PUBLIC Administration Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan has described the number of acting positions in the public service as "burdensome" and "really unreasonable", with some people acting for a decade.
She noted that these appointments included those at the lowest levels, even clerks.
Seepersad-Bachan explained that holding back some of these appointments for clerks was the requirement for a shorthand exam not held since the 1990s and a legal order had been signed to remove the requirement.
She said the Service Commission Department would therefore be collecting the data to make these workers permanent.
She added that this would significantly impact the number of vacancies in the secretarial class, as hundreds of appointments have been made or were in train.
Seepersad-Bachan also reported that the Service Commission had installed several simultaneous teams to address the backlog of appointments.
She made the statements while contributing to debate on the national budget 2012/2013 in the Lower House at International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain, as she elucidated on the plan to transform the Public Service.
She said the new structure in the public service would embrace technology and deliver "citizen-centric" service; and it will not be "pyramid shaped", but "diamond shaped" with new employment streams.
She said she would constantly hear the complaint about the number of contract positions in the public service, and the number of contract positions had increased from 200 in 1990 to 11,000 in 2010. She explained that all professional jobs were being created as contract employment because the public service could not keep pace with the development and establishment of these jobs.
Seepersad-Bachan said to deal with the backlog, they were moving to standardise contract positions with a standard contract package and eliminate people waiting a year or two years for a package.
She reported that Cabinet had given approval to have employee contracts drafted and approved by ministries, based on an outline by the Chief State Solicitor, who would have signed off on these before.
She said public service officers have been "crying out" for an improved compensation system and they had been moving away from narrow structures to a pay-banding system. She noted that there had been consultations with various stakeholders and meetings with the Public Services Association.