Speaker’s salary cut as deputy premier’s boosted

| 25/10/2013

(CNS): Although there was no pay increase for the elected members of Legislative Assembly returning to office at the start of this new administration, an odd alteration to salaries was noted during Finance Committee deliberations this week. As members examined line item OE2 in the annual plan and estimates for the salaries of the governor, deputy governor, premier, speaker, minsters and all elected members of the Legislative Assembly, it was revealed that the speaker’s salary had been cut and the deputy premier’s pay increased by the same amount. No details were given about the amounts involved but over $3 million was allocated in the budget for the legislators’ and the governor’s pay.

According to documents released at the beginning of the 2009 UDP administration, at the time the speaker was a top dollar post at $171,672 per annum, which included a car and maintenance allowance each month of $200. At the time the current speaker, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, who was then deputy premier, was bringing in $161,100 a year.

Questioning the deputy governor about the change to the salary for the post, the speaker did not indicated the amount of the cut, only that her post’s pay had been reduced by exactly the same as the salary increase given to Moses Kirkconnell, who is now serving as deputy premier. Although not begrudging her fellow Cayman Brac and Little Cayman representative the boost in his pay package, the speaker said she was very curious to know why her salary had been cut.

Franz Manderson revealed that the decision had been made by the former governor, Duncan Taylor, before he departed and he did not know the motivation behind it. He said that while he was the one who made recommendations regarding the salaries of the elected members, his recommendation to the governor had been to keep the status quo as a result of the austerity measures across the public sector.

The premier admitted during the exchange that he had requested more money for his back-benchers following the elevation of most of them to counsellor posts but he said his request had been refused and none of the usual increases had been given to members who had been re-elected.

The only two posts where salaries differed from the last administration were the deputy premier and the speaker, which O’Connor-Connolly said she found odd and a situation she had only discovered recently. Querying the arbitrary change, she said she had written asking for an explanation but there had been no response.

“I am not questioning the increase in the deputy premier’s salary,” O’Connor-Connolly said, pointing out that she too had served in the post and it was a difficult job and no doubt the minister deserved the increase. “Yet my job gets decreased by the same amount … I don’t think they should arbitrarily change the speaker’s salary without explanation,” she said as she noted both the seniority of the role and her own experience as a long serving legislator, a former speaker, minister, deputy premier and latterly premier.

“I don’t mind dropping my salary but I want to know why, given my experience, I should be paid less,” she added.  Raising concerns about gender discrimination, O’Connor- Connolly said she wasn’t asking for a raise, just an explanation and “the courtesy of a response” to a letter she had sent to the governor’s office.

The deputy governor assured the speaker that he would find out why the post’s salary was cut and let her know.

Category: Politics

Comments (70)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I think all of their pay needs to be CUT!! Why do they need to be making over $14,000 a month?!

    People on all three islands are suffering because of the situation all parties have put us into!! They make decisions and dont ask the public, when we are the ones paying for all of their mistakes!!

    We wouldn't be in so much debt if they cut their pay!! Give the hardworking civil servant back their 3.5 % pay cut and deducted it from theirs, i'm sure that wouldn't put a dent in their pockets. Its not like ALL THE elected Members aren't using goverments money for their travels and what not.

     

    Enough is Enough!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    One really has to wonder which of her and mckeewa is the biggest disgrace Cayman has ever known.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It is a criminal amount, tantamount to robbery of the people. She cannot possibly be worth this much? These MLA's are a damned greedy bunch.

  4. Kadafe says:

    Need to slash all of their salaries. If they were brought down to normal people salaries they could get back in touch with reality and do something towards bringing down the cost of living.. 

    • MEM says:

      And paying them a normal salary would weed out the ones running for election for the sake of the money and not the sake of th country. 

      Cut all the salaries! At least for the first year and give increases according to productivity during their "reign".

  5. Anonymous says:

    What is this about laying pipe?

    :o/

  6. Anonymous says:

    Julie thought she was getting a deal when  she jumped ship! Ha, guess again girl!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Maybe its in part to pay for the XXX $500,000 and still climbing road paving/vote buying, wasted travel expenses, and her own private manservant?  How much did that cost all of us?  And why do you still have a job?  Thats right.  Because you are suitably qualified!

  8. Anonymous says:

    The Speaker's position is an appointed role, not an elected one.  Maybe the Governor was rightly adjusting the salary to be more in line with other Civil Servant positions.

     

  9. Anonymous says:

    Is the ci govt still still paying for her security guard? Wp

    • Anonymous says:

      Convenient that she forgot to mention all the 'extras' the CI govt gave her when she was Deputy Premier.  She was given extra for body guards, cars, lodging for her 'assistants', and the list goes on…. My guess is that JuJu is really saying, 'I'm mad that PPM won't give me all those extras that UDP did."

       

    • Anonymous says:

      politrics at work again ppm no better than any other twisted unscrupulous regime!

  10. Anonymous says:

    and here I am wishing I could make 36k a year…

  11. Anonymous says:

    What I am puzzled about is why is the Speaker of the House making a big deal about her salary being cut because of gender discrimination? As far as I know the former Speaker was also a woman. Another thing I am wondering about is; what perks did the present Speaker of the House get when she changed her party affilliation to PPM. Did she get to keep her "ADC" Paul? Perhaps the Governor thought that would compensate for the difference in salary or was it because the former Speaker was being used why she was being paid so much more than she should have? So that is why the Governor put the salary down to where he felt it was more in line, with what the other salaries were, or what the person holding that position should have been receiving in the first place.   

  12. Anonymous says:

    It is most unfair to learn the amount of monies these people are paid who help to put us in a mess, while poor us are hurting so much. There are learned people with small salarys earning between 2 to 3  thousand dollars per month wit a family who can hardly eat nor buy gas for their cars. Children to go to school as well with all this hurting in their homes there is no wonder that our kids grow up to be criminals. Alot of us go out daily to our jobs with not even one dollar in your bag, at night cant even sleep because there is not sufficient money to pay your bills while these highest paid people in the world has all sort of allowances ,trips and not to mention but cars to drive. How do they manage to go to church and preach to some of these very same people. 

  13. Anonymous says:

    "…keep the status quo as a result of the austerity measures across the public sector."

     

    The status quo is exactly what got us into this financial mess.

     

    If these politicians are really serious about "austerity" then they should be cutting their own salaries by at least 50 per cent. Lead by example for god's sake.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The monthly maintenance allowance of $200 = $2400 pa for makeup, hair and pedi's? Er… um….

  15. The Mad Hatter says:

    On the plus side, she did get an awesome hat in the deal. 

  16. UHUHUH says:
    Folks! Here is something for us all to ponder!

    In the United States of America, the worlds richest country, with a  population of some 300,000,000.00 [three hundred million plus] where the salary of the highest paid senator [including   perks and benefits] is.

    Senators of United States get an annual salary including  benefits and perks for specific expenses and needs [which is taxable] of  US$174,000,  as of January 2012, a figure which has remained the same since January 2009 according to the congressional research service. 

    Now let us look at the reduced salary of the speaker of our legislative assembly  which was cut from {C.I. dollars $174,000.00 / U.S.$212,200.00}  keeping in mind that we're talking about a small island with a population of approximately  sixty thousand. {60,000.00} and it appears that she "the speaker" is a bit miffed because her base salary was cut to {C.I.$161,000.00} or a mere U.S $196,000.00. which "by the way" does not include other perks and benefits, those are additional. So one can add another Few Thousand more to this figure! It is these outrageous things like exorbitant salaries that will keep us in the poor house. 

    So I say to all of you "Seasoned Politicians"  it was you who voted yourselves these ridiculous high salaries when it seemed that there was no end to the stream of funds that were flowing into our coffers, and now we find ourselves unable to finish all those projects needed to educate our children, and the cruise docks that we were told were  so badly needed for businesses in our capital and for cruise tourism to thrive and grow. But instead of being prudent and frugal we spent as if  we had a money tree.  But the tree we had, and was unaware we were nurturing, was a tree of  hopelessness and despair which has now began to bear its  fruit in the form of  the unemployed, murder, and anger among young people who have become disillusioned, and others who with machetes hold up bar patrons for enough money to get something to eat.

    So I say to all of you whom we have given the care and the responsibility as captains and crew of the good ship Cayman, put aside egos, think of your people first, let the morals and the ethics that were taught to you as children by those wonderful parents and teachers who taught you these wonderful precepts which guided us through our youth and made us men that were proud to be Caymanian, and who now try to instill in our children those same qualities.  So if we ask that you  put "SELF" aside and work together to make our island "once more" a place that residents and visitors alike will want to live and visit, I would lead by example by taking a sizable salary cut and in so doing your people will know that you do care. 

    What really scares me is to think that we are still hiring more people and paying these outrageous salaries, and will also have to be paying pensions to all of these people for many years to come. I hope it never happens but, I am afraid that at the rate we're going we will be broke in 16 years, and our credit rating will be at zero unless we stop the hiring and the WASTEFUL spending. FRUGALITY IS THE WORD.

    We will have tens of thousands government retirees and others who will be depending on their pensions to sustain them in their retirement and we'll have nothing to pay them, unless we put the money for all pensions in a market that will not be run by these so called fund managers who have lost as much as 50% of the funds that was taken from the salaries of poor people," a lot of which according to recent news, was never even paid in.

    What we need is a True  Democracy in Cayman, as in Austria where politicians are given One Year terms, and if they don't perform as they should while there, they are thrown out before their term is finished, and a replacement is found. THAT is  true Democracy! A government that is controlled by the people. Not the other way around! What we have here in Cayman  is an "Autocracy" and our politicians for the most part look at the rest of us with an air of superiority, as if we were all "idiots". That is until the next election!

    If we as an Island are to progress in a manner in which we will leave for our youth, a Cayman where equal opportunity exists for "ALL",  then we [The People] must have more control of how the assets of our country are dispersed. We can no longer let inept persons who are, irresponsible and egomaniacal to be in control of our future. 

    MARCO FOR PREMIER!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I like your comments. But would just like to reply to a couple of points. First, that is the reason they claw at eachothers throats, to get elected to suck up that glorious salary. AND, yes they are almost right in thinking of us as idiots (unfortunatley the majority that vote them in drag us into the category with them), as they are returned time after time after time…you get the point. But i agree with you though.

    • Anonymous says:

      Pay them $5K per month across the board. Majority of them have no qualifications anyway.

      • Anonymous says:

        That would only encourage corruption. 

        • Anonymous says:

          Giving them the job does that… pay won't make a difference.

          • Anonymous says:

            Obviously pay does make a significant difference in whether you are susceptible to corruption. Many people will justified in taking money under the table if they feel they are not being paid enough to do their jobs. That is commonsense.

  17. Knot S Smart says:

    But I thought she washed Mr Taylor's feet when he first came here?

    And he downgraded her salary?

    Oh Dear…

  18. Anonymous says:

    Gender decrimination really goes on with the mayoriy of women in MOST OF Cayman  work places.

    Please if you want to check for DESCRIMINATION just go to all the Government entities in Cayman to see if you all can find ONE SINGLE WOMAN leading in the work places. Only men and mainly foreigners not even Caymanians.

    Many of those with less experience than our own Caymnians. Still they get the top jobs and no one cares how they work . Most times they work less than the Caymanian ladies in the jobs.

    What happenes ???? When promotion time comes, their own Supervisors CHANGES THE WORK REQUIREMENTS AND like Mr Miller said only thing they don't ask is for a sex change, but JOBS ARE BEING FIXED IN CAYMAN ALL THE TIME TO KEEP WOMEN DOWN.

    IF What we needed was forMrs Julianna to say it or have her salary cut down, then it may be a good thing to look at all the women who have been working longer enough to have a pay raise or a promotion in the GOVERMENT JOBS and clean up the work places to get more Caymanians in to at least the Goverment jobs which Goverment should be controling more. Not allowing other to take over and have so many Caymanians out of work.

     

     

    • Rorschach says:

      RUBBISH!!  Gina Ebanks-Petrie is the first person who sprang to my mind..she's been the head of DOE for about 15 years now..LInda Evans…Hello..Head of Immigration…heck, the LAST 3 speakers of the LA were women!!   and the list goes on…so stop your self pitying crap..there are PLENTY of educated women in the workforce who are leaders..

      • Anonymous says:

        Also Berna Thompson Cummins and Jackie Doak.

      • Anonymous says:

        Absolutely right. That comment was beyond ridiculous. Just to name a few others:   

        Jennifer Dilbert – Information Commissioner

        Nicola Williams – Complaints Commissioner

        We have just heard that Samantha Bennett is to be seconded to Customs Dept. as its Collector.

        Shirley Wahler – Chief Education Officer, and it's been many, many years since we have had a male Chief Education Officer.

        Sheena Glasgow – Postmaster General

        Lizette Yearwood – CEO, HSA

        Not that we had anything to do with the choice but we also have a female Governor.  

        Our second Premier was also a woman. 

  19. Anonymous says:

    You haters never get sick of hating. Hahahaha God bless you because God knows you all need it. Hahaha

    • Anonymous says:

      Disbelief!  Asking for more pay for his backbenchers , what a bitter pill for civil servants who have been on the same pay for ten years in many cases.  If they can't get an increment why should the MLAs. Also taxpayers should know about the allowances  (could it really be some 10,000 month) some MLAs get In addition. Is this published anywhere?

  20. Anonymous says:

    More to come Julie.  That's what you get for stabbing Mac in the back, jumping ship from one party to the next to the next.  PPM laughing at you every day and UDP Supporters don't Love you anymore.

  21. Sir Bedevere says:

    Oh what sad times are these when wandering speakers are set upon by their supposed political cohorts and fleeced of their monetary entitlements. A pestilence has settled over the land indeed.

  22. Anonymous says:

    So how much does Tara get for missing every important day of her ministry since she was voted in?

  23. A Realist says:

    So she will only make CI $161K a year instead of CI $171K a year. My goodness. How will she ever survive?

    • Walter Kovacs says:

      She will have to survive like her constituants…on corned beef and stale crackers…

    • Anonymous says:

      True. Try living on this and a small pension of almost 1,500 dollars per week collectable from day one.

      That is before any other perks, investments, little hep from others and private businesses on the side are factored in.

      It won't be easy but I would like to give it a go.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Good!!!! God knows she has been paid enough already for YEARS of non-performance!! That's my opinion and not that of CNS or its affiliates, associates or readers.

    • SSM345 says:

      10:08, with JuJu's salary cut, how in the world is Paul going to get to Qatar for next years International Postal Conference?

      • Anonymous says:

        He'll just have to take advantage of the surface rate.

      • Anonymous says:

        Is she going to this year's too? We all know how integral she was to the last one, I dont know how they will make it if she does not go this time??

  25. Anonymous says:

    As much as I don't have any real careto support Julie for an increase in pay. The Speaker's post no matter who is in it should at least be given the courtesy to be told that they will have a salary cut. Doing it arbitrarily  and shifting the cut to another position as an increase in salary to that position makes no sense at all and seem unprofessional to me.

    I believe the Deputy Governor and the Governor need to right this wrong for future speakers. The Deputy Premier's position is a lower level position to that of Speaker and should be compensated differently.

    This is kind of strange too that it is happening between the two members for the Brac..

    • Anonymous says:

      agree 10:07…I was wondering the same and wondered if it somehting to do with the fact that Moses won first elected position by a wide margin. Although theoretically still don't see why that can be translated into differences in pay, but sad to say never know with my MLAs.

    • Anonymous says:

      Listening to the debate and questions in finance committee, the DG didn't have enough respect for the speaker to answer her letter. Only in the Cayman Islands would he get away with that kind of disrespect. Ezzard and Arden should have been a minister and I can assure you the matter would not go unaddressed. At the same time i should give the Premier some time to see what he will do about it. If I must say, it seems to me like the DG and senior civil servants (chief officers) want to run the country by dictating to the politicians on policies and everything else. 

  26. Anonymous says:

    Thank goodness we have Ms Julie to monitor gender discrimination in the Cayman Islands for us.

    • Anonymous says:

      I know you were being sarcastic but how on earth could this be gender discrimination? The last two Speakers were female as well.  

  27. Anonymous says:

    Julie, think of it as a reimbursement for the money you wasted over the last years

    • Anonymous says:

      The $500,000.00 that was wasted in Cayman Brac paving private driveways and car parks must be paid back to Government. So if she isn't paid for the first 3 years as speaker, at $161,000.00 per year that will just about cover it. So you see Ms Julie you should not get a salary until the beginning of your fourth year as speaker.

      • Anonymous says:

        Just wait till they dig up all those nice new roads to lay water lines, then you will see what a real waste of money it was!

        • Anonymous says:

          Jealous much?  God forbid that Cayman Brac shouldget piped water like most civilized places.  Cayman Brac is finally coming out of the dark ages.  Now if only we could deport the small minded people somewhere….

          • Walter Kovacs says:

            Conventional wisdom says that one lays water pipe BEFORE paving the roads…or did you think that paving the road to nowhere was needed more than the water pipe??

          • Anonymous says:

            Its not about whether Brac gets piped water. The issue is that she rushed to pave knowing that the pipes had to go in also (Water Authority falls under works ministry which she was the minister, so she would have known that she was wasting money by paving before laying the pipes)

      • Anonymous says:

        I totally agree with 11:45. If it was Mack he would have to pay for it.

  28. Anonymous says:

    "Raising concerns about gender discrimination…" Oh please! Juliana (and Tara does it too) by offering this straw dog plea, you show contempt for the very concept of gender equality. It also shows utter disrepect to the rest of us who fight true gender descrimination. But then again, you don't care, do you?

  29. Knot S Smart says:

    Umph…

  30. Bean counter says:

    All elected officials need to have their salaries cut by 20%. Lead by example at this time of austerity.

    WTF The Speakers position is part time. The LA might be in session for 6 months maximum and should never pay more than the Premier of the country and Leader of Opposition. 

    Shameful that pay increases were sought for Councilor positions that are unconstitional nor defined in any law. Further proof that they are all greedy and in politics for the paycheck not to help the people.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Speaker is at the LA whether it is in session or not. The post has overall responsibility for the entire legislative machinery of government, including oversight of all staff there and the department of Legislative Affairs. Your characterisation is not quite accurate.

      • Anonymous says:

        What about other professional and trained Civil Servants who go off on training and come back if lucky to a $3,000 job per month with as many responsibilities as Speaker of the House?

    • Cayman Concern says:

      How about we cut the salaries to a far and honest wage? CI $85,000 and I bet you dollars to donuts we get real honest hard working folks instead of overpaid ego inflated opportunist vp greedy politicians

      z

      • Anonymous says:

        You would find more corruption among politicians since they would be more tempted to "top up" their salaries.

  31. Foreign Devil says:

    Maybe because you don't do $hit?!

  32. Anonymous says:

    Ah yes, gender discrimination Julie. Good one. Nothing to do with your love of money, right? Just your desire to make sure there is no gender discrimination.