Categorized | National News

“Revamp Public Service Promotions” Says Moree

By K Quincy Parker

The entire process of promotion in the public service ought to be revamped: in fact, the Public Service Commission plans to make recommendations to that effect to the minister responsible for the public service, according to the chairman Brian Moree.

Moree appeared as a guest on Jones and Company last night, and spoke about the public service. The discussion ended with a look at the concept of meritocracy, and how high-flyer public servants should be rewarded.

The question of supersession arose, as did promotions. The key word, Moree said, is transparency.

“We are strongly of the view, and we hope to make recommendations to the minister sometime in October – that the whole concept of promotions and how it is currently dealt with in the service be revamped,” Moree said.

“I’m not going to give you any details of that now, but stay tuned.”
“We believe that the process can be made much more transparent and it can be much more accountable than it is today. If that can be achieved, with the consensus of our stakeholders, it will promote higher levels of morale and even when persons are disappointed that the decision didn’t go their way, they will respect the process. [That is] if we can achieve it in the right way.”

The question was put to Moree as to whether or not the public service should have some sort of ‘pay for performance’ regime to reward productivity.

“Within the public service, there are service-wide pay increases and pay adjustments, yes that is true. Sometimes it’s a cost of living adjustment. There are also built-in annual increments.

“First of all we’ve got to accept that, by the very nature of the government, it isn’t going to be able to pay as well as the private sector – that’s simply a fact. In no country in the world is service in the public sector as lucrative as service in the private sector, unless you’re corrupt, which is a different issue. We’ve got to accept that fact.

Should we, in the public service, be able to reward those persons who are performing at high levels in a different way than we do either the person who is ‘coasting’ or sometimes the bad employee? Yes we should be.”

As to why this is not happening, Moree cited – among other things – union agreements and existing procedures in the Employment Ac t and General Orders which he said make it difficult.

“If you have a meritocracy, so to speak – where you pay for merit – somebody, or some bodies, have to make that decision. If it is going to be respected, it has to be a very transparent, overtly fair process, because everybody thinks they deserve a pay raise. Even the bad employee thinks he is a good employee.”

“You’ve got to develop a structure which would allow you to implement some sort of link between performance and compensation, but as a general objective, it is a desirable one,” he said.

During ensuing debate about ways in which public servants could be compensated for performance under the existing structure, it emerged that the practice of supersession is under review.

In General Orders, and the Industrial Agreement between the government and the Public Service Union, supersession – which is the practice of promoting a junior public service officer over someone senior – is conducted through a distinct process: the officer being superseded must be advised in writing, and told why she or he is being superseded. The criteria which govern supersession are i) added qualifications, or ii) a junior officer outperforming a senior officer.

“Should there be supersession at all? It is an issue that I have been canvassing views on. This policy of supersession: is it a good policy in 2012, with regard to achieving excellence and high levels of performance within the civil service?”

“There are two sides of that argument, as to whether this whole policy of supersession should exist. Under the current policy, but yes, you can jump over somebody, and that happens within the public service.”

“In my time as the chairman, we have had a number of cases where persons have superseded other persons. Invariably, the person who they are jumping over complains about it, because they think they’re a good employee and they should get the job.”
Moree said the only chance of maintaining “any kind of order” is if the decision-making process is transparent.

Written by Jones Bahamas

One Response to ““Revamp Public Service Promotions” Says Moree”

  1. JoyAnne Pennerman says:

    Certainly the process of promotion in the Public Service needs revamping. However, the minds and integrity of people will need revamping as well. Honesty and integrity are certainly at the lower end of the pole. Unfortunately, nepotism and political affiliation take precedence. I do believe that accountability is also of great importance. Decisions made should be followed and persons should ensure that their decisions are fair,honest and have been carried out. All of these play an important role in revamping the promotion process.
    Moree mentioned promotion of a junior over a senor person. If the proper order is to write the senior person and give due cause then why is it not practised? Also what grounds can you justify a junior person being promoted over a senior person? How does one measure ‘out performance’? Here is where there is opportunity for biases.


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