Approval is being sought to extend the posting of a senior official to help push through civil service reforms. The move comes as staff unions show no signs of compromise over the more contentious proposals. The Civil Service Bureau is seeking lawmakers' approval to extend the post, now dedicated to developing performance-based pay and appraisal systems. The $116,550-a-month officer will also implement recommendations on entry pay adjustment to be finalised for consideration next month. The move is widely seen as a sign of the Government's determination to implement the controversial reform despite staff side reservations voiced in the past two months. In a paper explaining the posting, the bureau stressed the 'urgent need' to take forward the various reforms announced in March. Meetings with 20 private firms have been held over the past five months to explore the performance pay and appraisal mechanism. Speaking after a forum on the reform, Secretary for Civil Service Lam Woon-kwong admitted staff were most concerned about pay performance and replacing pensionable appointments with contracts. Officials have received 100-plus submissions and held 80 meetings with staff unions and heads of departments. Mr Lam sought to play down the gap between the two sides. 'The differences are just a matter of degree rather than fundamental. It's not something that cannot be bridged,' he said. There was widespread support for other proposals, such as tightening disciplinary proceedings and improving performance appraisal, he said. But unionists at the forum were apparently unimpressed by the remarks. Staff side spokesman of the Disciplined Services Consultative Council Wong Wai-hung said: 'The proposed reform has already split and destabilised the civil service. We are facing dire consequences.' Lee Kwai-yin of the Chinese Civil Servants' Association criticised officials for rushing through the reforms. 'The Government's ability to form sound policies has already been questioned. I wonder if it is really necessary to launch the reform amid political and economic uncertainty,' she said.