The Chairperson of the Public Service Commission, Ida Talagi-Hekesi has confirmed that the government’s employing authority will be undertaking a year-long review of the positions of Director-Generals for the ministries of Social Services, Infrastructure, and Natural Resources. The ministries were established seven years ago as part of the government’s Transformation Programme but according to the current Commission, it is now time to review.
Further to this decision, the Commission has also confirmed that there will be no Director-General position for the ministry of Infrastructure at this time.
Commissioner Talagi-Hekesi told BCN news “Things led to where the successful applicant withdrew due to whatever pressure was put upon him from all angles. But we will take this year to review the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Director-General position, so we won’t have a Director-General position”.
Two weeks ago, news of Telecom’s CEO Brett Collier as the successful applicant to the position of Director-General of Infrastructure created issues after BCN News revealed that the single shareholder Minister Crossley Tatui representing the government’s interests in Telecom Niue was not aware that the CEO had applied for another job.
Last week, Mr. Collier declined the Commission’s offer and withdrew from taking up the role as Director-General of the Ministry of Infrastructure.
Commissioner Talagi-Hekesi says that since taking up the role as chairperson of the Commission ten months ago, she has had to take stock of what these ministries’ roles are and why they were not formalised. The review will provide them the opportunity to look at management and positions underneath as all part and parcel of succession planning.
The Commission Chairperson informed the Heads of government departments at their meeting last week, that the review of the Ministries and DG positions will take the next twelve months.
“The Director-general positions really are at the level where they are advisors to the Ministers on economic and social policies and strategic direction. I think what’s happened is that they’ve just been caught up in operational stuff.
Everybody needs to get back in their lanes and we will provide the support as much as we can through mentoring and leadership.”
Commissioner Talagi-Hekesi says that she holds monthly meetings with the ministers and with Premier Tagelagi who is also the minister of the Public Service Commission. She explains that this review is also an opportunity for this new government to review the efficiency of the service given the country’s limited resources.
“I think it’s timely on their part as well because they are a new government and they will have to look to see whether our current organisation is efficient because we have limited resources. It’s just a matter of working together.”
At the end of the review, the Commission hopes to improve efficiency and address profitability.
“I come from the private sector, and if the public service was in the private sector, we will be very questionable. It’s all about working together, looking at the workforce and making sure that we’re putting people in the right place”.
While the Ministry of Infrastructure will not have a Director General at the helm for the next twelve months, the Ministry of Social Services will remain under the leadership of Director General Gaylene Tasmania for twelve months during the review. Similarly, Dr. Josie Tamate will continue is the role of Director-General of the Ministry of Natural Resources for twelve months during the review period.
Both the Director-generals are in Auckland, Gaylene Tasmania has been away on medical leave and Dr. Josie Tamate is one of the passengers stranded until Cabinet decide when to resume passenger flights.