Audit finds no issues over controversial appointment

| 30/12/2013

(CNS): A report by government officials into the recruitment of an ex-pat to fill the post of Registrar of Lands at the lands and survey department has declared the process “fundamentally robust, well-documented” and in compliance with requirements of the Public Sector Management Law (PSML). The report which was conducted following complaints and questions raised by MLAs during finance committee in October was released by the deputy governor on Christmas Eve and concludes that no attempt was made to ensure the success of any particular individual. However, the deputy governor noted that recruitment of a foreign national to a post long held by a Caymanian was an illustration of poor succession planning.

The deputy governor said he was pleased that the integrity of the process was no compromised but he was not surprised by the outcome of the Audit Report and noted that with the move away from tenure as a basis for promotion to performance there was likely to be discontent among public servants.

“I accept that the filling of this post, which was previously held by a Caymanian, with a non-Caymanian signals that we must do a better job with Succession Planning,” Franz Manderson said.  “In August 2013 I instructed Chief Officers to ensure that there was a succession plan in place for all key posts in the civil service. I also accept that the move away from promoting civil servants based on tenure alone and focusing on raising the performance of the civil service by holding people accountable for their performance, by providing existing civil servants with opportunities to up-skill themselves and by promoting and recruiting highly qualified people in the Civil Service will cause some discontent,” he added.

Nevertheless, Manderson said that this would not stop the reform as he pointed to the goal of improving the accountability and performance of government employees.

“I remain committed to developing a world class Civil Service that supports the Elected Government and provides excellent service to the people of the Cayman Islands,” the deputy governor stated.

The trouble over the post began in finance committee and was one of several appointments that MLAs had concerns over as they said the private sector could not be expected to make the recruitment of Caymanians a priority if the civil service was manipulating jobs to tailor them to specific ex-pats. Questions were asked about changes to the Registrar of Lands job description and the addition of more qualifications as the MLAs wondered if the post had been tailored the vacancy to fit a particular ex-pat candidate who had direct connections to senior staff in the ministry, marginalizing local workers.

However the audit found that the integrity of the process was not in question after discussions with the chief officer for the agency, other members of the interview panel, the head of department, existing staff and the successful candidate. They also reviewed the documentation generated by the process.

The report found that no attempt was made to ensure the success of any particular individual. It also notes that previously evaluated job descriptions going back as far 2002 had stated a preference for a law degree, and also required membership in the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

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  1. Anonymous says:

    How was this appointment valid if the required steps were not followed? Section 41(1) of the Public Service Management Law (PSML) says that the chief officer must comply with s.49(9) of the PSML. Section 41(9) of the PSML says that references must be obtained unless the applicants are known to the interview committee which does not seem to have been the case as confirmed in the audit report..

    Point 4 in the audit report says that references were not obtained for the person appointed even though the PSML says they ought to have been.

    So how is this appoinment even valid if the law that authorises the appointment was not followed?

    I guess that it must be OK for everybody to ignore the law these days. Or maybe it is just OK for the senior civil service to ignore the law.

    • Anonymous says:

      They failed to get references!!!! And this is ok? Bring back the independent recruitment experts, before these amateurs mess up any more. Leave them to do the work they are the experts in. A well done well written report but not  a satisfactory audit report, even if there was no evidence of bias. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    What's up with the ICTA investigation?

    I know the former head has since moved on (no doubt with a very comfortable pension) but was there wrong doing? Did I miss the outcome of the investigation?

  3. Anonymous says:

    No issue with the Public Service Management Law being ignored. That sounds about right for the highest levels of the civil service. It is only the lowest levels that the law applies to.

    • Anonymous says:

      what report are you reading- the Law was followed…. what part of robus do you not understand??? amazing!!

    • Anonymous says:

      For the benefit of those that did not read the report. Point 4 of the original report says that no references were obtained despite the fact that s.41(9) of the PSML says that references must be obtained.

  4. Anonymous says:

    These internal reports gotta be some kind of joke.

    What the hell was Franz thinking accepting these internal reports that say it was OK that some of the proper procedures were not followed? How the hell can it be OK that some of the procedures were not followed and that the position was only advertised in Jamaica? That is ridiculous.

    This should not be political in any way. NONE of our MLAs should accept this. They all should petition the Governor to order an independent inquiry. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    So they only advertised the post in Jamaica. It sounds likethey are following the practice of the Legal Department. Maybe that is who advised them on the process.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know the details of the Land Registry job but a couple of things about the audit process used look very odd. The bottom line in my view is that there ought to have been a truly independent audit and I sincerely hope that our MLAs don’t simply accept these reports without asking some serious questions about the way these audits were conducted. Here is why I feel that way.

    First of all, wasn’t the report’s principal author Mr. Bonner a subordinate of one of the interviewers, specifically Mr. Fenton who was acting Chief Officer in charge of Mr. Bonner’s unit at the time of the audit? How can an audit of a senior civil servant by his subordinate be consistent with the rules of natural justice and the procedural fairness requirements of the Bill of Rights, both of which civil service internal audits are supposed to follow, at least in theory? How can such an audit be consistent with the Public Service Management Law which prohibits civil servants acting if there is an apparent conflict of interest?

    Isn’t there an apparent conflict of interest when a civil servant is required to audit the actions of his superior, particularly when the superior has control over his subordinate’s employment assessments?  Doesn’t the Public Service Management Law prohibit civil servants from acting when there is an apparent conflict of interest?

    I am also very perplexed by the findings that appear to say that although one of more of the published rules and statutory requirements regarding recruitment were not followed, that is somehow not serious. I had thought that the Bill of Rights, I think it is section 19, means that all the rules and all of the law had to be followed and that if the rules and the law weren’t followed then the decision of the interview panel was unlawful. I also thought that another section of the Bill of Rights, I think section 24, means that if any civil service process does not follow the law then any decision that is made is not lawful and has no effect.

    It has for a very long time appeared to many of us that the senior civil service simply ignores the law when it was expedient and that it also covers things up when it is convenient, but I had hoped that under Mr. Manderson’s oversight, both the requirements of natural justice and the requirements of the Bill of Rights and the requirements of the Public Service Management Law  and the requirements of our other laws would be applied within the civil service. After all, how can our elected officials have any confidence in the reports that say the law was followed in making the appointment if the civil service does not follow the rules and laws they are supposed to in preparing the reports?

    I hope that our MLA’s who asked questions regarding this appointment will not accept these reports but will push for a truly independent investigation that will also be published.

    • facts says:

      please read the reports and listen to what was said in the LA- there was NOTHING wrong with this appointment.

      I listened to the LA proceedings where it was made clear that a few years ago Caymanians in the Land Registry were encourged to further their education so that they could qualify for this post and did not.

      The job was advertised in Cayman, inside Government, on the Registrar of Lands website and attrached a large number of applicants from all over the world.

      In short the best person was chosen- what the readers would have Mr Manderson do… is go out and pay a someone in the private sector $10k to do audit which would have the same results- amazing and a total waste of our money.

      Mr Manderson is right- he has changed the hiring practises in Government which has upset alot of people who cannot now get their family, friends and supporters jobs that they are not qualified for- CNS readers ask  the civil service to get better and when the leaders go about doing just that- BAM!! they can slapped in the face and stupid suggestions are put forward.

      Keep strong Mr Manderson you are doing the right thing!!

    • Anonymous says:

      The rules and laws are only followed when it is convenient to do so.  They suspend and individual from an Authority for having inappropriate profanity on his computer and the old boys school opened their arms and took him back.  Years ago a similar incident happened in a department and the person was fired.  How strange, we turn a blind eye for some folks and dump the others in Hell Fire.  Just a thought.

      Time have certainly changed.

  7. Anonymous says:

    A very trainable young Caymanian was hired at a local insurance company to be trained by an expat. She was not trained, was given a false appraisal and booted ourt the door. So it goes…..

    • Anonymous says:

      So you say, but we can smell the BS.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did this mythical employee sue?  No?  I suppose being a completely invented person being peddled as part of an urban myth might be a problem when it comes to litigation.

    • Anonymous says:

      Troll, troll and thrice troll.  Trolltastic. 

    • anonymous says:

      Probably not, but in your world it did happen.

      Why is it that people here will go out of their way to spin such unbelievable bulls..t rather than give up any of their xenophobic traits?

  8. Anonymous says:

    "Succession planning" is a euphemism in the Cayman employment market.  It means "find a local for the job".  It assumes that there is one in the workplace who will take the position.  In a tiny workforce like Cayman that is not an assumption one can readily make.  Indeed the fcts behind this hire show so starkly that the problem is often not with the emnployer, but the employees.

    • Anonymous says:

      This could only happen in the Cayman Islands.  Their are more of them than us, so we will always be lost in the equation.  Caymanians need to work together and build a stronger foundation to keep our coveted house from falling.

      Their will always be those who look out for their own and castigate the locals, then expect them to do the dirty work and they get the praise.  It happens so often in the workplace.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Looks like Caesar investigating Caesar. For Christs sake DG have someone independent investigate.

    However DG you are spot on with the succession planning bit. How come you have so many non Caymanians as head of Ministries, and Departments?

    • Anonymous says:

      Name them 20:23. And don't include those with Cayman Status. You are full of b.s. There are hardly any.

      • Anonymous says:

        Are those with Status  born Caymanians?   The last time I applied for an birth certificate it stated the place of my birth.  A flight hasn't changed my nationality.

        • Anonymous says:

          My children's birth certificates state George Town, Grand Cayman.

          Yet they are not Caymanians, so your birth place does not change your nationality either.

          • Anonymous says:

            No, ding dong. Born Caymanian means you were a Caymanian at birth not that birth in Cayman made you a Caymanian.  

            • Anonymous says:

              It works like Muggles and Wizards in Harry Potter.  Being born in Hogwarts to Muggle parents means you are still a Muggle. 

      • Anonymous says:

        cayman status or not how can there be loyalty to a country, when one has another Passport  for another country.


        • Anonymous says:

          But Cayman is not a country. 

          • Anonymous says:

            Agreed, but we have our own distinct culture. For example we don't send XMAS cards from our pets to ourselves(as family) like other countries do.

            • Anonymous says:

              So your culture is defined by not sending cards from pets?

              • Anonymous says:

                If you are one of those then no wonder you cant understand Caymanians culture

          • Anonymous says:

            It is refuge for many 11.40.  It is my country.

        • Diogenes says:

          Ask Minister Rivers.

          • Anonymous says:

            She is what she is, whereshe was born, true birth, true citizen, which wasn't bought, born there.  She is entitiled to dual nationality as well.  Not borrowed Cayman Status, as long as she has one or both parents who were born in the Cayman Islands.  Hello, are you reading!  

      • Anonymous says:

        In this day and age there is no acceptable excuse for not having born Caymanians as the heads in all Ministries and Departments

    • Anonymous says:

      We paved the way for them to get the positions and sideline our own.

  10. Anonymous says:

    excellent response from Mr Manderson.

  11. Cayman Concern says:

    We must do a better job with Succession Planning.  Hear hear Cayman Government.  Like it or not locals must work hard and fight for white collar jobs.

    Times have changed.  No longer is it desirable to hire a Caymanian.  Yes, we all pay lip servcie and say we want to hire locally, but you do nothave to look very far at all to see many qualified educated and experienced Caymanians being passed over for an ex-pat hire. We have swallowed a myth that all ex-pats are better than locals.  It is not true and we do have excellent local talent that is being pushed aside.  Hear Hear Franz, let's look at EVERY Authority and Govt Department and IDENTIFY which contracts can be moved into local positions.  It my take mentoring and training, but we need to get off the work permit addiction.

    Instead of continuing to suck on sour grapes, we must instead be proactive and demand better Succession Planning.  We need to mentor and plan.  We need 10 year department plans in ALL Govt departments.  We need 3 year and 5 year job projections (not job protections!!!)

    The CIAA, HSA, ICTA, all woke us up to this serious problem.  I see far too many gaps in Govt: The General Resgistry, Govt IT Dept,GIS, RCIPS, L&S all that should be looking to fill future positoons with locals.

    We are taking steps in the right direction:  University Education, Beefing up the NWDA, Taking FOIs seriously, but Franz is right…  We need better Succession Planning!! 

    The opportunities are THERE.  Both public and private managers need to start working towards a Caymanian workforce and zero local unemployment. 

    Train a Caymanian today and look towards the future tomorrow.  Permits are supposed to be for jobs where we have gaps in local talent, not a choice…remember that?

    • Anonymous says:

      Who in the government is reallly looking out for indigenous Caymanians?  Stop the lip service and dance to the music, this is 2014.  Turn the page in the new book, deal with reality and hire outis\\de help only on permits, which should expire in 2 or 3 years, with no renewal.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This outsider being hired is a good thing at least he wont have to bend the rules for his friends


    • Ok who is HE mentoring ? says:

      Okay new guy…. WHO are YOU training for this job? Succession planning needs a plan! Is this a  2 year contract. (Permit) and what locals are you mentoring to step in and when?

      • Anonymous says:

        Trainging requirements can be difficult.  The trick is to make sure the person you are "training" moves jobs then you carry on as was. 

    • Anonymous says:

      LOL. Ummmm…he won't have to but he will probably bend the rules for his expat friends nonetheless.