktails parties at Government House in, and the list goes on and on and on.

    I applaud the Honourable Rolston Anglin for taking this stand to reduce "large government" and it will no doubt be argued by the same "old dead wood civil servants", that the younger employees are too lazy and good for nothing. That maybe true to a certain extent, but take away the environment of dead wood, constant sick leave, low morale and irresponsibility which seems to be very contagious to their subordinate staff, and you will then see younger civil servants stepping up to the plate and being held accountable in their respective positions.

    I cannot understand why someone whom have spent the last 35-40 years as a civil servant in a particular department or position, having been given a large retirement "lump sum" and receiving a montly pension, would want to continueor be allowed to continue to work into the same position of the said department. Where is the Succession Planning I might ask ???

    Retiree’s you should be at home enjoying the rest of your "Golden Years" before God takes you. However, if you want to continue to work and is capable of doing so, then take your "lump sum" and open your own small business to provide jobs and stimulate the economy or volunteer to help some of the charitable organizations in the Cayman Islands such as the Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis etc. Other than that, sit back, relax in your hammock between your two favourite coconut trees or sit in your rocking chair on your front/back porch and cheerish your grand kids in your lap.

    The whole problem with the Cayman Islands Government Civil Service as with others civil servants and governments around the world,  is that it’s not operated as a business. Plain and simple !!!!!

    Wastage, wastage and more wastage, thats how Governments runs and until it stops, we will always be in the "red". Hopefully, young leaders like Rolston Anglin will follow through and make these unpopular decisions become reality, in order for the country’s "fiscal stability" to be leveled off in these challenging times ahead.

    Again, way to go Rolston, you make me proud to be a Caymanian and West Bayer in particular, for the stand you take to remedy/rectify government and for a better way forward, for all.



  10. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Anglin, Thank you!!

    Ever since the Public Management and Finance Law came in, Gov’t became top heavy. They hired CFO’s for every department, HR Managers for every department ect…..and let’s not forget that these people all needed their assistants to help them. These are Camanian’s that have qualifications and can get jobs in the Private Sector, that is if they havenot got too lazy working for Gov’t.

    Gov’t will always need to employ some of the unemployable however, these at the top level need to go out and get the private sector experience and rise to the top of their field.

    Time for Gov’t to centralize, sorry we are just too small to have decentralized Gov’t running efficiently and effectively.


  11. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps if this Government appointed Boards that actually enforced the Immigration Laws of this country the problem would solve itself with the private sector begging to employ the numerous skilled and capable Caymanians in the public sector.  The jobs exist but are filled by permit holders. JUST ENFORCE THE LAW …nothing too complicated about it. 

  12. Anonymous says:

    If the CI Government is the last stop for unemployable Caymanians, what happens when you cut these people from the payroll; what are the social consequences for these islands vis a vis crime, drugs, unemployment?  The social security construct which is the bohemoth CI Government is really what separates Cayman from the restless crime-riddled third world nations of the Caribbean.  Is that a pill that Cayman is ready to swallow? 

  13. Anonymous says:

    Mr Anglin and his party will not find it so easy to cut the civil service. It is popular for people like him making political points and for the private sector that always likes to have a go at the civil service to paint a picture of unnecessary posts (Mr Anglin’s "head of graphics") or, more typically, scores of lazy typists polishing their nails as the phone rings unanswered. Well, maybe so. Every organisation has its dead wood and some are better than others at getting rid of it. The civil service is terrible-unless it is foreign dead wood when you just don’t renew the contract. If it’s Caymanian dead wood-ah, well that’s another problem, as Mr Anglin may find out.

    Another problem is related to the above. The civil service is not just typists and other admin staff. It is teachers, policemen, immigration officers, firemen, prison guards, customs, post office staff, judges, magistrates, freedom of information officers, social workers and so on.

    Reduce the number of teachers? Sure-by increasing class size or not building new schools. A real vote getter there!

    Reduce Immigation? No problem. But didn’t Mr Manderson in recent times get a whole bunch of new ones to operate the new Law? Oops.

    How about the RCIPS? Hmm! Isn’t everyone going on about the rise in crime etc? Another vote winner!

    Less social workers? Yeah, right!

    One could go on and on. Some of these departments mentioned are rightly proud of being 100% Caymanian staffed. I would like to see ANY government start laying them off to "effect economies".

    Like it or not-leaving aside a minority of positions which can be dealt with painlessly-the growth of the civil service is generally the result of demands for new services, either by the voting public or its political directorate.

    • Thankful says:

      Does not happen often but am at a lost for words.  In these economic hard times the government comes into office Mr. Bush promises no job loses and then a mere month later we are talking about people losing jobs!!!!  Where are people to find jobs…I pray for the Hard working Civil Servants the anxiety levels from this disguised Political Victimization must be a heavey burden to bear.  My dear Fellow Caymanians is being battered on everyside.  I guess this is where we say thanks UDP.  Sweet Lord four years of this is too much.

  14. Anonymous says:

     Bloated public sector payrolls to hide unemployment funded by excessive borrowing is endemic across the western world. It is found in the US, UK, Europe as well as Cayman. Each government uses it to buy votes will a bill to be paid by the next one.

     Now these ponzi schemes are collapsing everywhere, but few governments will tell the truth: “Everyone’s living standards are going to drop until they match the third world”. This is going hurt hard in Cayman where even the humblest of cab drivers believes he has the entitlement to be a millionaire.

  15. Trimming the fat says:

    Seems as though there are an awful lot of unnecessary positions. A lot of them are mere titles though, just to keep people quiet. We have former school principals getting paid what one would presume is the same salary they were prior just to organise the NCFA once a year, we advertise radio talk show host jobs to the tune of 80K a year, we employ anybody, then their brother and then their dog. Seriously, it takes 3 guys to change a lightbulb? That’s just my little soapbox, I’m sure there are plenty other stories along those lines others could share.

    Anyone really surprised we are broke? My god!

    • Anonymous says:

      Normally, I would read comments and always think that people are indeed entitled to their own opinion, however, in this case, I really must comment on your comment.

      I can think of no reasonable administration of Government that could realistically allow a single person to work on a single project (NCFA) at the salary of school principal.  Say what you will about governments across the world, but except in dictatorships, most of them are reasonable, and in Cayman, we have been blessed with a stable society and fairly sound governmental judgements (compare Jamaica, Trinidad, Grenada, Honduras). 

      Members of the public do have a perception of civil servants and while in some cases this perception may be justified, there is absolutely no validity to the claim that the individual(s) that work with the NCFA have nothing more to do for the entire year than twiddle their thumbs.

      While we can sit from afar and speculate on what is being done, getting the facts and being fair and honest about what is happening will be way more beneficial.  Indeed, trim the fat, but be careful that working muscle is not severed in the process!!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Cut Fixed Costs – I applaud the new government in looking into reducing recurring expenditure especially in reducing personal emoluments.  They need to bite the bullet and reduce this area of recurrent expenditure.  They can start by implementing the roll over policy and not renewing expiring contracts for expatriates.  The work that they were doing should be spread around to the existing employees to avoid any great affect on the services provided. Due to the downturn in the economy certain posts may need to be made redundant.   At the same time they should look into the high salaries that were offered to certain new employees who are being paid on the top of the scales because they were friends and family of other civil servants.  They may also need to postpone implementing performance pay that was planned to commence on 1st January 2010,

  17. Annoymous says:

    I hope these cuts are not to any of our Caymanian people and all have to do with those contracted employees.

    Tell me why is it that Lands & Survey had to hire so many foreginers recently?  Also why is it that they had to pay to import these people with their dogs, cats, spouses and all?  Yeah, I heard about it and one of the staff also leaked several bits of information about these people who were laid off in the US or were retired overseas and now here making demands.

    SHameful, Rolston start with the Lands and Survey dept.  question all those new jobs going to foreigners?  What happened to our Caymanians, don’t we have some that can do this job?

    Cut the foreigners Rolston, leave your people they have to live and survive in this country when everyone else packs up and leave.  Be good to your people, and for once be a true Caymanian and stand up for your people.


  18. Anonymous says:

    Let’s see what he does, real leadership sometimes require one to take tough and unpopular decisions.

    It is pretty much a loose loose situation for them, cutting civil servant jobs may draw the wrath of one of the largest voting blocks on the island. Then again, failing to reduce the civil service and slow the bleeding may make them seem like a huge failure for failing to address the country’s financial woes and draw the wrath of the entire voter base.

    He is right though, every reform came with more people and a huge price tag. It would be interesting to add up the cost of the financial reform, the personnel reform, the introduction of FOI etc. and see how much these things cost the Country and what benefits we acually got from them.

    My advice would be to take the Chief Secretary to task and tell him a freeze means a freeze, period. And make that go for the entire public sector too by making each Board issue a policy directive to each government organization enforcing that freeze.

    Next thing would be to apply the roll over to the Civil Service and make natural attrition take its course. That is the only hand I can see them playing without committing political suicide.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Good place to start looking at duplication of effort and unnecessary staff is the prison service.  Its Director and deputy have wasted more Government funds that any other dpeartment. They continue to promote friends who are unqualified, with more that three Principal Officers doing the same job.  The prison is top heavy with   senior staff so I hope that the Minister starts his review at Northward,  the outcome of that review alone should reduce salary expenses. 

  20. Anonymous says:

    This is their idea of a stimulus package?  Wow, I am very much afraid of what is to come. Not even 100 days in and serious decisions like this are being considered.  Has there been much thought put into this? How about considering a pay cut and not a reduction of the entire civil service.  I doubt that is going to help stimulate the economy.