Opinion: Coveted jobs

POSTED: 02/5/14 11:51 AM

Nothing is easier that making fun of civil servants. They have coveted jobs and it is near impossible to fire them. This sets civil servant apart from employees in the private sector. An employer who knows his stuff will have no problem building a file against a non-functioning worker to get rid of him or her.

This how we end up with so-called ghost civil servants – people that are eating taxpayers money and that never show up for work. We still have them, or so we hear, but the government is not doing anything about it – nothing we’ve heard about at least.

In the Netherlands the party is over for most civil servants, now that the parliament has decided to give them the status of regular employees. That makes it easier to fire them.

Now this may seem a bit unfair to all those dozing civil servants that haven’t known a worry in all of their life, but it is of course a way to bring all those government workers into modern times.

The decision by the Dutch parliament is something St. Maarten could consider as well. After all, personnel costs are a heavy burden – over 40 percent of the budget goes to salaries – and not all of these civil servants are as productive as they ought to be.

In an election year like we have now, no politician in his right mind is going to even think about this issue. There are around 1,800 civil servants and most of these people vote. So maybe it is something that could become part of the governing program for the next government.

There is no reason on earth why civil servants deserve more protection than employees in the private sector. The way things stand now, civil servants do not even have an incentive to perform, because their jobs are protected.

That is not right, and that is not of these times anymore. There is no reason for civil servants to fear such a change in their status. If they perform – the way they are expected to do – nothing will change. If they are simply robbing the taxpayers of their money by doing nothing most of the time, they do not deserve to sit behind any government desk.

And why not, while we are at it, introduce a system of performance related salaries for civil servants? It will push them to go beyond their call of duty – and that would be to the benefit of the whole community.

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