July 19, 2018

Temporary team works to bolster Cayman Islands DEH

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Two highly-experienced civil service leaders have been temporarily appointed to fill senior positions at the Department of Environmental Health (), the Ministry of Health announced today (Thursday, 12 July 2018).

Director of the Department of Vehicle and Equipment Services (DVES) Richard Simms and the Manager of the Public Works Department’s Recreation Parks and Cemeteries Unit (RPCU) Mark Bothwell have been seconded to the DEH for a period expected to run between three to six months.

As of Tuesday, 3 July 2018, began serving as Acting Director, and as Acting Assistant Director (Solid Waste). The new Acting Director and Acting Assistant Director say meeting Government’s commitment to keep garbage collection on schedule will be a top priority for them in the months ahead.

To meet this goal they believe that it is vital to build a strong working relationship with DEH’s approximately 140 employees.

“We have spent a busy week meeting all teams to get their take of the situation on the ground and emphasise their responsibilities as individuals who deliver a key public service”, Mr Simms comments.

Mr Bothwell, who is based at the Solid Waste Dispatch Office, says he is particularly focused on time management, and has made it clear that all workers are required to personally clock in and out of their shifts

“Garbage collection is extremely important to the health, beauty and reputation of the . Our goal is to ensure that the work that we do to keep the clean also provides the people of the country with value for money,” the new Acting Assistant director remarks.

Unsurprisingly, given his background at the Department of Vehicle and Equipment Services which works extensively with DEH to maintain its fleet, Mr Simms has reintroduced the requirement for twice daily inspections of vehicles.

In addition he says DEH will seek to make the most of manufacturer warranty and service agreements to optimise the life-span of collection vehicles, which.Government policy currently standardises at eight years or 150,000 miles.

Another initiative under immediate consideration is the implementation of recommendations to optimise the effectiveness and efficiency of collection routes.

In tandem with increased accountability both managers say it is important that landfill workers be able to operate in an environment that follows health, safety and sanitation standards, and that they feel their contributions are appreciated by the community.

As such, among other initiatives arising from discussions with employees, the pair will be working to increase public awareness of DEH services, like the 24-hour drop-off at the landfill, but also how to make pick-up arrangements for derelict vehicles and other bulk items.

The Acting Director has furthermore expressed his commitment to permanently filling several critical posts as soon as possible. Ten positions are currently held by temporary workers.

Having handpicked both men for their leadership capabilities, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson is confident they will provide strong direction and support to the DEH team until the posts are once again permanently occupied.

“I thank Mr Simms and Mr Bothwell for their exemplary service to the Government and people of the Cayman Islands and their willingness to take on these temporary positions at DEH. I am confident that they will effectively lead the department and build on the many improvements made over the past six months, Mr Manderson comments.

”At the end of the day our goal is simple, to make the DEH a world class department, our elected leaders and the public deserve nothing else.”

Welcoming Mr Simms and Mr Bothwell to DEH, Minister Seymour says he believes their proven people management skills will have a strong and positive impact on the staff and the work environment at the Department. “I am definitely encouraged that we will see continued improvements”, Mr Seymour remarks.

Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn observes that with the DEH management team back to full strength, the department will be able to dedicate more time to improving overall garbage collection processes.

“I would like to welcome Mr. Simms and Mr. Bothwell to our Ministry team, and I look forward to working with them in their acting roles.  These gentlemen, and the entire team at DEH, will have our full support as they continue in their efforts to continuously improve their service delivery in order to make the lives of those we serve better”..

A former long-serving police officer, Mr Simms was confirmed as Director of the Department of Vehicle and Equipment Services on 1 January 2015. He was originally seconded to that role from the Department of Vehicle and Drivers Licensing, where he spent several years as Deputy Director.

Mr Bothwell has been the manager of Recreation, Parks and Cemeteries Unit since March 2012. He served as assistant manager there from September 2007.

At the Department of Vehicle and Equipment Services Deputy Director Stephen Quinland has assumed the role of acting director.  Meanwhile the Public Works Department has named Crosby Solomon acting manager of the Recreation, Parks and Cemeteries Unit.

The Deputy Governor, Minister and Chief Officer also thanked Assistant Director (Environmental Health) Paulino Rodrigues, PhD, for his hard work and commitment during several months spent as acting director of DEH.

 

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