Furbert: Budget allows for only 36 new posts
The Government has budgeted for 36 more full-time equivalent public-sector posts in the next fiscal year, the Ministry of Finance clarified yesterday.
Wayne Furbert, the junior finance minister, was responding to yesterday's front-page story in The Royal Gazette, which stated that the Civil Service was expected to add 266 positions in 2018-19.
The story was based on figures in the Government's Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the Year 2018-19, which stated 266 as the difference between the revised estimate of the number of posts for the year ending March 2018 and budgeted positions for the next year.
Mr Furbert said the projection of 5,053 full-time equivalents for March referred to “positions funded, not filled”.
He added that it was normal practice for governments in Bermuda to budget for a higher number of posts than they actually expected to fill — a view that is backed up by figures from previous years' Budget estimates.
He explained that this year's Budget book changed the presentation of numbers to compare next year's projections with revised estimates for 2017-18.
Under the previous method, the projection would have been compared to last year's original budgeted number, which was 5,017, so indicating an increase of 36 budgeted positions for next year.
Mr Furbert said: “We have managed the budget for seven months and the Government has been very efficient, which has allowed us to have a revised estimate of 4,787 full-time equivalent posts for 2017-18, compared to the 5,017 posts that were budgeted for.”
He added that David Burt, the Premier, is responsible for approving all new posts in his capacity as Minister of Finance.
Mr Furbert said reduction in staffing under the previous One Bermuda Alliance administration, achieved through attrition, a hiring freeze and a voluntary early retirement programme, had left some departments understaffed.
He added: “When this government came in, there were staff in Parks and other departments who told us they were burnt out, so we have filled some positions but we also turned down a few.”
The fiscal year finishes at the end of March.
Mr Furbert said 19 of the 36 extra budgeted posts for next year referred to nurses for the Sylvia Richardson Care Facility, which is scheduled to reopen.
The Ministry of Finance budget also allowed for an extra 12 posts, partly because of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force's imminent assessment of the island's ability to stop money laundering and terrorist financing.