Gracita to return to civil service

Commissioner of Personnel Maria Buncamper-Molanus says the process to place former island councilwoman Gracita Arrindell in a position within the government apparatus is underway.

"The Courts have issued a verdict and the reintegration of Ms. Arrindell is being prepared. We have a deadline which has to be met and so a proper function and place within the organisation is being prepared for Ms. Arrindell," Buncamper-Molanus said in a press conference held on Wednesday.

The Administrative Court of Appeal ruled on December 10, 2008, that Arrindell, who is leader of People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA), should be offered a job at the Island Secretariat.

The three judges who handled the appeal decided that Arrindell had not lost her rights to a job as a senior civil servant when she took her seat in the Island Council and said Arrindell should be offered a job as a senior civil servant at the Island Secretariat, under the same labour conditions she had enjoyed when she was a deputy island secretary.  

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Arrindell was an Island Council Member from 2003 until 2007 and was on leave of absence as a civil servant during that period. She had been deputy island secretary since 1996 and had been seconded to the Bureau of Constitutional Affairs in 1999 as a fulltime advisor.

When her party lost its sole seat in the Island Council after the April 20, 2007, Island Council election, she wanted to return to the civil servant apparatus. She requested to be returned to her former position as deputy island secretary or to be given another job with a similar status and emoluments.

The Executive Council, based on the fact that the function of deputy island secretary no longer existed, offered Arrindell the position of programme manager with the Bureau of Constitutional Affairs. The council said it had come to this decision because of a change in the organisational structure of the island secretariat that had eliminated the job of deputy island secretary.

Arrindell filed a court case on August 31, 2007, against the Executive Council’s decision not to reinstate her in her former job. A court decision of May 9, 2008, ruled that the Executive Council was not compelled to reinstate Arrindell in her former position. However, this ruling was reversed by the December 10 decision.

Buncamper-Molanus said she hoped the process would proceed smoothly and all parties would remain cooperative, "so that Ms. Arrindell can get back to work as soon as possible."