Backbenchers took a stand against 'rubber-stamping' appointments at States-owned bodies yesterday, with the appointment of board members to the Jersey Development Company unusually squeezing through by the closest of margins.
Typically, the approval of board members to arms-length organisations is approved with minimal debate by politicians, as their backing comes at the end of a lengthy selection process.
But yesterday's proposal was different, with many politicians voicing their concern about the process and the lack of diversity of the appointees. In the end, the choice of the Treasury Minister was passed by 23 votes to 21, with one abstention.
Members were asked to approve the appointment of former Zoo Chief Executive Paul Masterton as Chairman of the publicly-owned developer and Nick Winsor, a past head of HSBC in the island, as a non-executive director. They also were asked to extend the maximum terms of members from nine to 12 years.
Deputy Kirsten Morel was one of the opponents, commenting: "This shows a failure of succession planning at JDC by the Treasury Minister.
"We have a culture of the same people going round and round into these appointments and it has to stop. 12 years is also far too long a term: it could lead to complacency and an atmosphere where corruption is possible."
Squeeky bum time for @Getonthelash2 as his proposition to extend the terms of office of NEDs at SOJDC passes by just 2 votes. Finally, I think govt is getting the message that we demand proper corp governance standards at SOJDC and other states' companies.— Kirsten Morel (@KirstenJersey) July 14, 2020
Assistant Treasury Minister Lindsay Ash, who presented the proposal and narrowly won the vote, said that these candidates were simply the best people for the job.
He added that, through such initiatives as the Board Apprenticeship Scheme, the government is making efforts to increase diversity and widen the talent pool.
Pictured top: New JDC chairman Paul Masterton.
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