(CNS): The majority of the 31 public servants who are on required leave and suspended from their jobs on full pay are facing criminal proceedings in the courts, the deputy governor revealed Wednesday as Finance Committee began scrutinising spending on the civil service. Franz Manderson told legislators that the majority, though not all, suspended government employees were facing court cases and as a result it was difficult for them to address the timelines that people are not working and still receiving full pay. Although no names were mentioned, Manderson said that in at least one instance a worker had been suspended for four years awaiting a court case.
He said there were others that had also been waiting for a long time but the service was looking into ways to resolve the situation of public sector workers on leave for very long periods on full pay without waiting for court decisions.
Manderson said that where it was clear there was a breach of civil service protocols, it could be possible to deal with their circumstances before cases are resolved in the court. He said he was looking to see if civil service regulations could accommodate disciplinary hearings and possible removal from the service.
However, he said there may be circumstances where government employees could also move to a different department or role depending on the circumstances of the suspension. However, where civil servants are convicted of a crime they are more than likely dismissed but where they are exonerated by the courts, the service can take them back, he said.
Ezzard Miller (North Side) asked why they remain on full pay and not, as was the case in the past, on half-pay, which would provide an incentive for the public sector worker to press for a resolution. The deputy governor noted that the policy changed more than a decade ago because there had been cases where civil servants lost their homes and were suffering significant hardship on half salaries only to be exonerated later.
The civil servants currently on required leave cover a wide range of workers, from very senior officers on significant salaries and benefits to those in lower ranks, and covers a number of departments, though they are dominated by the uniform branches.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer John Bodden, who is charged in a hit and run case and was suspended last summer, and immigration officer Nicholas Tibbetts, who is charged with causing the death of a cyclist in another hit and run, are among those facing court cases.
But there are several other civil servants in senior posts that are not, including Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans, who has never been arrested or charged with any crimes but has been on required leave for over 18 months. She was suspended in December 2014 for alleged and undisclosed infractions relating to immigration issues.
Not all civil servants charged with crimes are on required leave. At least two police officers facing assault charges over the use of a Taser on a suspect are still on duty.