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Head of civil service and Heritage Malta tight-lipped on compensation agreement 

Mario Cutajar, Heritage Malta refuse to say whether compensation over ‘political discrimination’ has been agreed

Mario Cutajar

Principal permanent secretary and civil service chief Mario Cutajar and government agency Heritage Malta have refused to divulge any details over the compensation on which the two parties had to agree.

On 9 November 2017, the commission had given the two parties three months to agree a suitable compensation after deciding that Cutajar was politically discriminated against, adding that if no agreement was reached the compensation would be decided by the commission.

As head of civil service, Cutajar technically oversees Heritage Malta whose board of directors is appointed by the responsible minister. Various Heritage Malta officials and employees appeared in front of the Employment Commission which found that there was political discrimination against Cutajar when, in 2008, his appointment as Head of Visitors’ Services with Heritage Malta was not renewed.

The Shift News’ numerous emails sent to Cutajar and Heritage Malta on the compensation and who negotiated the settlement remain unanswered.

In the wake of Labour’s electoral victory in 2013 and Cutajar’s appointment as chief of the civil service most permanent secretaries within the ministries had their contracts terminated and in other cases government did not renew the contracts.

A number of employees in government agencies, including Heritage Malta, also suffered the same fate with many losing thousands of euros as a result of their termination.

But after Cutajar’s contract at Heritage Malta was not renewed he was reinstated in the public service where he claimed that he was not given any work to do.

Documents seen by The Shift News show that Cutajar was reinstated as a Scale 4 officer within the public service.

In a letter former principal permanent secretary Godwin Grima had informed Cutajar that Heritage Malta had not renewed his contract “as is its right” and informed him that he would be promoted from Scale 7 to an ex gratia appointment at Scale 4.

“I cannot agree with you when you claim to have been unfairly treated considering that you were appointed to a Grade 4 posting which is substantially higher than Grade 7,” Grima said in reply to Cutajar’s demands to maintain the financial package he had at Heritage Malta.

In a 20-page decision, the commission detailed the case of Cutajar which he had filed in 2009 against Heritage Malta and then Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi.

After examining the case, the commission decided that Cutajar had been efficient in his work, and therefore reached the conclusion that the decision not to renew his contract was taken purely because of his political allegiances.

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