Minister Wever: No civil servant dismissed. False narrative created | SOUALIGA NEWSDAY

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – Minister of VROMI Christopher Wever on Tuesday said the private and confidential circumstance of a civil servant is being used to create a false narrative in the general public for political gain. The Minister stressed that no civil servant has been dismissed or fired or demoted. “This is completely false,” the Minister said. The Minister was referring to his decision to open a formal and legal hiring process for a vacant position under the Ministry of VROMI in which a civil servant was designated in an “acting”/temporary role.

The Minister said it is unfortunate that the internal and personal employment relationship between a civil servant and government has made its way into the public domain and has taken on a political tone. “All personnel affairs of all civil servants whether appointed by national decree or contract are confidential,” the Minister said.

However, although he is not comfortable discussing such matters in the public domain, the Minister felt compelled to dispel the blatant false narrative being created around this particular case and insinuations of political victimization. He explained that the civil servant in question was not fired or dismissed. He still holds his senior position in his government function with full salary and benefits.

The Minister further explained that government’s organization does not know a function as “acting head”, therefore, there is no function of acting head of the Department of Domain Affairs and there can be no issue of someone being demoted from that position. It is just that someone is requested to assume a role, in absence of an actual department head. Therefore, a “removal” of someone from that role is not considered a demotion.

The designation (not appointment) of a person in the capacity of acting head of a department is done by the head of said department. In the absence of a head of a department, an acting head of a department can also be designated by the Secretary General or by the Minister. The Minister holds the end responsibility in this regard, and can designate a person in the capacity of acting head at his/her discretion. There are various ways in which an acting head can be designated, it can be someone from within the relevant organization (an employee within), another department head (albeit within the same Ministry) or someone in a position “higher” than the function of head of a department.

With regards to compensation, if someone is incidentally designated in the role of acting head of department and if the person fulfills a normal role in a lower function for a longer duration, then the person is entitled to a form of compensation.

It can also be decided to give someone a structural allowance if the person is designated for an extended period as acting head of a department. This allowance (whether structural or incidental) is done by national decree, to compensate the person filling the role. The national decree is not an appointment in a particular function, but simply a matter of compensating the person. If the person who performs the capacity of acting head is normally in an equal or higher function, then the person does not receive any compensation.

The formal hiring process to fill the vacancy with someone permanent, as prescribed by law, will make it fair to other young St. Maarteners, workers in the same government department as well as the civil servant in question, to apply for the position.

“This is nothing new in government, it is a regular government process. Acting (or temporary) functions are in place until the formal process is open. We have to legally let the process run and see which candidates we have to best fill the position. Nothing was done with malice. It is very unfortunate that it is being painted this way,” the Minister added.

Source: Souliga Newsday