The Finance Committee of the Legislative Assembly questioned the validity of the hiring process and contract for the CEO of the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange, Mr. Marco Archer earlier this morning.
No less than four members of the LA asked a variety of questions regarding the hiring process and possible irregularities in the recent hiring o a new CEO. The allegations are that the requirements as stipulated in the law have not been adhered to.
Representative Christopher Saunders (BTW) opened up the line of questioning by asking about the general compliance of the Public Authorities Bill, 2016 which came into force earlier this summer. Deputy Governor Franz Manderson responded to the question by indicating that the only major outstanding component of the bill that had not yet been addressed was the development of a salary scale pursuant to section 47.
Kenneth Bryan (GTC) asked for further clarification on the point. Manderson explained that the magnitude of that project was the reason for the delay because it required consultation on a larger scale. He did state that there were existing safeguards in place as it relates to salaries per the law.
He noted that the only board that requested a presentation to be one on the bill was the Health Services Authority. His staff arranged for a seminar to be delivered to them.
Bryan wondered if any new hires had been placed on temporary contracts since no salary scale has been settled as yet. Manderson referred back to the safeguards in the law that set out requirements for new hires in section 25:
The Deputy Governor confirmed that if there was going to be a new hire at the CEO level the law stipulates that there should be consultation with the minister, consultation with the chief officer (CO) and the CO should sit on the interviewing panel.
When asked if that had been done with all new hires since June DC Manderson indicated that was outside of his remit as Statutory Authorities and Government Companies (SAGC) reported to the chief officers and relevant ministers.
Ezzard Miller (NS) brought the point home specifically as it relates to any new hires at the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange. He then started inquiring about the specific sections of the the law that require the involvement of the Portfolio of the Civil Service or their representative. Manderson indicated that he spoke to his Chief Officer and he confirmed he was not part of the interview panel as required by law.
He had if he was able to confirm if the CO was involved in this selection process. After consultation with Gloria McField-Nixon Manderson was able to confirm that the job description was not submitted to the POCS.
What happens in a situation where this law is abridged by a chief officer and a board and any minister too? Does that question the legality or the authenticity of the contract?
I would want to focus on what the law says. Section 25 says the board shall …
He listed what s.25(c) stipulates shall be done and he would hand the matter over to the responsible minister because in his opinion:
The board has not carried about their responsibilities here it would seem to me
Ezzard commented that since the Minister was present perhaps she could comment on the matter and confirm if she was consulted by the board and why the board was not seemingly obligated to follow the law.
The Minister of Financial Services, Tara Rivers, responded and confirmed she was not consulted by the board as the law stipulates and stated:
There was no formal consultation process that took place with me. My chief officer, I would need to ask whether or not there was any involvement with him. I can't answer to that … I was apprised of the fact that an offer has been made and that was the extent of the consultation at that point.
Arden McLean (EE) then stressed that it was obvious that there's a serious problem that needs to be addressed. He stated:
Houston we have a problem … we have the minister who is responsible and knows nothing of this matter
He further clarified his point, “. He brought the point home that under the law, the fact is that “she has constitutional responsibility under the law not anyone else. Someone needs to find out what went wrong.”
Miller attempted to confirm that no official communication came from the board PRIOR to the position being advertised etc. per the law and the Minister said that to the best of her recollection the answer was no.
When asked about the salary range for the CEO post no one was able to indicate what it is.
In conclusion, Bryan wanted to know what happens now that a deficiency has been highlighted.
The chairman, Roy McTaggart, said there should be a way to remedy the shortcomings. It is unclear exactly what the way will be.
Although the MLAs did not indicate that there were additional breaches it appears that the job description did not meet additional criteria. The salary range and performance bonuses should be included in the advert. The advert ran on June 23, 26 and 28th. Neither of those contained any information on the salary or level of compensation.
The Council of the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange announced in late September that Marco Archer would be replacing Valia Theodoraki as the CEO. Archer was the former finance minister and unsuccessful candidate Progressives candidate for George Town Central.