Wever: No civil servant dismissed, false narrative being created for political gain | THE DAILY HERALD

PHILIPSBURG–Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI Christopher Wever said on Tuesday that the private and confidential circumstance of a civil servant is being used to create a false narrative for political gain.

  Wever was responding to concerns expressed by United Democrats (UD) Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams and the board of the recently-launched Party for Progress (PFP) about the removal of Raeyhon Peterson from his position as Acting Head of the Department of Domain Affairs. Peterson is a member and candidate of PFP.

  Wever stressed that no civil servant has been dismissed or fired or demoted. “This is completely false,” he said. He was referring to his decision to open a formal and legal hiring process for a vacant position under the VROMI Ministry in which a civil servant was designated in an “acting”/temporary role.

  Wever 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,” he said. 

  However, although he is not comfortable discussing such matters in the public domain, he felt compelled to dispel the blatant false narrative being created around this particular case and insinuations of political victimisation. 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.

  Wever further explained that government’s organisation does not know a function such 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 the 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, it was stated in a press release. In the absence of the head of a department, an acting head of the 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 an employee within the relevant organisation, another department head within the same Ministry, or someone in a position “higher” than the function of head of a department, the release said. 

  With regard to compensation, if someone is incidentally designated in the role of acting head of department and if the person fulfils 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.”

   Wever said the formal hiring process to fill the vacancy with someone permanent, as prescribed by law, will make it fair for 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,” Wever said.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/91739-wever-no-civil-servant-dismissed-false-narrative-being-created-for-political-gain