DG warns MLAs of politicizing CS

| 22/06/2016 | 29 Comments
Cayman News Service

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson in the LA, 29 April 2016

(CNS): The deputy governor, who has responsibility for civil servants, warned MLAs Wednesday not to politicize the service as he engaged in an acrimonious exchange with independent MLA Arden McLean (East End) and tried to address concerns raised by Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush (West Bay) over human resource complaints. As lawmakers asked various questions that strayed into the non-political branch of government, Franz Manderson made it clear he would not be forced into responding.

When McLean quizzed him on the case relating to the controversial “covert video” case at the prison, Manderson revealed that government was talking to the lawyer of the senior officer sacked over the affair, who has filed suit, but he refused to say anymore.

McLean directed Manderson to the Constitution and parts relating to answering committee questions before he asked if the talks related to her being reinstated or getting a pay-off, and asked for more details of what had transpired to lead to her dismissal.

But the deputy governor refused to answer and said matters that may be sub judice should not be discussed in the Legislative Assembly. He said there was nothing in the Constitution that said he was responsible to the member or had to answer his questions relating to human resource issues for civil servants.

”I am not going to manage the civil service down here. There is a clear separation of powers,” he said.

Manderson said he was willing to go out of his way to help MLAs where he could and give them private briefings if necessary when it concerned legal or confidential issues but he refused to get into the details of a case which was before the courts in the open Chamber.

As members pointed out that they were receiving complaints from their constituents who were civil servants about how they were being treated and needed to raise them, the deputy governor said he understood that but the law and regulations and the Constitution were clear.

However, McKeeva Bush said that was part of his concern. MLAs do not go into details about civil service matters, but Bush said he did not think that was right because they get a “tremendous amount of queries and complaints on our doorsteps about every conceivable matter”.

Bush said that where he could help constituents he tried to do so but there was only so much he could do — something he thought that public servants needed to know because members are asked by constituents about these matters but there were few options on how they could help.

Pointing to the limitations of parliamentary questions, the opposition leader wanted to know where politicians should go to get answers for their constituents who expected them to act.

Earlier on he had raised the issue of customs officers who were forced into retirement and how secret staff deals caused concern and impacted morale among government workers.

“I was told to keep out of civil service issues … but as soon as there are problems they come to us,” he added.

However, Deputy Governor Manderson said he should maintain a neutral public service.

“We do not want a political civil service which is tied to particular politicians and that’s the danger of taking this too far,” he said.

Urging MLAs to bring their concerns from constituents directly to him, he said they could hold him accountable, but they should not be trying to deal with human resources disputes in the LA as that could not be right and would not work.

Finance Committee Chair Marco Archer said the committee needed to take legal advice over how far questions could go on these issues and steered members towards speaking to the deputy governor in camera.

But McLean objected, saying that too many things happened “off air”. He said trying to go through official protocols did not work because the questions were not answered and he accused Archer of facilitating officials not to answer to the elected arm.

“I have tried doing private briefings but there were no tangible results,” he said and implied Archer was protecting the deputy governor from answering queries publicly. McLean said that even when he had been told that a matter had been resolved by the DG, the reality for the civil servant in question was that “nothing, absolutely nothing, has happened … nothing at all changed”, as he pressed his right to question government officials publicly.

Describing himself as an advocate for the people with a responsibility to act for them, he claimed that his “responsibilities are being stymied” and said he would make sure people knew that.

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Category: Government Finance, Local News, Politics

Comments (29)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Poor Franz. I feel for him. After all he is stuck between a Block and a Hair Piece.




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  2. Anonymous says:

    Proud of you Franz. You show them who the man is. A good example for other senior civil servants to follow. Sometimes these elected members forget they are just that, elected by the people for a term and want to act as God over all. Thanks for keeping them in their place. You the man!




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    • Anonymous says:

      The problem is however, who do you go to when there is a problem with the senior civil servants themselves, or through victimization from a government.




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  3. Changes says:

    Marco is sounding like Alden more and more every day. That tells you something! He wasnt genuine when they started off.




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  4. Anonymous says:

    Could we please be told why the Immigration Laws that bind the private sector are not applied to the Civil Service? Could we please be told what divine right allows expats in the civil service at every level to have their children educated for free at the expense of the Caymanian people?

    These forgot who they are working for. It is time for the rail to stop wagging the dog and for the Caymanian people and the private sector who pay for this largesse, whilst suffering the consequences, to demand accountability?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Because they cant find Caymanians who will do it properly? And there is a price for everything, you cannot employ expats on terms less favourable than Caymanians…Ask a stupid question




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      • Anonymous says:

        There is no lawful reason whty all expats and organizations cannot be held accountable to the same system. If a Caymanian cannot be found then of course an expat should get a work permit.




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        • Rhett says:

          Caymanians are found. Many fitting or over qualified for the position. They are kicked aside in favor of expats. Any expat. And when they want to fire a Caymanian to hire an expat, they often use the term redundant’.




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    • Anonymous says:

      well I understand the head office of the Portfolio of the Civil Service themselves don’t hire Caymanians. They just promoted a PR holder to a deputy chief officer post and also hired another expat to do HR Consulting. They are not held to the same standards.




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  5. Anonymous says:

    The DG needs to understand that he does not represent the people of the Cayman Islands. It is the elected representatives that carry the mandate of the people and it is the elected representatives that will be held accountable if the people do not feel represented.




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    • Kenny says:

      6:59. You are missing the point. MLA’S are forbidden by the constitution to get involved in civil service matters.

      Do you want a civil service under the control of Arden and Bernie?

      I thought we have complained for years about civil service political appointees who can’t do their jobs.

      Thank you DG for standing up against this awful behaviour.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Arden only represents his people (a few hundred) not “the” people. He and the Bushites are not in charge. Thank God.




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  6. Caymanian on guard says:

    They should be told to use their chain of command/ concern.. Mr. Manderson you are making a difference, and anyone who would entertain the idea of jumping the chain of command. Is more a disruption than help.. I thought we had a complaints commissioner…




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  7. Anonymous says:

    The waste of money poured into a third rate civil service which is really a large scale social security organization is a legitimate is for political discourse. Trying to silence that discourse is a disgrace, especially when the person doing the moaning has turned out to be the de facto mouthpiece of the civil service union.




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  8. Anonymous says:

    Mr Manderson – stick to your guns. It is time that whining Civil Servants should no longer be able to go to their MLA and get political influence to protect them from their failure to perform in their appointed positions. The CS is a “Political” animal whose voting power has for too long influenced the decisions/thinking of MLA’s.




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  9. Bean Counter says:

    Franz is being economical with the truth again. Senior Civil Servants are frequently carrying out front line political functions on behalf of the elected government. For example Chief Officer for Home Affairs Eric Bush frequently speaks on behalf of the politicians when promoting changes to the Immigration Laws and policies. This clearly is blurring the line between politicians and the civil servants so the Deputy Governor cannot have it both ways.

    The civil service is the expensive albatross that strangles multiple elected governments due to a lack of accountability, nepotism and protectionist policies that costs the country millions every year but as the largest union and voting block controls the elected government.

    Chief Officers are more powerful than Cabinet Ministers who do not lose their jobs no matter how poorly they perform and nobody in GOAB wants any changes to the Public Service Management Law especially the Deputy Governor Franz Manderson.




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  10. Anonymous says:

    I am so proud of our Deputy Governor. MLA’S have no business in civil service matters and civil servants needs to stop trying to get MLA’S to get them jobs and promotions they do not deserve. Thank you DG for standing up to these MLA’s. We know it is not easy but you are clearly the man for the job.




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  11. Anonymous says:

    hold your ground Manderson don’t let these politicians try and rule you too. Election coming up Adren Mclean need to go back to school seriously . just saying




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    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah…all the grand standing now is him gearing up for elections after being MIA for the last 3 plus years in this term. Well from what my fellow east end people tell me he’d better watch himself this coming election. We need change. We cannot continue to be used as Mclean’s foot stool.




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    • Sonia says:

      I listen to finance committee over the pass 10 days and feel ashamed of Bernie Bush Arden and Ezz. Their attack on civil servants they don’t like is a discrace. Including a serious attack on a Caymanian in PWD.

      I will never vote for any of them. They some how believe that this gross political interference in the civil service is their jobs. IT’S NOT.

      do you job … empower our people, stop trying to push them into jobs they don’t deserve and can’t do. Stop the victimisation ….I was going to allow my 14 year old child to listen in but after hearing the above persons in action I refused to allow my child to be exposed to that kind of unprofessional behavior.

      MLA’S you are supposed to be role models stop the hate and political interference.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Agreed, this has to stop. MLA’s should not be using political privilege or house immunity to make slanderous and defamatory attacks on CS workers, (or anyone else without a damn good reason that’s in the country’s interest). I hear that some are ‘paper Caymanians’ who the members for EE and NS seem to be deliberately gunning for through prejudice and racism. This appears to be personal, I hope the police are watching.
        They need to remember their responsibilities to all of the people, not just their personal parliamentary rights, personal attacks will cost the CIG dearly if they don’t get a grip of Arden and Ezzard.




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        • Anonymous says:

          The two gentlemen you refer to do not seem to be hampering your ability to speak your mind publicly here on CNS.

          Why do you begrudge those two gentlemen their right to speak as they see fit about the things that bother them?




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  12. Anonymous says:

    I can only imaging the amount of crying, whinging, tattle tailing, backstabbing, and foolishness that goes on between bushymcstatusface and his loyal lackeys. Crimany, what a crazy,crazy, wacky, stupid, childish world goes on in the back yards of west bay and east end. Did I mention crazy and stupid?




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  13. Anonymous says:

    Franz. The civil service contains a great number of hard working wonderful people who are a true credit to any organisation. It also contains a number of total nightmares including persons promoted above their competence. The result is that our laws are being ignored, our money wasted, and the next generation deprived of the education they will need to fix the mess we are leaving for them. There is nowhere near the accountability the voting public, and our representatives, are entitled to expect.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Very true and cross the board 2.2% bonus without performance consideration gives no incentive to the courtious and hard working. I don’t want Mac back but Alden’s needs to do more for the people then vote buying tactics such as blanket bonuses for CS and window dressing temporary ditch digging jobs for the unemployed. Our successful Caymanian business leaders would likely not have been given the opportunities to succeed if our current immigration policy of permits for everyone was in place.




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  14. Anonymous says:

    The day that disgruntled civil servants can get disgruntled MLAs like Miller, McLean and the West Bayers, who (the West Bayers) for years have been close to firemen and customs officers called Ebanks and Powery, to dictate what goes on in the civil service is the day we are truly effed as politicians put their people in place then when they lose the election the next group have to put THEIR people in place. Every civil servant who doesn’t get promoted, permission to do something or get a duty allowance or some other crap runs to these politicians (usually with lies or at best misrepresentations) who love to pretend they are important ombudsmen representing their constituents’ interests when in reality they are just small time village representatives pretending to their (very often no hoper) complainers that they can do something for them.




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