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Chief Minister and CEO apologise for second job "oversight"

Chief Minister and CEO apologise for second job

Friday 30 October 2020

Chief Minister and CEO apologise for second job "oversight"


The Chief Minister and the Chief Executive have both apologised for the "oversight" in not gaining proper permission for the top civil servant's second job at a UK real estate firm - and the former has now launched a Government-wide review into how conflicts of interest are managed.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the States Employment Board (SEB) expressed their "utmost disappointment" to have not been "consulted or informed" in advance of Mr Parker accepting a role as Non-Executive Director at New River in September.

The SEB is a panel of politicians that officially acts as 'Employer' to all public sector workers and sets their pay and terms of conditions. The law states that at least three members must be present at a meeting for a decision to be made.

However, Mr Parker's appointment was only sanctioned by the SEB Chair, the Chief Minister - despite his contract stating that any positions outside of his role as CEO should be confirmed in writing by his 'Employer'.

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Pictured: The relevant part of Mr Parker's contract, which was made public by Express.

Following a crisis meeting last night, the SEB has now directed that the "administrative shortcomings are corrected immediately."

They added: "...and should any potential conflict of interest arise, this would be brought to our attention without delay."

Just minutes after that statement was issued, the Government released a letter from Mr Parker to the Chief Minister dated 29 October.

It also confirms that - as Express previously reported - that the Deputy Chief Minister, Senator Lyndon Farnham, did not fully agree with the appointment, despite the Government saying that he had cleared it alongside the Chief Minister.

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Pictured: Senator Farnham (left) was not happy with the New River appointment, despite the Government previously saying he had sanctioned it.

The letter from Mr Parker describes him as having expressed "some reservations and concerns as to how the appointment might be received among some quarters in Jersey."

In his letter, the CEO also acknowledges that his appointment should have been "formalised in writing" before September when it was announced to the Stock Exchange, but said that this had not occurred due to "overlapping circumstances, both personal and related to Government priorities."

In an extraordinary step, the Chief Minister has now pledged to launch a Government-wide review of how conflicts of interest are dealt with.

"As an additional result of this matter, and the concerns raised by some States Members, the public and media, I will be launching a Government-wide review of the management of conflicts of interest. I will also be making a formal statement to the States Assembly on this matter on Monday 2 November," he said.

The review pledge coincides with Deputy Jeremy Maçon putting forward a proposal to request that the SEB and Council of Ministers "review the existing rules, policies and guidance relating to the ability of public sector workers to secure or hold employment that is secondary or additional to their employment with the States of Jersey."

He confirmed to Express that he "had no discussion with the Chief Minister on the matter" and that he lodged the proposition with the States Greffe last night after being contacted by a number of concerned constituents, whom he thanked for taking their time express their views on the matter.

In a report accompanying his review proposal, he writes: "It is one thing for, say, a manual worker to gain some extra hours working in a pub, or a nurse to gain extra hours in the private sector. But it is completely another thing for the most senior members of staff to take on other roles that may put them in potential conflict with their duties... 

"In these situations, one always tries to avoid discussion about an individual.

"It seems to be that the rules surrounding this area need to be updated and, in particular, that the rules regarding senior roles need to be more stringent."

Express has asked whether the Chief Minister is planning on an independent review or whether he plans to support the request by Deputy Maçon, which is currently scheduled for debate by States Members in December.

Follow Express for updates... 

CLICK TO READ: Charlie Parker's letter to the Chief Minister...

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READ MORE…

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Comments

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Posted by Paul Acton-Phillips on
So, does this appointment stand or should Mr Parker resign and make a proper application?
Posted by Kathryn Robinson on
An ‘oversight’ - how unfortunate they were caught. And then trying to cover the truth by stating Senator Farnham had agreed - Jersey taxpayers deserve better
Posted by Jon Needham on
First up the proper procedure was followed. Second the statement that there was no conflict. Third that the the relevant salary would be going to charity. Fourth we are now told the correct procedure was not followed. I think the expression is “ credibility shot” .
Posted by L Brindle on
Why not just admit you got caught breaking your own rules? Anyone else would have their ar*e kicked, and rightly so.
Posted by Guy de Faye on
It is no longer relevant who gave permission for Mr Parker to entertain one or more non-executive directorships and, additionally, it makes little difference whether the money accrued from New River Reit Plc is going to charity.

The issue now is one of perception and, like it or not, Jersey's £250K+ Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is - apparently - not giving 100 percent of his efforts to the benefit of our Island. Instead, self enrichment and, possibly, self aggrandisement has crept into the equation - as now viewed by the taxpayers who fund his local salary.

Whether income from these directorships goes to charity or not, the fiscal links with Buckingham Palace and New River remain, as does speculation as to the level of probity exercised in any future developments or transactions to which the CEO is linked by a non-executive directorship. Such speculation will also now apply to Government of Jersey strategies, mostly approved by the CEO, that may offer future personal benefits. 

Regrettably, this is one of those errors of judgement that, once made, cannot be easily undone. The only certain conclusion is that people in the highest positions of power and authority do not always make wise decisions.
 
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