Deputy governor’s minutes shrink in content

| 15/05/2013

iStock_000019519438XSmall (242x300).jpg(CNS): The minute record of the weekly meetings between the deputy governor and the civil service ministry heads are increasingly shorter and reveal less and less about what goes on at the high level meetings. Although Franz Manderson was blazing a trail of transparency when he first began voluntarily releasing the record of what goes on behind the close doors of high-level public sector meetings, the scant information on the minutes being released is offering less insight into the workings of government rather than more.

With Freedom of Information under attack from budget cuts, an ingrained culture of secrecy, political pressure and fear of exposure by either corrupt or incompetent officials, what was originally seen as a victory for transparency is becoming less rather than more informative for the public as time has gone on.

There has been no indication why the minutes released to the press each week are shrinking in content but it is becoming apparent that the minutes which are made public are very different from the full minutes that are being taken during the regular high level meetings.

In the most recent two sets of minutes there is an indication that the government bosses reviewed public sector policies that have been implemented but gave no details about them, and while pointing to a new travel policy, there was no indication what it was or what the feeling about it was among the civil service management.

The meeting also included discussions regarding the 2012/2013 accounts but very little was recorded about what was said regarding one of the most controversial areas in government administration. The agenda also included a discussion about the training for the new government and feedback was allegedly provided, but there was no record at all of what was said by whom about the training the civil service proposes to offer newly elected MLAs.

See the latest sets of minutes released by the deputy governor’s office below.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    A big part of the problem is far too much pampering of the chief officers and far too little making sure that they are doing what they are supposed to.

  2. Anonymous says:

    In corporate US meetings, I can remember there always being a poser in the group that never provided closure with solutions, he/she just kept asking open questions to maintain they were work in progress so they wouldn't get fired for not performing.  I can't imagine being in  a meeting where they are all posers, especially the note taker…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Franz has been a stunning disappointment.  It is probably a good thing he took the Deputy Governor job so we found out that he is not the potential future leader many thought he might be.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can't be living in Cayman or on this earth to make such a statement about Mr Manderson. Get informed and tell Mr Manderson you are sorry for your grossly inaccurate statement. Shame on you!

    • Anonymous says:

      I think the "stunning disappointment" here is you! How can you make such a statement like that about Franz?  You obviously have no idea what you are talking about and you have never held the position he has.  He has done a remarkable job as our Deputy Governor and he continues to do so.  It's unfortunate that people like you prefer to criticize hard working people like Mr Manderson because the "minutes" aren't to your liking??  If you had any common sense, you would realize that everything discussed in these meetings cannot be publicized.  Instead of realizing that, you and other small minded persons like yourself, prefer to put down hard working, honest, dedicated individuals like Franz. I think you are doing an amazing job Franz.  Continue to keep up the good work and keep rising to the top. You are a star!!

  4. 4 Cayman says:

    It was initially all good intentions but you can’t flog a dead horse and expect it to move can you? His intentions should really be focused on dart and all the tax free concessions he has obtained for the next thirty years.

    This deal has and will ruin cayman’s reputation.

    • Anonymous says:

      19.18, so the ruin of Cayman will be all Dart and nothing to do with our kleptomaniac politicians and civil service? I don't think so, get real.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yeps….them minutes are not what is to be expected of top level staff. 

    • Anonymous says:

      These are not minutes, looks more like reminders. Could have used the little  2"X 1 1/2" sticky note pads!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Maybe the Minutes are shrinking because these people really don't do much that needs to be Minuted. Sometimes it's embarrassing to read their Minutes because it shows that people at this level concern themselves with the most unimportant things.

    • Anonymous says:

      Food for thought.

      Before the civil service had all these fabulous reforms (FMI, FOI, new Constitution, PSML etc) we had balanced budgets, less debt, less staff, lower salaries, no Chief Officer minutes ….. and the list goes on.

      Wasn't life simpler and more manageable then?

      • Anonymous says:

        There were Chief Officer (then called Permanent Secretaries) minutes but they were completely confidential and were only circulated to Permanent Secretaries.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Started with the best of intentions, but hard to maintain the focus.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The reason is Chief Officer can’t make decisions. Post all the old minutes with the due dates of items, those have all long passed and nothing done. Typical Civil Service.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The persisting civil service culture of secrecy and leaving no paper trail is a very sad reminder of the quality of the top levels in the civil service. 

    It is unfortunate that Franz did not get more positive comments for attempting greater transparency. No doubt there was significant resistance in one form or another from some of those that attend the meetings.

    Everyone making negative comments relating to the published content of these meetings needs to balance those comments with praise for transparency. Without that balance all that will be achieved is that transparency will regress to where it was just a few years ago.

  10. Catcha Fire says:

    Mr Manderson like many others on this island consistently surround themselves with people with absolutely no credibility. On top of that ,they take advice from the same people who in return they promote because of loyalty and what happens in the end they lose legitimacy to run their respective offices.  Are you honestly surprised?  You are neither right nor wrong because others agree with you, you right because your facts are right.

    Pssst  Some people who were tyrants and nuisances whilst they were in Government need to stay retired and stop giving fool fool advice which is in their own best  interestand are merely concerned with creating their own grandiose legacy and hiding their DIRT and keeping their clones and mistresses in positions of power to "Constipate" and Stifle openess and transparency in government.

    And to you Governor  Taylor i applaud all you have accomplished since you have arrived here.  I have but only one complaint  Sir, please get somebody since you are going that has a good historical perspective on this little place too many instances we see these so called local high society honorable elite hypocrites running bout the place that should be prison no less for their past and present deeds who are advising us poor citizens about honesty and intergrity They Sir! suffer from all three No crediblity no legitimacy and lots of hypocrisy. Thats is my 2 cents for day!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Has Leonard Dilbert ever attended one of these meetings? I think they would get better results if he did the minutes as a poem.

    • Anonymous says:

      No point in Mr Dilbert attending. He has nothing to contribute. If Mr Buss loses next week, a question will arise as to what to do with him because he was handpicked by Bush as a devoted follower to do a job which has no real duties.

  12. Rorschach says:

    Like Franz a lot..have a lot of respect for him..but he is by now probably starting to realise that changing the ingrained culture of laziness and "do wha I wan" which afflictsthe top echelons of the CS, is like pushing an elephant gonna get tired Real quick…

    • Anonymous says:

      You mean you not going to blame Mac for this? 

      I would say, Franz  found out quick, that its useless flogging a dead horse.

    • Anonymous says:

      But, Rorschach, if these senior civil servants are held accountable and found not to be doing their job effectively and efficiently, what would you do? Fire them? But there is a very limited pool of bright Caymanians of an age and (particularly) experience to hold down these senior jobs (in fact, we already have a Cabinet Secretary who is only about 35). If you keep firing the non performers, who will you replace them with? Persons recruited from abroad? I think not.

      • Anonymous says:

        The pool is limited but it is the dozens or more, far larger than the 4 or 5 incompetents and lazy non-performers at this level.

        As a previous Viewpoint suggested, the incompetents should have been sorted out by mandatory testing prior to appointment. Removing the lazy ones is a matter of standard business practice, if only the CS would start applying standard business practices to lazy non-performers.

        I suspect that all it would take is for one or two of the lazy non-performers to be removed for the rest to find amazing levels of motivation. How about it Franz? Do you have the stomach for requiring performance rather than excuses???

        • Anonymous says:

          All recent appointments (within the last year) at this level have in fact been "sorted out by mandatory testing prior to appointment" as you suggest. There were several media releases explaining the process.

          • Anonymous says:

            That may be true but I assure you the brightest and best according to the tests were not chosen. Don’t believeme then do an FOI with names retracted and chosen candidates scores highlighted and you will see. Window dressing.

          • Anonymous says:

            Really??? I just looked on the website and there is nothing there about any testing process. Please provide a link.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have been working in the private sector for 25 years and my senior team has never published one sentence of their managment minutes. So thank you Franz for leading the way. Hopefully, i can join the Civil Service one day. I understand that you can't publish every detail of your discussions and I admit that after reading your minutes for over a year I have a much better idea whats going on in Government that where I work.