The Editor, Sir:
The recent advice from the IMF to the Jamaican Government to slash the public sector work force has fuelled a very sensitive discussion. From a practical point of view, can the government afford to cut the civil servants? There is already a shortage of teachers, nurses and police officers, so they would have to look elsewhere.
The workers who are the least 'qualified' do the bulk of the work in most of the other agencies. So laying off those workers would mean a cut in the entry-level positions which comprises mainly the clerks, drivers, messengers and other workers who deal directly with the public on a daily basis.
Would that improve efficiency in the government agencies? At the supervisory level, workers are expected to be 'more qualified;' however, if the entry-level workers are efficient and sufficiently effective, the Government would be able to get rid of some supervisors or shift some to entry-level positions. This would involve demotion, a demotivating factor that should be avoided.
This brings us to the managers who are expected to be the 'most qualified.' If a government agency is running efficiently and effectively that means the managers would be doing a good job, so why trouble the staff?
On the other hand, if an agency is not being effective, that means the manager is doing a poor job. I strongly believe that if someone's performance is poor in a particular area, they should be removed from that area, qualified or not.
I believe the Government could begin cutting overhead costs by removing non-performing managers.
I am, etc.,