‘SAGE Should Refrain From Negative Comments’

July 4, 2013

The Bermuda Public Services Union [BPSU] said in their opinion SAGE Commission should not be making any further negative comments that are perceived to be attributable to the whole Civil Service.

SAGE Commission Chairman Brian Duperreault recently addressed the weekly luncheon of the Hamilton Rotary Club, where he said that one of the biggest challenges we have to face is the “culture of the Bermuda Civil Service.”

“Staff who feel they can sit back and coast in their jobs aren’t called to account,” said Mr Duperreault. “Staff who violate Public Service regulations might face a mild slap on the wrist. The chances of them being dismissed are slim to none.”

A BPSU spokesperson said, “The Bermuda Public Services Union [BPSU] has historically and consistently championed the cause of a Quality Public Service as evidenced by the activities for the months of June/July 2013.

“However, Mr. Brian Duperreault’s depiction that ‘Staff who violate Public Service Regulations might face a mild slap on the wrist,’ is not correct. There are specific roles carried out by the Cabinet Secretary and the Public Service Commission [PSC] in meting out discipline that should not be misconstrued.

“It is the role of the PSC [a constitutional body] to ensure that the correct disciplinary procedures are followed based on facts, not hearsay; to ensure there is no political interference in attempting to enact discipline and to oversee that hiring and promotions are done within the rules of the Commission.

“There is already a method to deal with non performance – but has to be enforced and managed byline managers. The Culture of the Civil Service is directly related to the function of the office of the Cabinet Secretary/Head of the Civil Service.

“We are not to sure whether Mr. Duppereault’s comments are directed to the present Cabinet Secretary or the three former Cabinet Secretaries/Heads of the Civil Services who are presently serving on either the Commission or SAGE sub-committees.

“It is unfortunate that Mr. Dupperreault has decided to release his comments about the Service, while the SAGE Commission continues with interviews and information gathering.

“In our opinion, The SAGE Commission should not be making any further negative comments that are perceived to be attributable to the whole Service. There are many civil servants and departments that are operating at or above the professional standard.

“We urge that the SAGE Commission refrain from making any further public comments prior to the completion of the review of the Civil Service”.

The Unions are presently in negotiations with Government over their pay structure, with unofficial reports indicating that discussion has included staff working one day a month without pay.

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Comments (10)

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  1. Concerned Local Bermudian says:

    If one’s house is clean, no one would make such comments!

    Why do we Bermudians take criticism so badly. This is a good opportunity for self-assessment, but again the same attitude Mr. Duperreault is speaking to the Union is exhibiting. I’m sure he’s been responsible for cleaning many dirty houses!

    Are we above criticism? Get over it and clean house!

    P.S. It takes a few apples to tarnish the basket. Our perceptions often don’t meet reality.

  2. media says:

    I appreciated Mr. Dupperrault’s comment last week and saw it primarily as a softening up message to the Public to say please get ready for change. What he doesn’t want to do is not say anything for the six months and then suddenly start talking about drastic changes needing to be made. He is massaging us to prepare us all including the CS that there are some very real issues and to work effectively and effeciently thing will have to change. He said it in the most polite way it could have been said.

  3. Charter says:

    I think many Bermudians agree with the SAGE comments. the painful fact is that our Government is far too big for the size of our community.

  4. Nuffin but da Truth says:

    The Civil Service in Bermuda is very UNCIVIL,LAZY and has a I don’t care attitude!

  5. Sandy Bottom says:

    Duppereault’s comments were a breath of fresh air. Honesty for once. I’d rather hear more of it, not less.

    This is what life is like in the private sector. If you do a lousy job, you get told about it in no uncertain terms.

  6. Lazy Lizard says:

    The spokesperson for the BPSU fits the category that Mr. Dupperrault
    is talking about. Lazy and doesn’t have a clue about quality service.

  7. Observer says:

    I certainly support Mr. Duperreault’s comments. One must remember that his comments reresent a broad view of the relevant stakeholders. He is simply the messenger. If he does not say the truth we will go on as we have with no change .

    We need to grow up and face the facts. Management in most Governments fall short and are inefficient. We have a chance to really do something great and rather than accept the truth we expect Mr. Duperreault to hide the facts under the carpet as has been done for decades.

    I think a great union leader would have said himself that he accepts the general tone of the comments, also say there are some exceptions and would welcome any opportunity to bring best practices to government civil service. This great union leader would then express support and welcome development of these best practices with open arms with a comment such as, “we have an incredible opportunity to take a leading role in the development of our civil service on the global stage” or something to that effect. Instead the BPSU cries about true comments that the service is in bad shape.

    The reality is that Mr. Duperreault’s comments are true and not his only his view.

    How disappointing BOSU.

  8. Observer says:

    Sorry, should have been BPSU

  9. Must be true says:

    When the truth is spoken, nerves are struck. There is so much that can be spoken about the Union which recognized the Government’s right to manage its own operations…to the point of including Article 4: Management Rights as part of the agreement between The Bermuda Government and The Bermuda Public Services Union in 2002. The spokesperson of the BPSU needs to seriously have a heart to heart conversation with the General Secretary to find out the truth of how he has conducted his business in the past. It’s obvious that Mr. Duperreault’s comments have those managers, who the shoe fits perfectly, feeling a little uneasy.

    The Code of Conduct does state that the Head of the Civil Service is responsible for matters of discipline 2.1(e), and that “Permanent Secretaries, Heads of Department and all managers are responsible for ensuring good order, discipline, efficiency and the proper conduct of all officers in their Department. Managers have the authority to initiate disciplinary proceedings against any officer employed in their Departments when the situation demands.”

    If a manager initiates an action against any particular officer, there is no guarantee that his/her managers will support his/her action. When the buck reaches the top, it is often passed back down, so there is a breakdown in the disciplinary process. Mr. Duperreault is spot on. Regarding the comment about the slap on the wrist, some managers have even been spared that, which explains BPSU’s concern about the topic. If they don’t wish to hear about it, then they should stop protecting the guilty parties and advise them to do right. You can gag Civil Servants, but you can’t gag the SAGE Commission!

  10. Prayerful says:

    What does Mr. Duperreault have to gain by making negative comments. He has already made his millions and is now only trying to help the country. I agree with his comments and also agree that the civil service is top heavy and seems to be beyond reproach.