Wed | Sep 23, 2020

Stripping Bernard of PS job ‘improper’, says union

Published:Saturday | October 19, 2019 | 12:22 AM

The Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA) has thrown its support behind Dean-Roy Ralston Bernard in his court battle with the Public Service Commission over his reassignment from the education ministry to the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service as director general.

Bernard, who held the post of permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, was reassigned in February 2019 during the tenure of sacked Education Minister Ruel Reid.

President of the JCSA, O’Neil Grant, told The Gleaner yesterday that his organisation had an interest in the matter, charging that Bernard’s reassignment constituted a demotion.

He said that the Constitution never contemplated a permanent secretary reporting to his or her equal in the public service. At present, Bernard reports to the financial secretary in the Ministry of Finance.

“The transfer of Mr Bernard to a post called director general is actually stripping him of his accountability role as a permanent secretary. It is improper and untidy,” Grant insisted.

“To preserve the primacy of the appointment of public officers, and, in this particular case, permanent secretaries, we are duty-bound to join Permanent Secretary Bernard in this matter as the outcome will undoubtedly set a precedent,” he stated.

Grant indicated that Bernard’s transfer to the finance ministry was still in effect but noted that the court had given him leave for judicial review of the matter.

Since Bernard’s reassignment, Dr Grace McLean has been acting as permanent secretary in the education ministry.