Officials call for civil servants’ payoffs to be public

| 16/01/2018 | 32 Comments

(CNS): Public Accounts Committee Chair Ezzard Miller and the auditor general have both said that the amount paid to senior civil servants who are let go from government should be made public because the people are ultimately footing the bill. With unsubstantiated claims from numerous sources that the former chief immigration officer was given more than $2 million in the latest closed-door government payoff, Miller said that these amounts must be disclosed.

Auditor General Sue Winspear pointed out that the payoffs should appear in the relevant public authority’s annual accounts but that the money paid to any departing senior civil servant should be published. She said that even if the details of an agreement and the circumstances surrounding someone’s departure are part of a non-disclosure agreement, the public has a right to know how much has been paid out.

She told CNS that there still needs to be more transparency around government finances, as she noted the damaging effect that secrecy has, undermining the trust of both the Legislative Assembly, which is supposed to have final oversight on government money, and the people, who pay the money into the government coffers in the first place.

Winspear said that often in such case public money is being spent because of some kind of mismanagement, and while large payments may have to be made to comply with the employment law, those amounts should be disclosed. “Ultimately, something has gone awry and the public needs to know,” she said.

Miller, who is the opposition leader as well as PAC chair, also said that these deals should be public. “The government has to stop making settlements with negligent personnel with public money behind closed doors,” he told CNS.

Over the last decade government has paid out tens of millions of dollars in payments to senior staff for a long list of reasons, from the multi-million dollar payoffs to a high court judge and senior police officers caught up in the controversial Operation Tempura investigation to the recent payoff to former chief immigration officer Linda Evans, who was on paid leave for almost three years before the deal for what is believed to be one of the highest payments ever made to a departing civil servant was made.

Evans was originally accused of wrongdoing but no official details have ever been made public about the accusations made against her, though it is widely understood that it related to an alleged misuse of her discretionary powers to grant residency.

With dozens of civil servants further down the pecking order on required leave for one reason or another, those facing criminal allegations will either be fired if convicted or returned to work if their names are cleared. But where a high-profile member of staff is either wrongly accused of something or has allegations hanging over them that cannot be proved, their return to work after years of enforced absence can be challenging.

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson recently said he had plans to deal with the situation of civil servants on required leave or suspension on full pay for long periods while misconduct, corruption or criminal charges are dealt with.

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly during the budget debate in November, he said that over the last year the number of public servants on required leave while receiving full pay has fallen from 26 to 16 — eleven people were fired and 14 were back on the job — but that in future the time that civil servants spend at home being paid by the public purse would be limited.

However, Manderson has not said anything about lifting the veil of secrecy surrounding the settlements.

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Category: Government Finance, Politics

Comments (32)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    if i got paid off from government, i wouldnt want anyone to know!!! but it usually leaks by a selected few civil servants anyways…..?

  2. Anonymous says:

    There MUST also be public details on all the CIG lawsuit payouts (or wins).

    • Shhhhhhhhhh. says:

      Totally agree. Good for you Mr. Ezzard, the public should be in the know, as these settlements and pay outs add up to a very large sum I suspect. It would also good to see where they arise from.

  3. Tut alors!. says:

    These payouts for incompetence are absolutely appalling and unsupportable. Every Caymanian except the recipients should be outraged, but to some they have accepted a complete lack of accountability and corruption in Government as the norm.

  4. Uncivil Servant says:

    The results of the continued appointing of incompetents.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The Standards in Public Life Law 2014, is still out there, waiting to be enacted by nobody willing to do so.

  6. BELONGER says:

    The next question is “How much did the last Prison Boss leave with” ?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Justifying “hush money” would defeat its purpose.

  8. Anonymous says:

    First things first. Surely the rules and regulation procedures should determine the length of time and amount of money these laid off/ suspended civil servants gets. Private sector employees also have their procedures to follow. If it is deemed too much them amend the rules. Every person is entitled to their privacy and safety whether they are public service workers or private. I do not agree with the auditor general nor anyone on making this public. Exposing these people’s business to the criminal elements is not the way to go. Amend the rule book, instead of full pay why not half pay, and instead of dragging it on for years just wrap it up within six months.

  9. Ghost Leaders says:

    Kudos to Mr Miller and Ms Winspear for saying the only thing that could be said about this abhorrent practice. That’s what leaders do.
    Meanwhile, Helen. Alden and Franz have never been heard from. If you put them through a juicer, you couldn’t squeeze 2 onces of leadership out of either one.

    • Anonymous says:

      I know that Ghosts have taken leave of their senses. But come on Ghost you can come up with a more sensible comment than that. Especially since Franz is mentioned in the article.

    • Anon says:

      Ghost Leader you need to learn how to read. The article clearly quotes Franz Manderson and who inherited an awkward Civil Service that will take years to rehabilitate. Premier Alden just can’t make the same noise like the GhettoBlaster Ezzard, who do not do squat, and just eats up a big salary without adding any value to the LA.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I hear Roydel Carter the Director of Department of Environment Health is now negotiating his departure which will also have a NDC

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is old fake news.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This will not end until Chief Officers are held accountable. They do not have a clue as to how to manage HR matters and then when you add spitefulness and personal feeling to the mix then they just continue to waste government money. There are a number of civil servants on required leave whose matter is over 3 years old and not being dealt with and it cannot be proven that they have done anything wrong. How are they supposed to return to work with the mental and emotional damage that has been done to them not to mention their integrity in the community. Chief Officers are not held accountable and are permitted to play with peoples lives. This is also supported by the Deputy Governor who has his finger up his arse in these matter.

  13. Anonymous says:

    All good points….but change very unlikely!
    Too many connected people selfishly benefiting!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Seemingly it pays to break the rules. No wonder everyone wants into the CIG.

    • Anonymous says:

      Remember, the payouts are because of the innocence of the accused. So, no, it doesn’t pay to break the rules. It pays to do things right, even if you get accused of something later.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Ms Winspear, good try and you are right. But it is NOT going to happen here. This is Cayman not the U.K. where a mixture of the media and parliamentary committees would expose these pay offs.

  16. Anonymous says:

    It is ironic to hear about transparency in government payoffs when the entire government operates under a veil of secrecy. The Rich report is a perfect example of public funds paying for an immigration report that was deemed too explosive for public review.
    This culture, country and government are built upon secrecy.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Rich Report was NOT an immigration report, it was legal advice to the Government. Would you let other people see your lawyer’s advice to you?

  17. Anonymous says:

    but why? the person ultimately becomes a target, a locals believe it us their money? not tge governments?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Wondering how many more lawsuits they will have to settle or hand money under the table with all the arrests of Civil Servants last year alone and we have yet to hear anything further. Surely if they had anything concrete we would know something by now.

  19. Anonymous says:

    How can an nda protect public expenditures? What other ‘payments’ are being protected from scrutiny?

  20. Anonymous says:

    The manager of person who is negligent should be fired and a portion of their pension should be settled to pay off those who were harmed.

    This is a game that jamaicans know and play well, most of these settlements are scams from people playing both sides and who will all share in the settlement. Pure corruption.

    • Anonymous says:

      What does this have to do with Jamaicans?

      • Anonymous says:

        RIght, Jamaca is just a country whos #1 import is from scamming elders in Florida. That scammster work-ethic is not at all influential and does not shape how half of georgetown is turning into slums with wandering drugged out walkers with porch-monekys on every street at all working hours of the day. Jamaicans certainly are not the geneisis of crime on this islands at all levels and in all creative forms.Certinaly Not.

        • Anonymous says:

          Blame your wanna be “gansta” Caymanians who are so easily lead. Sick of hearing how other countries corrupt and influence these poor Caymanian criminals who apparently can’t think for themselves and decipher right from wrong.

  21. Anonymous says:

    The question needs to be asked who is making these terrible HR decisions and causing government an ultimately the Cayman public such outrageous payouts. We are all aware that 2 or 3 of the less recent situations were caused by a former Premier. All of these occurrences should be exposed and the public given the opportunity to hold accountable those who are mismanaging talent or the lack of it in the civil service. Likewise these persons are held accountable just as if they had mismanaged public funds. It is truly a joke now, get a big paying job in CIG, get into some questionable dealings, or upset a politician and just like that become a millionaire on the backs of the Cayman people. Whistleblowers are only as good as the system in place to research and document accusations and ultimately hold accountable those responsible our who cried woof. One final suggestion please dear God dont have the ever present special advisor to the Dep Gov. cook up another reason to be paid with a new policy and system developed off the internet, cut and pasted then accepted by the basket of deplorables in the civic service HR ‘elite’ but never implemented. Suppose the next winner in the civil service millionaire lottery will be a certain Chief Officer who appears hell bent on destroying any Minister ‘served’ by making them look like a real twat, whilst only socializing with the rich and famous who visit rather than the Caymanian people they are paid to serve, with a level of media self absorption that would make the Kardashians look modest ….

    • Anonymous says:

      Transparency is all we are asking, it is our money. Those who dole out our money are accountable to the people whose money they are doleing out. No ifs, ands or maybes about it. The recipients of the public chest should have no qualms about it.

    • Anonymous says:

      The voters elect the Cabinet ministers that put non-cooperative civil servants on long paid gardening vacations and then quietly settle with balloon retirement hush payments from our collective pocket. Not much that HR can do about that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bit early to be drunk,11:16

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