Miller calls for change in civil service promotion process

| 05/04/2018 | 78 Comments
Cayman News Service

Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller in the LA, March 2018

(CNS): Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller expressed his frustrations last month over the blame political representatives get for the failings in civil service succession planning and urged the administrative arm of government to stop making competent, qualified and experienced Caymanians in the line of succession for senior posts compete with the whole world for promotion. Miller, the MLA for North Side, said that public servants acting in senior posts should be assessed so that any gaps in their qualifications can be addressed and they can be confirmed in post.

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly, Miller raised the complaints he has received from constituents that Caymanians are often pushed out of the line of succession in the public sector because they are competing with candidates on the open international market and not just other Caymanians. He said it was frustrating for members of the parliament because they have no constitutional say over the civil service and how people are hired, fired, promoted or passed over.

But he said the challenges for locals were real. He pointed to the evidence of local civil servants who are temporarily promoted to act in a senior job, sometimes for years, but that is not taken into account when they are required to compete for the post on the open market with people from all over the world. He noted that in such circumstances, even the best local candidate could be beaten by someone else.

Miller said that if local people are competent enough to act and hold the reins of a senior post, then the government should be helping and supporting those Caymanians to make sure they can qualify for the job. But he said the system was failing.

The opposition leader said that while minor shortcomings of foreign applicants are overlooked, locals are rarely given the benefit of the doubt.

During a parliamentary debate last month on a proposal to designate some key public sector leadership roles, Miller noted that the Public Service Management Law does not have the same requirements to ensure locals are given priority for jobs in the same way that the immigration law stipulates that locals come first.

“I believe every job in the Cayman Islands belongs to a Caymanian unless somebody can prove there isn’t a Caymanian available to fit that position,” he said.

While he said it was obvious the enforcement of the immigration law needs to tighten up in the private sector, Miller was concerned that the requirement does not seem to even apply with the civil service. Saying he did not believe in legislating for certain posts to be restricted to locals only, he maintained that the law as it exists should be interpreted to ensure that local people always take priority in the public sector as well as the private sector.

Pointing directly to the situation at the fire service and the questions over the decision to hire the current chief from overseas, Miller said that members had been told he was taken on specifically for his training experience and to find a local to take the post. He said that the chief fire officer should have completed that task within two years, but as the CFO moves into his third year in post, his successor has still not been identified.

Miller told the LA that this was because of the fundamental problem of getting people to work towards their own departure. He said he believed it would be better to have a Caymanian in the top job with a deputy that may have the missing expertise to work alongside the Caymanian so they can acquire the necessary missing experience or skills.

“People who are coming to this paradise to train Caymanians to hurry back home… isn’t working,” he noted.

He implored the civil service to improve on succession planning so that locals who go off to university or gain experience overseas can believe that when they come home they have an opportunity to progress. Miller said there were too many educated Caymanians who no longer believe they are being given a fair chance in their own country.

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Category: Jobs, Local News, Politics

Comments (78)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    A proposal to reduce the quality of the higher levels of the civil service. How Ezzard.

  2. Anonymous says:

    All these people enjoying paradise. Renting properties owned by Caymanians, spending in the shops, and eating in the restaurants. Just ripping you all off Ezzard. And perhaps look at the charities they all support for the benefit of Cayman, generally without a Caymanian in sight. There are many Caymanians in positions of authority to ensure the proper process is followed.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    “What do we want? A reduction in the quality of senior staff in the civil service! When do we want it? Now for the departments we don’t use ourselves, maybe a little later for the ones that matter to us”

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  4. Anonymous says:

    I know of situation where a civil servant wanted to get promoted above their level of competence because they had passion. Thankfully that didn’t happen.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The bigger concern is that they have a passport, a misplaced belief as to their suitability for a job and the telephone number of one of the many mediocre nativist-leaning politicians.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yup..thankfully many of those newcomers are taking the new passport and going to UK

        • Anonymous says:

          It is not the “newcomers” that are the problem.

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          • Anonymous says:

            I really beg to differ. I have seen the dedicated govt workers of yeas gone. Comparatively they were stars when held up against most of the new opportunists who are arriving in govt daily.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Let me get this straight….Even Caymanians in government don’t want to hire Caymanians for key roles ! The same ugly anti-expat rhetoric should be directed at government, no? It’s a great vote getter.

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    • Perry says:

      Mostly fake news. 75% of the civil service is Caymanian and the vast majority of top jobs are held by capable Caymanians. The DG had made it clear that you must possess the ability to get promoted. Since when is this wrong?

      Sour grapes by a few Caymanians who are not capable and have a track record of substandard performance who complain to their MLA.

      For years we have demanded that the civil service change its hiring and promotion process and focus on performance and merit and now we have it. Get used to it.

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      • GOAB 4th Flr says:

        Please consider the qualifications or lack thereof and track record of Eric Bush as a Chief Officer before you start talking out of your arse. Nepotism plays a big role in who advances in the civil service. How did he get promoted to an ambassadorial role without an interview or panel assessing his abilities? It’s all about who you know and who is looking out for you not a proven track record. The DG and CO of POCS should be honest with people because there has always been different rules for some.

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        • PP says:

          GOAB. Typical crab in bucket mentality by Caymanians.Shame on you. You should be proud of Eric and all that he has achieved for us in the UK.

          The London job was advised at least twice with no capable Caymanian identified. Thankfully for Cayman Eric took the job.

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          • Anonymous says:

            The Caymanian candidates identified wouldn’t accept the low ball package. Look at the total compensation package and allowances paid now. Nepotism wins again.

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          • Anonymous says:

            A person is either qualified for the post or is not. A world class civil service is supposed to be the goal remember?

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        • Anonymous says:

          GOAB. Fake news!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Suitably qualified is such a low standard.

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  6. CCS says:

    it’s so sad that most persons outside of the civil service don’t understand what’s happening to Caymanians in the civil service – Mr. Miller has tried on several occasions to highlight this problem but unfortunately some individuals look at who’s bringing the message rather than what the message is. – there is a Civil Service appeals Commission to deal with aggrieved Civil Servants when it comes to job hiring, the sad and reality part is whenever the Commission rules in favour of the aggrieved civil servant, the Powers “at be”, the DG, Chief Officers does not comply they ( The DG & Chief Officer(s) ) employ who they want whether that individual is qualified or not, Caymanian or expat and i hasten to say in most instances it’s unqualified expats because they’re a friend of a friend. – that good folks is the reality!!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      I know exactly what is happening in the Civil Service. Caymanians are subject to the Peter principal!

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    • SE says:

      CCS. I am not sure which civil service you are referring to but it is not in Cayman. I have been a civil servant for 20 years. I can say that since DG Manderson was appointed the promotion of capable and qualified Caymanians has improved tremendously.

      The reality is that a few civil servants expect the previous conduct of promotion based on how long you have been in the service or just because you have a degree to continue. Sorry to disappoint you CCS. Being capable is the new norm. No promotion for you that’s the reality. Now run to Bernie!!

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    • CEO says:

      CCS. I am not following your rant. I am a CEO and you better believe I employ who I want in my company. Why should it be different in Government? We have been saying for years that the Government should operate like the private sector. I only hire the best and the brightest. I guess the Government is doing the same. Seems fine to me.

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      • Anonymous says:

        private companies and governments always have different goals. One is for profit and the other to serve its people. Imposing your standards on government could have terrible consequences. Your logic is twisted and needs revision.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Stop being jealous of our DG and his talented group of chief officers. Gone are the days of promotion based on tenure favoritism nepotism and political interference. GET used to it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Its not gone away. In fact since McLaughlin got in sadly it is widespread, though with a new dimension in Education. It seems that if you are from a particular church promotion comes your way.

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  8. Mark says:

    Ezzard just chat nothing change in north side from 12 years sad reality

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  9. Anonymous says:

    So he wants a poorer quality and less incentivized civil service? Shows the mindset of certain politicians that the civil service is just a very expensive social welfare program.

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    • Cayman Born says:

      I hope that’s your opinion of what GOOD QUALITY is, and not racial bais!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Generally, I take advice on bias issues from those that can spell the word. But the issue here is that Mr Miller wants a process whereby the ability of the civil service to seek a range of candidates and pick the best one is limited and one where those seeking promotion have less incentive to perform as they know there is less likely to be effective competition when the next post becomes vacant. No racial issues at all there.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Miller has clearly stated he wants to see Caymanians in the top CS jobs. Can’t you read?

  10. Anonymous says:

    But who is acting? I can only think of one long term acting appointments the Chief Immigration Officer. All other posts have been filled with Caymanians. Oh I should have said capable and qualified Caymanians.

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    • Anonymous says:

      They hide it…call it a different name!

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    • Anonymous says:

      The Solicitor General, a few Deputy Chief Officers and the heads of Environmental Health, Hazard Management and maybe other departments are still acting for at least a few months

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      • PP says:

        6:03. You are struggling. SG post advertised twice. Not sure the outcome of the latest adverts. Hazard Mgt adverts just closed. Stop being jealous! DEH vacant for 3 mths. Again you should see the focus here. To get capable persons to fill these key roles. No more promoting persons above their level of competence. Come on you know this.

  11. Anonymous says:

    As far as I know the Public Service Management Law states that you can act in a position for ‘ONE YEAR ONLY”. But as usual our wonderful DG Manderson and his croney Chief Officers DO NOT follow the law. They do as they please with no accountability

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians go abroad to school get degrees, come back here and apply for vacancies and are never even given a chance for the position, yet all you hear is the Caymanian is not educated, I know of one such person who has a Master”s degree in a subject and has put in an application at DOH for months now and has never been contacted. In this Island if you don’t have family members in government to look out for you ” dog eat your supper”and that is how it goes in every place in the Cayman Islands. We just naturally hate our own people and do not want to see them progress.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I came back with a Bachelor’s and was given two job offers within a month. Your mileage may vary – that piece of paper qualifies you, it doesn’t guarantee you.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I do not know if what you say is true. However, could a point out that having a masters degree does not quality you to take on higher positions. A masters is just the starting point not the end.

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    • Dunz says:

      How can a person with a horticultural degree be suitable for immigration (example not fact) all the degree shows is that you might be good at a particular subject. Not experience and capable of all of caymans needs.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is it one of those University of Mickey Mouse degrees from Florida?

  13. Anonymous says:

    4:29 pm….you are so right! what a mess the country is in??? i have a caymanian brother living in new zealand….he even now has australian citizenship! he say nuttin here for caymanians anymore…pure stress y bills supporting the rich!!!? there may be some truth to the reasoning, as i feeling it living here?

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    • Anonymous says:

      In NZ with Australian citizenship…right…right. Supporting the rich eh? Do tell how, I am intrigued. There is always space for those that want to do it, the right way.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Some evidence that wanton self-pity and melodrama might be genetic.

  14. Anonymous says:

    As an expat I find myself agreeing with Miller for perhaps the first time. It’s crazy that CIG seemingly can’t train their own for roles in the CS. You don’t exactly need an Ivy League degree to be a small town fire chief. So why hasn’t the CFO managed to find his replacement? Has anyone actually asked him or did they just not like the answer?

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  15. Anonymous says:

    “I believe every job in the Cayman Islands belongs to a Caymanian unless somebody can prove there isn’t a Caymanian available to fit that position,” he said.
    So why does government work so hard to get rid of expats? The proof is that businesses have tried to hire Caymanians but whether qualified or not, unfortunately, time after time locals prove unreliable when it comes to being on time, calling in “sick”, or even just not showing up. Truth….happens where I work all the time. Yes…all the time. Easter weekend being the latest example. Bring on any holiday and at least one person calls in “sick”. Again…truth. Hate to say it but it’s true. I could go on and on but you get the point.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I would recommend a look at your hiring practice. As a Caymanian myself I can say that you may keep choosing the same “type” and might I add, that “type” exists all over the world. We are out there. Caymanians who take their jobs seriously and show up on time and…..and… I REFUSE to allow you and all like you to continue sharing this image. I have children who will soon be in the job force, and what an image to have about you as a people that a few have caused before you even start to work.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Your assessment of ‘qualification’ is subjective. Do you need a Caymanian with a PhD to do yard work but a UK high school drop-out to do the same job? A person can either do the job or not. Your “all the time” rant doesn’t convince us either. Get the point?

  16. 8:19 says:

    Well said! Now let’s get some long overdue action.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Sorry leader of opposition promotions for the acting civil servants is blocked by the top civil servants because the top civil servants always want to have the power so that they can have all of the say and have their way in the civil service startig from the deputy governor. Leader of opposition it is like beating a dead horse.0

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    • UnCivil Servant says:

      It starts at the top with Franz Manderson Gloria Nixon and Premier Alden who ultilise a sliding scale of standards when dealing with certain Caymanians. They only help who they want to when they want to. Yet all benefitted from the system providing opportunities for them. They facilitate the double standards in the civil service and government.

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    • Anonymous says:

      1:53 That’s right the deputy governor is suppose to have his way. After all he is the head of the civil service.

      Stop being jealous!!

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  18. Anonymous says:

    picture says it all ….

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  19. Tut Alors! says:

    Mr Miller needs to recognise you cannot train innate ability and intelligence. If the candidates for the Fire Chief were so poor that an expatriate had to be recruited is it surprising that the Chief has not yet been able to “train” a successor despite his long experience in precisely that area of expertise.

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    • Fire man 345 says:

      Chief Hails does not have the qualifications to hold the position. Look at the job description and his resume. As usual it’s one standard for the expat a separate standard for the Caymanian

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      • Anonymous says:

        Fire man 345. Tearing down your boss is one sign that you are not fit for a leadership position. Tell us who in the fire service is capable of doing a good job as chief. Buju?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well to be fair… it is hard to find a successor when you’re busy enjoying paradise.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I so feel for the inflictions that people like you have been through over generations to cause you to repeat nonsense generation after generation. Do you really think not one could be trained or is capable of the top job? Men who have held jobs for decades. Be the first to reflect. Not just on this, but history where this same retoric and mind game was played . The game of you are not ready….you are not good enough.

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    • Anonymous says:

      On this same logic, how is an expat any better then?

  20. Anonymous says:

    There are too many Caymanian not even coming home from university # truth…

    How’s that for a return on investment offseting the work permit revenue huh Gov’t??? And in return u can’t even say that u helped your own ppl

    Bet u didn’t engage EY or KPMG for that

    pound wish pound foolish!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      So basically the Caymanian college grads are becoming expats in other countries while the expats on permits are becoming “Caymanians”. That’s a great trade off… NOT!!!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Actually it does work for both sides. Who’s losing out?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Those Caymananians electing to stay overseas will come back with a much better understanding of how life really works, good experience and be able to drag certain elements into the 21st Century

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Believing that they are not getting a fair chance and fact are often separated by a reality gap. Having said that, we have got to get the education system to adopt a holistic approach, not just teaching skills but also work ethic, so that gap disappears. If you look at Guernsey and Jersey, their education system is excellent and their MPs are reasonably intelligent, and all are focused on what is right for their Islands. They are successful as a result, and people mostly thriving.

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    • Anonymous says:

      …..”and their MPs are reasonably intelligent”…….Well, you see there is a major difference between them and us right there, bobo.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I think you will find that the education systems on the two islands you have mentioned are not excellent. Indeed you only have to look at the entrenched class structure to realise that education in these two places does not serve the purpose of its working class.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would suggest all potential expats read these and many others comments before uprooting yourself and family andcommitting to come to a country where you will be vilified, where there is less than honesty in the hiring process, where if you actually try to do the job that needs doing your contract will not be renewed and last but not least where you will quickly become deskilled.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Oh dear. Mr Grumpy is alive and well. Private schools are great here. Why do you think those Caymanians that are able to send their kids to those places and not the state ones?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard – make them apply for work permits and problem solved. There is no valid reason for most positions not to be subject to the same rules as the private sector, other than an unwillingness to be accountable!

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