Jefferson to lead on government books

| 26/02/2016 | 28 Comments
Cayman News Service

Kenneth Jefferson, Financial Secretary

(CNS): Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson has been formally identified as the person to take charge of core government’s overall financial reporting, the deputy governor has confirmed. After years of warnings from the Office of the Auditor General that a leader had to be appointed to deal with the ongoing weaknesses in government accounting, Franz Manderson told the Public Accounts Committee that Jefferson, who is also chief officer in the ministry of finance, was taking the lead on efforts to address the remaining problems.

Acting Auditor General Garnet Harrison and his team outlined the many remaining challenges faced by government on the issue after the consolidated accounts for 2014 received an adverse opinion. Manderson agreed that there were many areas that needed improving and much work had been done on issues of governance and internal control. He said he had now clarified that the financial secretary was the leader of the financial function for core government and that the chief financial officers would work with him towards timely reporting to Cabinet.

Jefferson told the committee that Accountant General Matthew Tibbetts was now meeting regularly with those CFOs and that a handbook was being issued on how transactions should be treated and the standardisation of financial reporting. He said that a local consultant had been hired to develop a methodology to ensure that ministries and portfolios are reporting all the revenues that government should be collecting properly, among other issues for the consolidated entire public sector (ESP) accounts.

Jefferson noted that there were many challenges ahead, including the problems of reporting the public service pension liabilities and the valuations of government assets, which were part of the reason why the ESP accounts received an adverse opinion.

He said the long anticipated changes to the Public Management and Finance Law were also in the works but it would be June before the finance ministry would have a full draft ready for Cabinet.

Manderson was more upbeat about the government’s prospects, as he once again claimed government would get 99% clean audits for the upcoming financial year, despite the catalogue of problems that Harris outlined, such as weaknesses in the government’s internal controls and revenue environment.

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Category: Government Finance, Government oversight, Politics

Comments (28)

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  1. Diogenes says:

    Here’s an idea. Let’s appoint Bruce Blake. He has excellent experience in ensuring full transparency and public accounting, and has significant experience in dealing with public concerns that former management are never the best people to clean up a questionable system .

  2. Anonymous says:

    As a civil servant, the problem I find is the fight for the empire. We follow the British and he British desperatly copy the Americans and finding out that their systems stifle growth…ouch cringe teeth but its true. The E&Y report was just that to move Cayman out of a quasi 1960 UK style economy liberating industry. Not included curiously was the breaking Of oligarchy protectionism. Anyways the.mocking of British style of administration with Ministries etc needs to be reconsidered. The singular advancement that would move to changing the productivty would be an abolishment Of customs duty taxes and being replaced by a matrix of charges on garbage, electricity, water and transportation ( eg road.use). Thus allowing greater proficiency in trade.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Now it’s up to Ken Jefferson to prove whether he’s up to the job. I wish him good luck, he is going to need it!

    • Anonymous says:

      From what I understand he has failed before he get started because it seems like he does not have control over the staff that is has to rely on to produce the accounts for consolidation. He is doomed for failure.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Fine example of picking the worst for the job and expecting better results. Mercy on us.

  5. JTB says:

    Well my one experience of Kenneth Jefferson, where he took 2 years to answer an uncomplicated letter, does not bode well for this development…

  6. Anonymous says:

    And he’s lead the way for how many years now!! What a farce.. Cayman you can’t make your $hit up……Love it.

    • Anonymous says:

      The poster who explained that the CFOs do not report to the FS but to their Chief Officers in their own ministries and portfolios made a lot of sense to me. So don’t blame the FS — when government decentralized, the CFOs effectively were answerable to the Chief Officers in their ministries and portfolios. The Chief Officers are empowered to ensure their CFOs and all the managers down the line do their job. That is why they are bring paid those big bucks. Blame them for not doing their jobs.

      I don’t know if under these circumstances Jefferson will have very much power to get this job done.

      • Anonymous says:

        No . Everyone is resposible for theren own job. If you can’t do the job it’s not your supervisors fault ……but your response was not a surprise.

  7. Anonymous says:

    More evidence that Manderson has achieved nothing and he is scared of upsetting the civil service powers that be.

  8. Albert Einbanks says:

    Isn’t this the very definition of insanity?

    • Anonymous says:

      Believing Franz will ever achieve anything beyond the introduction of the inane civil servant of the month badge.

      • Uncivil Servant says:

        And a world famous 5K

        • Anonymous says:

          yes Civil Service awards which has really inspired civil servants and shown the public the great talent in the civil service

          yes the DG5K challenge which has become the most successful 5k in the history of our islands- promoting a healthy lifestyle and raising money for great causes.

          yes- for this first time since the introduction of the PMFL not one civil service entity received an adverse or disclaimer opinion from the auditor general.

          yes- all civil servants now have performance agreements and their performance is assessed each year. Before Manderson took over 17% of the civil service had a performance agreement.

          yes- clarified who is the leader of the finance function in government- a move welcomed by the Auditor General after years of asking for this to be clarified

          yes- has oversaw the development of new governance structures to ensure value for money and a greater chance that projects will be successful.

          yes- civil servants are being held accountable and fired.

          yes- filled the collector of customs, chief accountant, chief officer education and number of other key posts with highly qualified Caymanians.

          yes- I could keep going on.

          sorry Franz haters the facts speak for themselves.

          Mr Manderson do not be deterred by the negative posters remember the words of Sir Winston Churchill

          You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.

          • Anonymous says:

            Mainly administrative puff that was simple, should have been done years ago and only happened because the expat Auditor General said it had to be done. He singularly failed to stand up the Civil Service union when he tried to cut numbers and work on pay reform. That was he main job and he will be remembered by failing to deliver on it.

          • Anonymous says:

            To say that all civil servants have performance agreements and are appraised each year since Franz took over is a lie that will make the Devil look small. That is what Franz would have the public believe. I challenge you and him to produce the evidence of this claim that there are agreements in place for civil servants. I have over twenty five years with government in a fairly senior position and I know personally that not even Deputy Chief Officers and HoD’s have signed agreements. I also assure you that as soon as this comment is posted circulars will start flying within the civil service from a top down approach.

          • SSM345 says:

            6:00, so what your saying is that in a years time our Civil Service will be cut in half due to these “performance agreements” correct?

      • Anonymous says:

        1:09 you must surely work in a cage- the only work place in the free world that doesn’t reward good performance.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Mr Jefferson and the former chief officer in Finance who is now thankfully retired should have been the ones making the financial system perform in the first place. Instead for years and years they covered up each other’s inadequacies and blamed everything except their own incompetence. Why would he do any better now?

    • Anonymous says:

      The DG just set up the FS with the intention of driving the final nail in his coffin. The DG did not utter a single word about a key factor that MUST be addressed in order for the initiative to be effective. That key factor is a CHANGE in the REPORTING STRUCTURE where chief financial officers are concerned. The only way that this can work is for the chief financial officers to report directly to the FS on the preparation and submission of the accounts at a minimum.

      Failure to do this is leaving the FS wide open for definite failure and ALL fingers will be pointed at him, starting with the DG. We all know how he loves to take the lead on everything that will give him credit.

      The FS can only prepares a consolidated report if the chief financial officers of the respective ministries and portfolios submit them to him in a timely and audit-able state.

      The FS had better stand his ground and demand that the chief financial officers are made to report to him on government accounts.

      Take my word for it. You are being set up by Franz unless you have them reporting to you.

      Finally, the public need to understand that the FS is not to be blamed for this issue. Why? It is because the chief financial officers does not take any instructions from the FS. They all report to their individual chief officers. They can and have been ignoring the FS plea for the accounts for years. The FS can not discipline them because they don’t work for him. So come on Cayman – wake up and understand where the real issue is.

  10. Anonymous says:

    ..a handbook was being issued on how transactions should be treated..
    Who are the people who need this handbook? Certainly not accountants or bookkeepers. Those use GAAP, not a handbook.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Incompetence on full display with this announcement Mr. Manderson

  12. Anonymous says:

    Great to see a brave appointment of an outsider to shake things up. Shows leadership.

  13. Anonymous says:

    There are a lot of congratulations extended to Franz Manderson on the “good work” he’s doing with reforming the Civil Service. Firstly, he has no choice but to finally follow the Auditor General’s recommendations, or lose his own job (highly unlikely though, for the wrong reasons). That action on these recommendations has now followed repeated recommendations does not speak well about Mr. Manderson’s performance – his actions are not his initiative, they are now mandated.

    Secondly, let’s see how effective his leadership will be by observing how well his actions translate to real changes!!

  14. Bean Counter says:

    As FS he was supposed to be doing this as a key responsibility for the job.

    OMG you can hear some real BS coming from the DG and government with zero consequences. Anybody knows what exactly the FS has been doing all these years?

    • Anonymous says:

      You know the phrase “poacher turned gamekeeper”? In the local governance dictionary the equivalent is “ineffective gamekeeper turned ineffective gamekeeper”.

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