The Chief Minister remains locked in discussions with the Government CEO over whether he should keep his controversial second job after the pair failed to reach a resolution yesterday as hoped.
The extended talks come as further questions are being raised about the time commitment for Charlie Parker’s Non-Executive Director role at New River.
Following a crisis meeting over the weekend, the Council of Ministers over-ruled Chief Minister John Le Fondré, who had given a verbal agreement to Mr Parker that he could take on the role.
Senator Le Fondré – who is facing a no confidence vote triggered by the saga next week – had pledged that Ministers and the States Employment Board (SEB) would be informed of the result of those talks yesterday, but only a short email update was provided.
Rather than announcing a resolution, it stated in brief terms that the CEO had not indicated his intentions and that discussions would have to continue.
Pictured: Charlie Parker's description on the New River website.
The Chief Minister confirmed to Express a “public statement will be made on the matter when discussions are complete with the Chief Executive and my Ministerial colleagues.”
Government officials said they were unable to confirm when that would be.
Since news of Mr Parker’s second role – which was announced to the Stock Exchange in September - broke last week, the Chief Minister and CEO have continued to maintain that the two roles will not impact on one another.
Assurances were given that Mr Parker’s role would only take up less than a week of his spare time per year – three days of meetings, plus half-year and full-year results meetings, which he will prepare for in his “own time at evenings and on weekends.”
But New River’s latest annual report has cast some doubt on the stated time commitment.
Pictured: New River's annual report says the board met weekly during the covid crisis.
It states that all board members are “required, by letters of their appointment, to devote as much of their time, ability and skills as are reasonably required for the performance of their duties.”
“This is anticipated as a minimum of one day a month.”
It also noted that the board has been meeting “regularly (at least weekly) on an ad hoc basis” since the start of the pandemic.
And more detail has emerged about Mr Parker’s connection to New River’s Chair, Baroness Margaret Ford.
The pair worked together at regeneration agency English Partnerships in the 2000s, where Mr Parker held the role of Investment Director, and continue to work together on the Buckingham Palace Reservicing Board.
In an interview in the Times in 2014, Mr Parker named Baroness Ford as one of “several great leaders” he had worked for when asked about the leaders that had inspired him most.
Mr Parker said in a letter to the Chief Minister that he had been headhunted for the role at New River – the salary for which will be donated to charity, he said.
The Chief Minister moved to assuage States Members concerns about the role or any potential conflicts of interest in a statement on Monday where he reiterated his pledge for a Government-wide review of conflicts of interest.
He also reiterated that he and the Chief Executive had apologised and sought to rectify errors in the appointment process.
But this did little to quell the rising anger from States Members and Ministers who will next week be asked to vote on whether Senator Le Fondré should retain the top role.
Among the signatories on the ‘vote of no confidence’ brought by Senator Kristina Moore was Senator Steve Pallett, who resigned from his role as Assistant Minister with responsibility for sport and mental health.
Pictured: Senator Kristina Moore has lodged a vote of no confidence.
He said the saga was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” for him, but that the handling of the OneGov transformation and the civil service pay dispute had previously caused him to lose confidence in Senator Le Fondré’s leadership.
Reform Jersey – who signed a deal to support Senator Le Fondré as Chief Minister after the selection – are yet to state whether they will back him again.
In a cryptic statement released last night, the party – whose members include Children and Housing Minister Senator Sam Mézec and Assistant Minister for Culture Deputy Montfort Tadier – said they were considering "all matters" and that they would act in a "considered and collegiate matter."
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