Finance ministry is the star of PAC ‘Oscars’

| 28/08/2020 | 38 Comments
PAC member Chris Saunders (left) and Deputy Governor Franz Manderson (right) with Financial Secretary Ken Jefferson (2nd left) and the accounting team from the Ministry of Finance accepting their PAC award

(CNS): The Ministry of Finance walked away with most of the special gongs handed out Thursday at the now annual Public Accounts Committee awards for government accountants. The idea of the bean-counters ‘Oscars’ is to publicly recognise civil servants who achieved on-time, unqualified accounts through audit after years of problems with the public finances.

Chairman Ezzard Miller said during the ceremony that this year a number of new awards were added to the honours list “to up the game”.

The finance ministry scooped both the ‘leading by example’ award for getting the audit in and completed first, as well as the ‘audit efficiency’ award for achievements that included tabling those accounts with the ministry’s annual report.

The third new ministerial award was for ‘most improved’, which went to the Ministry of Education for having updated its financials for the periods 2016-2017, 2018 and 2019 over seven months and for also achieving an unqualified audit for these periods, after years of problems with their books.

Two entities under the finance also picked up the same awards in the Statutory Authority and Government Company (SAGC) category: the Audit Oversight Authority took the ‘leading by example’ award and the Public Service Pension Board took the 2018 efficiency award. The HSA received the 2018 ‘most improved’ award for the work they did to rectify their long years of troublesome accounts.

The PAC gave out general awards to 39 of the 41 entities in government for getting unqualified accounts.

These awards come against the historic backdrop of some significant challenges that emerged for government’s accountants with the introduction of much stricter requirements under the Public Management and Finance Law in 2005. When Miller first took over the chairmanship of PAC in 2009 some government entities had gone as long as five years without completing their accounts.

“What we are trying to do is in some small way is show appreciation,” Miller said. “Knowing where we started from in 2009 and where we are today… it is very important to give civil servants proper praise and show appreciation for the Herculean effort some of you have put in.”

Also congratulated by Miller was the Office of the Auditor General, which completed the audits after getting all the work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said the awards gave civil servants a chance to come to PAC with a smile on their faces, as being awarded by their critics was better than any other acknowledgement. “The PAC has held our feet to the fire and charged us with ensuring we spend the people’s money in a very judicious fashion,” he said, adding that the public has a right to know how public cash is spent.

PAC member Chris Saunders noted that while the awards were presented to senior staff at the ministries, the committee was well aware that much of the work on the successful accounts was done at the departmental level. Lauding the quality of the control mechanisms now being employed by government’s accounts departments, he said PAC could now trust the information being presented.

“What a lot of people need to realise is that government has its own audit standards, which are different from the private sector standards,” he said. Commending the standard of accounting now in government, he added, “It’s not as easy to audit a government entity.”


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Category: Government Finance, Government oversight, Politics

Comments (38)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Just another day in Yerhavingalaughistan.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can we have an award for the worst government department?

    Nominations?

  3. Gong Show says:

    Here we are three months into the rainy season and MRCU’s total and abject failure to address the Mosquito Pandemic of 2020 continues.

    As it stands, Cayman is no longer fit for human habitation.

    Meanwhile Govt is hard at work on the really important stuff. Handing out “Oscars” to its celebrity accountants. For doing their jobs.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What’s next, awards for firemen when theyp actually show up to fire?
    Embarrassing…

  5. Anonymous says:

    Nothing like a nice certificate for just doing your job.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Admit it folks a World Class achievement.

    I was not a fan of the civil service but I am big enough to admit that the transformation of the civil service over the past few years have been staggering.

    Immaculate accounts, 500,000 happy customers 70% staff engagement scores are much better than many private sector companies.

    Do I need to remind you who carried out directives of the Premier and his Government to the letter very effectively which played a key role in making Cayman a leader in COVID-19 recovery.

    The improvement in customer service has been amazing. If there was a happy or not terminal outside of RBC what do you think the Happy rating would be?

    We have complained for years about the state of Government finances and our concerns have been addressed big time.

    Oh and if you want to hear real customer service call 9497900.

    Thank you CIG.

    • Cig - ahh! says:

      7.529pm Another deluded “world class” civil servant.I called 9497900 and got a message saying the mail box was full.The only accurate descriptive word you use is “staggering”, in actuality, staggering from one crisis to another. Where do you get half a million satisfied customers from?, most of the few thousand you really have are highly dissatisfied with the service received, just read the comments on CNS.

      • Anonymous says:

        8:34 stop lying!

      • Proudcivilservant says:

        8:34. Check the Happy or Not Results! I feel for you. You are in denial.

        • Anonymous says:

          Lol, we know y’all be pressing that smiley face every time you go out for a smoke break.

      • Anonymous says:

        Reading comments from the usual nasty people on CNS doesn’t compare to an actual real-time survey. And I call 949-7900 regularly And I mean regularly, like at least 5 times a month. Every time I call I either get straight to the attendant or I get the automated system if the attendant is on another call. I got the ‘that mailbox is full’ one time and when I got hold of the attendant later in the day she explained they were having a technical issue with the system that had since been fixed. Either your experience is a very coincidental one-off or you are lying to disparage the civil service. And for the record I am a private sector pensioner.

        • Say it like it is says:

          I called only twice in the last couple of months and no answer either time.However I called many other departments direct and no answer either, only voice mail which is never returned. This is a systemic problem existing for many years which has not been addressed by Mr Manderson. Ironically he did initiate a programme for better communication between departments so obviously civil servants were having the same problem. Time to stop them running their own businesses in Govt. time.

    • Chris Johnson says:

      How about an award to the Auditor General who keeps these people on their toes. Her reports make interesting reading.

      • Anonymous says:

        Any holder of that position – Auditor General – deserves a medal for perseverance in the face of down right hostility and blatant detachment by those who are the subject of the reports.

        A thankless job where good work goes unheeded. Always remember Dan Dugay and how he got treated, in the end. I recall that the member for NS was particulally partisan in defending the CI CS and CIG.

        • Chris Johnson says:

          I have known many of the Auditor Generals that we have had. Some are more vocal and outgoing such as Dan whilst others such as the current lady are quieter. All have done a fantastic job and I recall Dan getting flack from the West Bay member and extinguishing the Burning Bush.

          As a former auditor I take my hat to the AGs and their staff. I can imagine what they have to go through.

  7. Anonymous says:

    REALLY – they get an award as a Ministry of FINANCE (no less) for finally getting the accounting done??? REALLY.

    FFS – Can’t CIMA regulate them…Fines and Penalties, anyone PLEASE??? …BUT NO – that is “Way Too Close to BoBo’s Home”.

    We’ll keep the (1) high requirement bar, (2) the demanded professionalism of the employees and (3) the “you are guilty until we (CIMA) prove you are innocent” for those “ex-Pat international financial services industry types..” Not our BoBos in the C.I. Civil Service…. “Do as we say NOT as we do”…

    You could not make this up…and not one of then appreciate that it is the Financial Services industry that PAYS FOR ALL of this gong show.

    • Anonymous says:

      I really don’t understand the negative posters.

      You have been asking for this type of performance and now the civil service has performed exceptionally well. You complain. Thankfully I don’t live in your world.

      Thank you CIG. I am very proud of you. Kudos to the PAC for acknowledging the performance of our talented civil servants.

      • Anonymous says:

        The problem is that you don’t understand.

      • Anonymous says:

        They are finally starting to do the jobs they have been paid very well to do, it’s like getting a ribbon just for participating.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Nothing motivates more than introducing baseline consequences, like being fired for cause.

  9. Say it like it is says:

    Can we have Awards for answering the telephone?.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Participation awards for all! At least they tried.

    • banon says:

      2:32. I understand you are envious that you are not a civil servant. Of course you would need a huge attitude adjustment to be part of a world class team.

      Poking fun when you should be applauding is childish.

  11. Anonymous says:

    More like the Golden Raspberries

  12. One small step says:

    More awards just for showing up and performing an expected duty with the minimum nominal output.

  13. Anon says:

    They are getting rewarded for doing their jobs while also collecting a salary?

    A “Most Improved” award?

    Are we in secondary school and trying to convince “kids” with low academic ability and poor performance that they are important too?

    Bloody nonsense!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Nerds

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