Meade’s role does not totally overlap with Cabinet secretary – JCTU
Former army chief to receive $10m salary
FORMER ARMY chief Dr Rocky Meade will be paid $10 million per annum under a two-year contract as director for national strategic initiatives, a role the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU) does not believe is “totally overlapping” with the...
FORMER ARMY chief Dr Rocky Meade will be paid $10 million per annum under a two-year contract as director for national strategic initiatives, a role the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU) does not believe is “totally overlapping” with the Cabinet secretary.
The Gleaner has obtained Meade’s contract and terms of reference through an access to information request from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
The basic pre-tax salary of $10 million yearly, or about $844,000 monthly, is well below the average monthly salary of approximately $1.8m that he received for most of the 24-month period before his retirement as head of the Jamaica Defence Force in January 2022.
According to the contract, Lieutenant General Meade will be paid a gratuity at a rate of 25 per cent of his salary after the contract period “subject to satisfactory performance”. Renewal will be based on a whether his services will be required.
Most of the terms are standard elements in government contracts, such as an entitlement to leave; confidentiality and termination by either party without reason by giving one month’s notice or payment of month’s salary in lieu of notice.
Meade “shall” declare assets, liabilities and income in keeping with the requirement of the Integrity Commission.
He is reporting directly to Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who “shall” be responsible for ensuring he performs the duties outlined in the contract.
A written performance review report is to prepared at the end of each year of the contract period, and is to be submitted to the permanent secretary.
Holness’ office announced that effective February 13, Meade, who has nearly four decades of leadership experience, was appointed ambassador plenipotentiary to cover national strategic initiatives, a position that gives him full powers to sign treaties or otherwise act on behalf of the country.
“He will advise the prime minister (and Cabinet when necessary) on, as well as coordinate, national strategic initiatives and projects across ministries, departments and agencies within Government with a view to ensuring their timely and effective implementation,” the February 14 OPM statement said.
The appointment came five months after Meade declined the post of Cabinet secretary, following concerns raised about the constitutionality of his selection.
The Cabinet secretary is the head of Jamaica’s civil service and its most senior policy adviser.
As head of the public service, the officeholder is responsible for “developing a highly professional public service able to effectively execute government business”, and as head of the head of the Permanent Secretaries Board, the official guides the “execution of ministry plans that align with Government’s priorities”, the office’s website said.
The Opposition People’s National Party led calls for the Holness administration “to clarify where this newly created post will fit within the public service, as it appears to overlap with existing positions and responsibilities, which would be an inefficient use of scarce public resources”.
There were also concerns that there was duplication of functions of the Cabinet secretary.
But President of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Union, Helene Davis-Whyte, said that based on the information shared by this newspaper, Meade’s job “does sound to be a little bit different because it focuses on specific projects while the Cabinet secretary is really the position that brings together the work of the permanent secretaries, like an administrative role”.
“This person is the person on the ground, almost operating on behalf of the prime minister ... it doesn’t seem to be a bit of something that is totally overlapping. It really sounds as is you want somebody to coordinate and ensure that these particular projects actually are able to be completed on time,” she said yesterday.
While Meade’s salary is $10 million annually, the Cabinet secretary, who is among the highest paid civil servants, is in a salary range for April 2023 to March 2024 of $18.3m to $24.6m per year. It will move to $20.7m- $27.8m next year.
TERMS OF REFERENCE
The four-page terms of reference for Meade’s position pointed to 12 national initiatives, including the Montego Bay Perimeter Road Project; the New Parliament Building; the Downtown Kingston Redevelopment Project; the Digital Society Project; and the STEM Schools Project.
It said because the projects have large scopes, including international and inter-ministry and agency coordination, “strategic, effective oversight, coordination and management of these initiatives are essential to accelerate successful implementation and execution while minimising any associated risks”.
As the director for national strategic initiatives, Meade will be required to undertake at least 11 tasks.
They include reviewing the progress of the initiatives; establishing close working relationships with key bilateral and multilateral partners and providing strategic advice and recommendations to the prime minister and the permanent secretary “on any necessary policy direction or action in relation” to the strategic initiatives.
Meade will also be required to collaborate with government entities to develop linkages between local and international-based industries and attract foreign direct investments; represent Holness; and oversee the preparation of a communication plan for the projects.
There were no specific timelines mentioned in the terms of reference, which also included a minimum qualification – a master’s degree in business administration – with at least 10 years’ experience in senior leadership in the public sector; and experience as well as various skills and competencies required for the job.
Meade served the Jamaican military for over 30 years and holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam.