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[Media Release - OPSC] Farewell to Public Service Commissioner, Russell Thomas

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

Friday 29 January 2021

Today, the Public Service farewells Public Service Commissioner Mr Russell Thomas who has led the Public Service for the past nine years.

Russell Thomas became Public Service Commissioner in March 2012. He has had a long and distinguished career in the Cook Islands public sector, having served for 14 years as an Interpreter for the Cook Islands Parliamentary Services before joining the Office of the Public Service Commissioner (OPSC) in 1996 as a Management Officer. Mr Thomas later served at OPSC as Chief Executive Officer from 2002-2009 before joining the Aid Management Division of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM).

Russell Thomas graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Management/Education) in 2001 and completed a Master in Business Administration with the University of the South Pacific in 2008. These academic achievements confirm Mr Thomas’s keen interest during his term in the Public Service in encouraging public servants to continuously upskill themselves.

A quiet and humble person, Mr Thomas leaves a legacy of achievements including:

· Being instrumental along with the Financial Secretary in introducing the Human Resources Management and Information System (HRMIS) for the Cook Islands Government in a joint project between the OPSC and MFEM. This project delivered an efficient payroll system and enables better tracking of Government finances.

· Ushering in reform of governance arrangements for the outer islands under a Functional Review conducted in 2012 under OPSC and which led to the passing of the Island Government Act 2012/13.

· The development of a broad suite of human resource (HR) management policies setting in place minimum standards for HR practices across the Public Sector.

· The introduction of a Government Pay Structure that would introduce transparent and competitive salaries into the Public Service.

Mr Thomas is looking forward to moving back to Aitutaki for ‘a little while’ and to complete the construction of his new house there. The Office of the Public Service Commissioner wishes Russell all the best in his future endeavours and thanks him for his service.


Enquiries regarding this media release can be directed to Teresa Tura, Corporate Services Manager, at or call 29 421 during Office hours.

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