Top aides move above $100,000 mark

Fanny Wong

TWO former aides to the Governor, Mr Chris Patten, and the Chief Secretary, Sir David Ford, have been moved up the promotion ladder in the Government's latest round of advancement exercises for senior staff.

Results of the latest promotion boards assessing the performance of senior staff were circulated to officers yesterday. The list announced the upgrading of 28 officers, 10 of whom are expatriate staff.

While the promotion list for the secretary grade has yet to be released, the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Michael Sze Cho-cheung, whose substantive grade is D6 on the directorate pay scale, is expected to have his secretarial position confirmed when the next announcement is made.

The decision to withhold the promotion results for secretary grade is believed to be connected with a top level reshuffle of policy secretaries which is expected to be announced shortly.

Normally, officers will be promoted only after they have been acting one grade higher up than their substantive grade but the latest round of promotions has seen some exceptions.

Former private secretary to Mr Patten, Mr Richard Hoare, who left the post in late December, and former Information Co-ordinator Mr Tony Miller, who served as the right-hand man to Sir David, are both promoted to the D6 grade, the grade for heads of departments with a monthly salary of $106,950.

While Mr Miller, whose current substantive rank is D4, has been holding an acting D6 grade since he took up the directorship of the Marine Department in late 1991, Mr Hoare's grade as private secretary to the Governor is only D4.

Under the Government pay scale, the monthly salary of D4 officers ranges from $95,450 to $98,350.

Mr Hoare, who was awarded an OBE in the Queen's New Year honours list, is currently taking a one-year course at the Royal College of Defence Studies in London. He is expected to be offered a directorship in one of the Government departments when he returns to the territory early next year.

Some colleagues expressed surprise at Mr Hoare's promotion, noting that it was unusual for an officer to get a direct promotion without having acting in the senior job for some time.

However, it was argued that if merit was the key for promotion instead of seniority, the latest results are a clear indication of such an intention.

Director of Administration, Mr Nicholas Ng Wing-fui, who currently works directly under Sir David and has a substantive grade of D4, is also promoted to be confirmed as a D6 officer.

Former administrative assistant to Sir David, Mr Stephen Lam Sui-lung, beat many of his seniors and was promoted one grade up, from the D2 grade of the directorate pay scale to D3 with his salary increasing from $76,000 a month to more than $84,000.

Officers intimately involved in the multi-billion-dollar airport core projects, including the deputy secretary for the treasury, Mr Stephen Selby, and the principal assistant secretary for economic services, Mr Bob Wilson, were also promoted from the D2 grade to D3.

Mr Selby is handling the financial side for the airport core programmes while Mr Wilson has been heavily involved in the Chek Lap Kok plan.