One clearly needed change is the presence of a truly independent member that has little association with the people whose salary are affected, and be able to look at the whole issue objectively from a distance. Such a person will then be in a position to provide an impartial view of the remuneration package.
The inputs of HR professionals is definitely useful, but must be from an independent source, not from the ministries.
Though Gerard is talking about starting from a clean slate, his comments are still tainted with the present system of discount and paying high. A discount is only necessary when the package is not right to begin with, a kind of over paying. If the package is correctly or reasonably conceived, there is no need for any further discount. The pricing of public housing is a glaring example of what discount or subsidy is not what it is meant to be.
The paying high is something that reasonable Singaporeans are willing to concede. But what is high and what contributed to the high should be carefully considered. There is no need to pay high to compensate for corruptibility. Anyone who is tempted to be corrupt, let the law deals with him. And there is no need to pay obscene salary just because it has yet to break the treasury.
Then there is the issue of compensating for loss of potential income. Any honourable man/woman coming forward to serve the country at the highest office the country can offer is an honourable calling. If he/she is asking to be compensated for loss of potential earnings then such people should be left to earn their money in their profession. There is no need to make people sacrifice unnecessarily to serve the country when they are unwilling to do so. A political calling or any calling cannot be measured in monetary rewards. An excellent surgeon or lawyer or any professional, does not simply turn into an excellent national leader. There is no direct correlation in what they are doing in their profession to political appointment. To compensate in such terms is irrational thinking.
From the above, the most important tweak needed is the mindset of the Review Committee. If they are still thinking in the same wavelength as those who conceived the current package, the statement of a new slate is a myth. They need to free their mindset from the flawed reasoning of the past.