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Top civil servants’ shake-up to cost $40,000

Lovitta Foggo, the government reform minister (File photograph)

A top-level shake-up of the Civil Service is to cost taxpayers an extra $40,000, Lovitta Foggo told Parliament yesterday.

The government reform minister said the increase was because the post of Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service had been split.

Derrick Binns stepped down as Cabinet Secretary in January to be Head of the Civil Service and Marc Telemaque was sworn in as Cabinet Secretary last month.

Ms Foggo said the salary estimate for Cabinet Office for the new financial year was about $3.6 million, an increase of $40,000 compared with 2017-18.

She added: “This increase is owing to the restructuring of the Cabinet Office at the senior level — that is the combined post of Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service has now been separated and two posts have been re-established.”

The two roles were combined in 2010 until Dr Binns’s appointment in 2013.

The Government announced in January that the posts would be split in line with a recommendation from the 2013 Sage Commission on spending and efficiency and that funding for the post would be allocated in the next Budget.

Michael Dunkley, then a One Bermuda Alliance backbencher, warned that the move would cost taxpayers more money and Leah Scott, the deputy Opposition leader, called on the Government to clarify whether it intended to create an extra $200,000-plus post.

Ms Scott said at the time: “The Government has not indicated whether Ms Cherie Whitter, who currently serves as the Deputy Head of the Civil Service, will remain in that role.

“With Dr Binns assuming the role of the Head of the Civil Service, will the role of the Deputy Head of the Civil Service be redundant or will we now have three six-figure posts?”

Ms Foggo told MPs yesterday: “The deputy head post remains in the structure and this post holder will continue to serve a dual role in fulfilling the obligations of the permanent secretary post for the Cabinet Office ministry.”

Ms Foggo also revealed that the manpower estimates for the Cabinet Office included an extra eight employees compared with last year.

But she said the two posts in the Washington Office were not expected to be filled because “a decision has been taken to defer the reopening of that office at this time”.

Ms Foggo added: “The additional posts include the reintroduction of support posts for the office of the Premier, as well as administrative support services for the Ageing Well Office.”

She also announced an increase of $767,000 in the professional services budget.

Ms Foggo said: “This increase represents shifts in funding from the Ministry of Finance to the Cabinet Office to support UK and European public relations efforts as well as representation in Brussels.

“Funding for this activity was formerly included in the Ministry of Finance budget.

“There is also an increased allocation for the Washington DC lobbyist, as well as funding to support specialist consulting services by the policy and strategy unit for project management and implementation teams.

“With the increased pressure from the European Council with the published list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, it is evident that Bermuda needs to enhance its representation with Brussels.

“We have already heard that a representative office in Brussels is planned. The office will, among other things, provide for a broad-based dialogue on economic and trade co-operation between the European Council and Bermuda.”