Robinson tables questions on 'nonsensical' hiring practices at MSET

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Robinson tables questions on 'nonsensical' hiring practices at MSET

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — People's National Party (PNP) Spokesman on Science, Technology and Information, Julian Robinson, has called on the Minister of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET) Fayval Williams to provide the nation with the answers to questions about, what he termed, the “outrageous hiring practices in the ministry"raised in the Auditor General Report tabled last week in Parliament.

Robinson said the engagement of six Special Early Retirement Programme (SERP) retirees as consultants at MSET, at extraordinary rates, points to the continued mismanagement of public funds and resources by the Government.

According to an earlier press release from the People's National Party (PNP), the auditor general reported that MSET did not prioritise its capacity needs when it made a decision to approve SERP retirement for six officers with effect from April 30, 2018.

PNP noted that on that same day the six officers were re-engaged on a one-year contract at rates between 22.1 and 263 per cent more than their emoluments prior to SERP, despite the fact that their terms of reference and scope of service were similar to the respective functions they performed prior to SERP.

Robinson said that this is a clear case of mismanagement, waste and utter disregard for public funds and “those responsible for approving this fiasco need to be held accountable.”

He added that it is important for the nation to be told who approved the arrangement and whether the Ministry of Finance had sanctioned the agreement.

PNP said the minister is expected to provide the answers to the following questions in 21 days:

  1. Would the minister state who the Minister of Science, Energy and Technology was at the time the six employees of MSET were granted early retirement and then rehired on contract?
  2. Would the minister state who in the Ministry authorised the early retirement and rehiring on contract of the six employees?
  3. Would the minister state whether there was consultation and approval from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service (MFPS) for the early retirement of these individuals?
  4. Would the minister state whether the MFPS was consulted and gave permission for the reappointment of these consultants?
  5. If the answer to Part 4 is in the affirmative, would the minister state whether the increased levels of payment were recommended or approved by MFPS?
  6. For each of the six employees, would the minister state the following:

Job title

Age of employee at the time of early retirement

Number of years employed in the government service at the time of early retirement

Total emoluments paid (salary plus benefits) prior to early retirement

Total sum paid after rehiring on contract, and

Current status of each contract

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