I refer to the recent controversy regarding the Commissioner of Education, Freddie Evans, who was apparently erroneously dismissed from his post via an e-mail communication to all teachers and principals, which was sent by the Permanent Secretary for Education, Valerie Robinson-James.
This is all rather curious when one considers that Dr Evans experienced previous and very positive employment reviews.
According to earlier appraisals for the years 2011-12, 2014-15 and 2015-16, Dr Evans was performing “substantially above requirements”. The final appraisal, covering his tenure as assistant director/acting commissioner, notes that the candidate had the potential to lead the public school system. Then one month before his “exit” was announced, performance appraisals on Dr Evans show a sharp drop in his evaluations and the “termination” e-mail was sent.
Because Dr Evans feels he was wrongfully dismissed, as apparently, the termination notice should have come from the Governor during his period of probation, we now have a legal action pending against the Ministry of Education and the Governor, John Rankin.
The latest instalment in this saga is in the form of a letter from the Public Service Commission to Dr Evans’s lawyer, Mark Diel, and Ms Robinson-James, which states that there was “an administrative error” in correspondence to Dr Evans — meaning he had not been fired after all.
But the letter, signed by PSC secretary Carlita O’Brien, added “nor has he been confirmed in his post”.
Contrast that scenario, with this:
We have the position of Secretary to the Cabinet, which also is Head of the (entire) Civil Service. According to the Sage Report, that post is not subject to performance appraisals, nor does it report to anyone directly. I repeat: not subject to performance appraisals, nor does it report to anyone directly.
I would ask you then: will anyone in that position ever be fired for poor performance? May this just be the best job one could ever hope to have?
It should be stated that I do not know either Dr Evans or Derrick Binns, the Secretary to the Cabinet, and it is not my intention to malign their character or performance.
What I am and have been utterly astounded by is the continuing acceptance of a structurally flawed management system of our Civil Service, for which there is an abundance of Sage Report remedies sitting on a shelf somewhere, collecting dust.
The previous administration failed miserably in this regard. It remains to be seen whether the present government will “step up to the plate”.
BEVERLEY CONNELL, Pembroke