Brian Tomlinson is no longer managing director of the National Roads Authority.
“The National Roads Authority Board of Directors take this opportunity to inform the public that Mr. Brian Tomlinson is no longer employed with the NRA effective 29 June 2012”, according to a news release sent out Monday.
Former deputy managing director Edward Howard has been appointed acting managing director of the roads authority, and Paul Parchment is acting deputy managing director.
Board chair Colford Scott said the board decided in June effectively to buy out the remainder of Mr. Tomlinson’s contract, which was set to end 30 November. The board’s motives were financial, said Mr. Scott, citing a lack of funding and work for the authority.
“He applied for his contract to be renewed, but the board opted not to renew because of the economic situation of the Islands and the small amount of work that the NRA has for the foreseeable future,” Mr. Scott said.
Mr. Tomlinson has been advised not to make any comment at this time.
Mr. Scott said the timing of the board’s decision was because Mr. Tomlinson had been applying to renew his contract, which had an initial term of five years. Mr. Scott said Mr. Tomlinson was the only authority employee about whom the board made a decision during its June meeting.
However, he added, “The amount of staff will be dealt with from time to time, and depending on the work load of the authority.”
Mr. Tomlinson had been managing director of the roads authority since December 2007. He first arrived in the Cayman Islands in 1981 to work for the Public Works Department. He left the department in 1989 to set up a civil engineering consultancy. He moved back to Iowa in 1995, but returned to Cayman in 2003.
Mr. Howard had been acting managing director of the roads authority in 2007 up until Mr. Tomlinson’s appointment.
Mr. Tomlinson has publicly called attention to funding shortfalls at the authority, which, as of January, was owed some $2.5 million by central government for projects the authority has executed.
In March, Mr. Tomlinson told the Caymanian Compass that a planned $100,000 project to install two crosswalks on West Bay Road had been cancelled for budgetary reasons. He said, “We were ready to go forward, but we didn’t have the money to buy the materials. Do you want me to make payroll to keep Caymanian families employed or do you want me to put up pedestrian crosswalks?”
One of the crosswalks has since been green-lighted, and is currently under construction near the Strand shopping centre.
The authority has been involved in two situations that have become sensitive for Cayman Islands leaders. In March, the authority held up a shipment of explosives that did not have the necessary paperwork, leading to a police investigation. In that instance, Premier McKeeva Bush wrote a letter to Collector of Customs Carlon Powery, copied to Mr. Tomlinson, requesting the release of the blasting materials to Midland Acres Ltd.
The other situation involves Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, whose ministry spent more than $500,000 to pave private business and church parking lots in Cayman Brac in 2010 and 2011. Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick questioned the legality of the disbursement of public money, and noted a potential conflict of interest as Mr. Scott had been hired to be project manager of the paving effort, the majority of equipment and road crew for which came from the roads authority.
On 21 June, Cabinet appointed two new members to the Roads Authority Board of Directors – effective 1 July and holding office until 30 June, 2015.
The two new members are Michael Meghoo and Elsie Kynes. They replace Barry Martinez, who served until 1 July, as well as Christine Maltman and Brian Ebanks, who also were appointed in 2009 but did not appear on a revised list of board members published by Cabinet in February.
The new members would not have been involved in the board’s decision regarding Mr. Tomlinson.
Reappointed members include Mr. Scott, Troy Whittaker (deputy chairman), Darrell Rankine, Pearlina McGaw-Lumsden, Levonne Ryan and Steve McField.