Job decisions on hold until govt decided

Friday June 29, 2018 Written by Published in Politics
Ministry of Marine Resources head Ben Ponia is still under investigation and has been suspended on full pay for several months. On May 11, Public Service Commissioner Russell Thomas told CINews on May 11 that the investigation would “hopefully” be wrapped up by the end of that month. The reasons for the investigation have been kept under wraps. 18062916 Ministry of Marine Resources head Ben Ponia is still under investigation and has been suspended on full pay for several months. On May 11, Public Service Commissioner Russell Thomas told CINews on May 11 that the investigation would “hopefully” be wrapped up by the end of that month. The reasons for the investigation have been kept under wraps. 18062916

The six Head of Ministry (HOM) positions advertised by Office of the Public Service Commissioner this week will be finalised when a new government is confirmed.

The advertised roles include the secretary of Agriculture, Infrastructure Cook Islands, Justice, Marine Resources and Transport and Chief of Staff for the Office of the Prime Minister.

Public Service Commissioner Russell Thomas said the contracts for the positions advertised were expiring tomorrow.

Ministry of Cultural Development secretary Anthony Turua, Transport head Ned Howard and Infrastructure Cook Islands secretary Ngametua Pokino are the only ones who have remained in the job since their appointment in 2015.

Justice secretary Tingika Elikana resigned earlier this year to contested in the 2018 elections under the Cook Islands Party banner. The Public Service appointed Nooapii Tearea as acting secretary.

Marine Resources secretary Ben Ponia, who was suspended on full pay in April, is still under investigation. George Matutu is currently serving as the acting secretary.

The Chief of Staff position at the PM’s Office was left vacant after Elizabeth Wright-Koteka resigned from the post in late 2016. The position was filled by Bredina Drollet, who has been serving as the acting Chief of Staff since March last year.

Public Service Commissioner Thomas said the application was open to everyone, including foreigners.

After the closing of the application on July 27, a four member panel consisting of – (a) the Commissioner, who shall be the chairperson (b) one person recommended by the Minister Responsible for the Public Service; and (c) one person recommended by the members of the Public Service Association; and (d) one person recommended by Cabinet will take charge to deliberate on those applications.

“The responsible Minister may inform the panel of any matter that the Minister wishes the panel to take into account in making a recommendation under clause 7. 5. The panel may – (a) examine applicants for the office; and (b) seek advice from any other sources the panel considers relevant; and (c) deliberate on the persons to be recommended for appointment,” Thomas said.

Following its deliberations, he said the panel (either by consensus or by a majority vote) must recommend to the Cabinet up to three persons for the appointment, listed in order of the panel’s preference.

The recommendation must include full particulars of each person’s qualifications and experience, Thomas added.

“The Commissioner must refer the panel’s recommendations to Cabinet through the Prime Minister. Cabinet must accept for appointment to the office one of the persons recommended by the panel. Cabinet may refer the recommendations back to the panel with a request that the panel reconsider any one or more of its recommendations.”

In case if the Cabinet refers the recommendations back to the panel, the panel must, after reconsidering any aspects referred to by Cabinet relating to one or any of the recommendations, resubmit the original recommendations or submit new recommendations, Thomas said.

He said if the panel resubmits the original recommendations to Cabinet, it must include a report setting out its reasons, having regard to any aspects referred to by Cabinet relating to the original recommendations.

“As soon as practicable after Cabinet decides to accept one of the persons recommended, the Commissioner must – (a) appoint the person to the office; and (b) announce publicly that the appointment has been made.

“An appointment is subject to the agreement of the proposed appointee to a contract of employment. If no agreement is reached, a new appointment must be made.”

In deciding on the person to be appointed to the office, Thomas said the panel and Cabinet must have particular regard to the need to appoint a person who can discharge the responsibilities of that office – (a) effectively; and (b) efficiently; and (c) independently of political influence and other political considerations.

“Each member of the panel must be paid out of the Cook Islands Government Account remuneration at the rate determined from time to time by the Queen’s Representative by Order in Executive Council.”

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