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Bid to keep Interim Gov CEO for longer

Bid to keep Interim Gov CEO for longer

Monday 02 August 2021

Bid to keep Interim Gov CEO for longer

Monday 02 August 2021

The recruitment of a new Government CEO could be halted, with the Interim remaining in place until after next year's elections, if States Members agree.

Deputy Kirsten Morel wants weaknesses in the appointment process to be reviewed before the process to appoint the island's top civil servant is concluded, and is urging politicians to vote in favour of the move next month.

In a report outlining his proposal, Deputy Morel commented: "If the wrong person is appointed to the role, the consequences are profound and have a serious detrimental effect on the Island’s public administration."

He went on to note that the Government's last three Chief Executives had all left with compromise agreements that led to three reports by the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), each featuring recommendations that still need to be implemented.

The C&AG's most recent report detailed a number of "weaknesses" in how the overall appointment, employment and termination of Charlie Parker - who left with a £500,000 'golden handshake' - were handled, and called for the Government to carry out a review and publish its findings.


Pictured: The Comptroller and Auditor General, Lynn Pamment, said there were "weaknesses" in the CEO recruitment process that should be reviewed.

This call was echoed by the Public Accounts Committee - a panel of politicians responsible for scrutinising how well the Government is looking after the public purse -  in a letter to the Chief Minister last month. They said that the recruitment of a permanent CEO should be delayed until this was done.

Despite this, the Government has continued its recruitment process.

Deputy Morel also suggested that the culture of Government had become "more favourable" since the arrival of Interim CEO Paul Martin - whose contract currently runs until February 2022 - and described his months of work so far as a "success" with the Government said to be working "more effectively" with "all islanders... feeling the benefit."

For this reason, he argued that it "makes no sense to disrupt the improved workings of the public service by making a new appointment before the C&AG’s recommendations have been implemented."

"Ultimately, the Interim CEO has undertaken a job interview of many months and, has done very well. Any new appointee will have been interviewed for a matter of hours and, given the current covid situation, is unlikely to have even been met in person or been able to travel to the Island. After three years of turmoil, the Government of Jersey and its public administration are experiencing a period of calm and competence, which should not be needlessly disrupted. The States Assembly should put the needs of the Island before the needs of a recruitment process, no matter how far advanced it is," Deputy Morel argued.

He therefore says States Members should request that the current recruitment process be halted, with Mr Martin remaining in role until after the 2022 elections set for June - something Deputy Morel says he understands Mr Martin is willing to do.

Chief Scrutineer Senator Kristina Moore previously called for the recruitment of a new Government CEO to be delayed until after the election in case there is an influx of new political leaders with different priorities.


Pictured: Senator Kristina Moore has also previously spoken in favour of delaying the CEO recruitment until after elections.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, Senator Moore said that delaying the recruitment until a new Council of Ministers is in place would "avoid a repeat of the previous recruitment process" - Mr Parker took up his new role just months before the 2018 elections brought in a new Chief Minister.

“This would allow greater transparency with regards management style and certain objective setting," she further argued.

“The importance of this concern is particularly relevant when considering the comments made in the former Chief Executive Performance Appraisal, which set a target for the second year in office to 'Strengthen the relationship and rapport between himself and the Chief Minister'."

The Chief Minister has already indicated that he disagrees with the idea, however.

When Senator Sam Mézec asked a similar question in the States Assembly back in June, Senator John Le Fondré was firm that no delay to the recruitment process was necessary because the role of the CEO is "not a political one."

Deputy Morel's proposition is due to be debated on 14 September.

Pictured top: Interim CEO Paul Martin.

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Posted by Keith Marsh on
Paul Martin seems to be doing a good job, and is keeping himself under the media spotlight, the way the most senior civil servant should be. IF he is willing, it makes economic sense to keep him in this role, and offer him the permanent position.
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