$1m spent on gardening leave

| 27/05/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island Headline News(CNS): With at least six senior civil servants still on full pay but not in post, government has now spent around $1 million on gardening leave salaries over the last two years as a number of personnel issues remain unresolved. Despite being cleared by the courts, Deputy Police Commissioner Rudy Dixon (left) has now been on paid leave for over two years and has still not been reinstated. Deborah Drummond, Angela Martins and Dianne Montoya, all senior civil servants, have received a year’s pay but have not been given equivalent posts since changes in senior personnel in the wake of the 2009 election. More recently, the director of the DER, Lonnie Tibbetts, was also placed on leave with full pay.

Also on the list is Grand Court Judge Priya Levers, who has been on full pay for more than 18 months since being placed on suspension by the former governor, Stuart Jack, back in September 2008 while a legal case regarding her conduct in office continues through the courts. Following a tribunal held in Cayman in May last year, the Privy Council is due to examine the tribunal’s report and the case against Justice Levers next month.  
Although Martins, Montoya and Drummond have spent some of the last year working on an internal report examining CINICO and the government’s health service costs, the three senior female civil servants were all previously in positions falling into the public sector’s C band pay bracket of between $127,000 – $147,000 per annum. Martins was the former chief officer in the education ministry, Montoya the chief officer in the ministry of health and Drummond served as Deputy Financial Secretary. None of them have yet been given new full time posts.
As a deputy commissioner in the RCIPS, Dixon, who has been on paid leave for more than two years, falls into the civil service F band and will have received around a quarter of a million dollars since he was suspended from duty in March 2008. Dixon was placed on required leave as a result of the UK investigation into corruption by the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT). Dixon was found not guilty by a jury trial last year on a corruption charge when he was accused of advising officers to release a former police office arrested on a DUI. Since then, the police commissioner has said an internal investigation is now continuing and Dixon has remained on leave.
Meanwhile, Justice Levers has been paid a similar amount during her more than 18 month suspension from the bench, as judges command A grade salaries starting at some $165,000 annually.
Tibbetts, who has been placed on leave from his post as the director of the Department of Employment Relations since February (another F band position), has added around $35,000 to the government’s bill for wages paid to top government workers who are out of office.
CNS contacted the Portfolio of the Civil Service more than one week ago for information on other civil servants who are believed to be still on the pay roll but don’t have work and for any news of a resolution to these senior personnel issues, but is still waiting on a response.
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Comments (42)

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  1. Anonymous says:

     We keep hearing that the country is broke yet we keep paying some individuals for doing nothing. This makes no sense what so ever. Is this a joke? 

  2. Anonymous says:

    It’d be interesting to get the governor’s perspective on this rather peculiar situation. As the head of the civil service he must be accountable, surely?

     
  3. Scrooge McDuck says:

    It might be a good idea for all of them to go on gardening leave and grow food for us because we can’t afford it.

  4. Anonymous says:

     What a shame and disgrace!

     

  5. Anonymous says:

    Chuckie!..let’s march…

    There is jsut tooooooo much waste in Govt. to ignore any longer.

    And it seems you’re the only one with the ba$%^ to really take Mac on in a meaningful way.

    • Anon says:

      is it just me or did you not read the article properly.  just a reminder the article states "…government has now spent around $1 million on gardening leave salaries over the last two years as a number of personnel issues remain unresolved." two years being the operative word.

      so………… what does that tell you preytell, bout go march with the ones who have them their receiving their big bucks today. Pshhhh!

      • Anonymous says:

        Rudy and Levers have been on "gardening leave salaries" for over a year because the GOVERNOR put them on leave. The three ladies are all political casualties of the UDP winning the election and Lonny was placed on leave earlier this year.

        Clearly YOU did not read the article properly.

      • Anonymous says:

        That was pretty desparate. Obviously the previous elected govt. had nothing to do with any of these persons being put on gardening leave. In so far as their leave exceeds one year – Justice Levers and Deputy Commissioner Dixon that was a matter for the GOVERNOR. The present elected govt. is responsible for all of the others.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is just you. YOU did not read the article properly…typical UDP

    • Anonymous says:

      Why do you think Chuckie is the answer to these problems?   If he  was the solution  we would not be here, because it was him and his team that brought us here.   Remember he played a very important in getting us here, staying in luxury and flying first class around the world and flying his friends and supporters (more than 50 on each trip)  to NY, Washington, Panama etc. paying for their air,hotel and meals, add that up – that’s what got us here…… so he cant help yah!  And he is no match for McKeeva, he has more than 27 yrs in the Legislative Assembly.   Chuckie has got his first and last term, I am afraid. 

  6. Anonymous says:

    The status of these Civil Servants is dictated by a law which was passed by the LA to protect the rights of persons employed in the Public Service. It is easy to see that the public would get enraged about the money being paid out to all of them and, particularly at this time of economic crisis. Let’s get beyond the money folks. We must.

    The reality is that wrong is wrong is wrong. Anywhere in the world where an individual is simply sent home because politicans don’t want to work with them, the administrative side of government is left with a messy situation to sort out. And to add insult to injury, the politicans can then blame the adminsitration for how that is done.

    In the case of the 6 people named here at least 3 of them are in a situation where they have been formally told that their removal is not performance based, simply stated these people have been told – , they just don’t want you!

    To ask  people who have worked in the Civil Service over decades and contributed much to the developement of Cayman to simply curl up and die is ridiculous! When will Caymanians be able to stand up for what we know to be right? Whenwill we be able to stop seeing something as gray for onereason and in another circumstance the same thing as black and white ?

    McKeeva sent them home "because he could " (being so powerful as he sees himself) why should they sacrifice their income, self respect and integrity to cover up for him???   Who cares about the children and extended family caught up in this mess as these people struggle to find a new normal?  They are humans you know. 
    Who will hire them in these islands ? No one will displease him so they are out of luck. Or perhaps they can live in hope of a change of govt to get another chance.  Long hope that could be.

    Sadly for all of us, whether you voted for UDP or not,  we all will partake in whatever he dishes out over the next 3 years. If this first year is any indication of the next 3 God help us!

    I watch from a distance what is happening and feel real sadness as it is my view we are just skirting the real issue here. These are 6 human beings who are being bandied about in the press like footballs. They are being tried in the court of public opinion, ridiculed and mocked, yet they cannot respond.  They are Caymanians (just like us) subject to the vagaries of how McKeeva sees his power and control. He set out to "remove" these women with no regard to what that could mean for their lives and the lives of many others.

    That is our esteemed Premier, our leader –  to whom people obviously do not matter,  for whom integrity and humanity is non existent . I would say for him we are all dispensable. Be careful what you wish for.

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon 13:18: I am no defender of Mac! But you don’t really think this is the first time very senior civil servants have been moved by a political change do you? I would give you names going back many years (into the nineties) but I have noticed CNS not printing my posts recently when they seem to them to be too "pointed". It’s rather frustrating because those of us really in the know about civil servant manoevering/political changes after elections have to sit and read total nonsense being written about it, not only in CNS.

      CNS: Look at it from our point of view. To us you’re just "Anonymous". No way to know whether your comments are "pointed" or "full of it".

  7. whodatis says:

    Keep on burning that fire CNS … keep on!

    Well done.

    In days past these issues would have just floated right on by  – forgotten by the majority of the masses.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Seems like gov’t is the place to work.   Obviously increases your chances of getting a very expensive paid leave.  From my calculations of the 6 persons, costing over 1mill over 2 years, that about $7000.00+ per month per person on pay leave….   Holy schmuck!   I am lost for words…  MAC, WHERE DO I SIGN UP?   I could surely use the money! SMH – OFF!  reading some of the news these days, just makes ya want to commit suicide..  its just sad…  not sure how much more i can tolerate..  =(

    • Hmm... says:

      Are you qualified to serve as a grand court judge, the third-ranking policeman in the country, a successful international financial services negotiator, or the senior civil servant responsible for portfolios with multiple responsibilities including health or education? If you are then demand that government advertise these jobs and go ahead and apply. I have to warn youthat you might get a pleasant surprise when your first paycheck comes in. By my calculations the average salary should be around half again your calculation.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely disgraceful….since when do people get an undetermined length for gardening leave?? If anything they should have each had no more than 6 months each (if even that long)….so why is the gov’t paying out salaries to people who are technically no longer employees…..last I heard the gov’t didn’t have any expendible cash on hand…..

  10. Anonymous says:

    I think that it is a tragic waste that the skills of these civil servants are not bening used. Clearly we could use people that are educated and hardworking in government because there is little recent evidence of the existence of intelligent life having any influence in the Glass House these days.  Please note that I am not in any way related to any of the people involved and I am not a civil servant, but over the years I have met all of the Caymanians involved.

    Before jumping to conclusions regarding who is to blame for the obvious waste of talent we need to consider the following. In the case of the ladies who used to work in the Glass House, we have honest, highly educated, long serving, very talented and hard working civil servants who have given many years to this country that they love and, perhaps most important, these individuals are not afraid to speak out when things are wrong.

    On the other side we have a few politrix experts who appear to have what might be described as a less than perfect understand of and regard for our Consitution and law. The political types act as if all the money that govenment has is theirs to spend on servants, travel and whatever else they want. These political types have indicated that they only want civil servants that they can "work with". In that regard we need to keep in mind the integrity of these political types, and who they actually "work" for.  I see no evidence that the masters of politrix are "working" for the Caymanian people these past few months. The political types prefer to hire cronies as "consultants" and "advisors" at far more than what these civil servants are being paid. Cronies are perhaps less likely to blow whistles.

    From what I have seen and heard the reason that the ladies sent home from the Glass House are still receiving their salaries is that they have done absolutely nothing wrong. We need to consider that it might be that they weresent home because certain people knew that they would object to doing things wrong.  If that is correct then firing them without cause would lead to the country having to pay out much more as a result of wrongful dismissal law suits which they would be entitled to bring.

    Does anybody know how many millions have been handed over to cronie "consultants" and "advisors" in the past year? I suspect that it is far more than has been paid to civil servants put on leave for doing their jobs too well. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon 10:27. One of the ladies was too closely linked to the PPM. One was stuck away in an office doing exactly what no one knows but doing it in a way that appeared to be in disagreement with the UDP ideology on her work related duties. One was felt to never actually implement anything, lots of consulting and thinking, dithering and no doing.

      Doesn’t make it right, though.

      • Anonymous says:

        in a way that appeared to be in disagreement with the UDP ideology

        Do you mean that this civil servant believed in promotion based on competence rather than the party’s demand for promotion based on party membership, or that she thought that Ministers of Government should actually be accountable for the charges that they put on their government issue credit cards? 

        • Anonymous says:

          No, I didn’t mean that. I said clearly what I meant and it is based on knowledge. And I am fascinated at the so far 6 thumbs down to my original post setting out what it is all really about. I did not say I agreed with the way they were treated – in fact I made it clear I did not agree with it. But these damn thumbs are poised to go down if Bush is even tangentially associated with issues on this site. If he announced a year free of import duties for the whole island for a year, there would be a hurricane of thumbs downs and cries for Chuckie to lead a march. Hilarious.

        • Anonymous says:

          In at least one case, the public purse is much better protected from overzealous and extravagant spending, having that person on gardening leave.  

          Trust me its far cheaper to pay this person to stay home.

          Also where did the earlier posted get the audacity to talk about promotion based on competence!!!   The very squeeky (noisy) wheel got the grease.   

           

  11. verticalpig says:

    Being incompetent isn’t an impediment to being in the public employ provided you are incompetent in the approved way. 

    For example: 

    Can’t find the FOI information Mac needs to be lost.
    Loosing financial records that may embarrass your boss 
    Failing to record stuff it’s your job torecord because it "never happened"
    etc.

    None of the foregoing lapses are a problem but if you display incompetence in the wrong way ie blurt out information your boss want kept secret, check if "free travel" should have been paid for etc. then that is a problem.

    But, because incompetence is necessary to the system, as a means of hiding or loosing compromising information, sacking anyone on grounds of incompetence becomes a tricky business. It can look like victimization (which it often is) so the person gets sidelined, Joe Public picks up the tab and the circus continues.

     

  12. Anonymous says:

    At least one of these six was removed for purely political reasons and the government cant fire him without exposing it self to a huge lawsuit.  When you hire someone to clean up a department then put him on administrative leave because a few of his employees complain that he is actually making them work you have no one to blame but yourself.

  13. Anonymous says:

    We should put them to work building The Great wall of West Bay around the Premiers House.  They might as well do something for their pay.

    • My2cents says:

      Build the wall high enough…..and block up the exits…..problem solved if Mac can’t get out of his enclosure!

  14. Anonymous says:

    OMG know wonder this Island is broke with this sort of crap thats going on they mite as well had  fired these people for day one because I dont see either one of these having a chance to work under this Government. But  for some reason this Government cant get rid of them so they ave no choice but to continue paying them.Becasue as the saying goes I can smell a Lawsuitea coming . All I can say GREAT job once again for Screwing the people of this Country. Once again started something and couldnt finish it. 

  15. Anonymous says:

    "Can anyone imagine any private company paying anyone full salary to do nothing?"

     

    Happens all the time.  It is called a Golden Parachute!

    • Just Askin says:

      Is this similar to a Golden Shower?

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. There are a some  people working in private companies who don’t do jack. They sit down on their flatt a$$es all day… chat… chat..gossip and chat. Surf the internet, shop online, file nails, attend to personal business etc. and want to throw their work on others and are just plain useless. They come to work dressed nice though!

      But some government businesses now, I will not even go there.. the least they can do sometime is answer the phone!

    • Anonymous says:

      You obviously haven’t lived in Cayman for very long.  In the private sector the price of getting somone a work permit is very often employing someone else to do nothing.

      • Anonymous says:

        You forgot. Many work permit holders also do nothing all day they just get paid better for doing it. At least in the financial sector.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Andre Iton, here’s Exhibit B in the ongoing CI gov’t’s "abhorrence du jour"

  17. Anonymous says:

    Move everyone under the Labour Law and these ridiculous expenditures would cease immediately. Put a 3 month notice clause in everyone’scontracts from now on, and be done with this insane system.  

  18. Anonymous says:

    Before they talk about about cutting civil servants pay they need to start with these 6 (equal than or greater). It’s either you’re hired or YOUR FIRED! full stop.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Wow; no wonder this government can’t seem to come up with the budget…

  20. Anonymous says:

    It is unfathomable!!! Government has paid over 1 MILLION DOLLARS to 6 people (who have not struck a lick of work) over the last 1-2 years and yet they have the balls to take 3.2% from civil servants (40% of whom make $3000 or under) who actually come to work every day and do their best!  This is unfathomable!! This is an atrocity!!

    And the leader of government (the "precious and no one is as good as him") premier, who at the end of the day is responsible (even tho he says he don’t know anything about this),  wants Caymanians to believe that he is looking out for the "little man"!!! Oh, please!

    I am not a civil servant but many of my friends are and my heart hurts for them.  This is so wrong, on every level!

    This government is a shame and disgrace to our people and Island.

    • Anonymous says:

      The leader of government doesn’t know about it???? he put them there straight after the election becasue he don’t like them! 

  21. Anonymous says:

    Fire them all. If they have been removed from their posts it is because they are not up to the job, so why are we still paying them to sit at home.

    This corruption and obscene wastage has got to stop.

    • Anonymous says:

      "If they have been removed from their posts it is because they are not up to the job".

      Obviously if that was reason they would have been dismissed from the start. In some cases it was for purely political reasons. If you fire someone without cause, particularly top civil servants who have a brain, it will cost govt. more in law suits than it does to pay them 

  22. Anonymous says:

    Wow, looks like it really PAYS to get suspended from your job when working for government, what a bunch ofXXXXXX jokers, 2m down the crapper, for what? not a dam thing, it might be 3m next year cause guess what they going to do about it?

    Going Once

    Going Twice

    Absolutely nothing! ding ding ding correct answer!

    I wonder which idiot is going to allow us to borrow more money for the budget because we said we are going to reduce expenditure? Hell these guys change there minds every 3 minutes you expect them to stick to the 3 year plan? My gosh can you imaging if they implement Taxes? i think it will do more harm than good cause these individuals will just find holes to put the extra cash into rather than using it effectively, then the following year we will be in the same DO-DO just a different toilet.
     

     

  23. Anonymous says:

    This is an outrage which must be stopped immediately.

    Can anyone imagine any private company paying anyone full salary to do nothing?  No. It would not be able to stay in business.

    And what kind of a person could sit at home living off the citizens of his country, knowing that his country is in dire financial straits?

    Cayman has to get real about the huge cost of its government, which is strangling business here and driving up the cost of living for everyone.

    Extracting money from all its citizens to pay other citizens to sit at home is an insult to the whole country.