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Chief Minister and Gov CEO locked in second job talks

Chief Minister and Gov CEO locked in second job talks

Wednesday 04 November 2020

Chief Minister and Gov CEO locked in second job talks

Wednesday 04 November 2020

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.

They instructed him to tell Mr Parker that his New River job was “not compatible” with his duties as head of Jersey’s civil service “at this time.”

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."


Government defends CEO's extra £50k job

"The CEO is almost acting independently"

Gov CEO's second job salary 'to go to charity'

Did Gov CEO have correct permission for second job?

Chief Minister and CEO apologise for second job "oversight"

Chief Minister in fight for his future

Ministers tell Parker second job "not compatible" with CEO role

EXPRESS OPINION: Dancing on the head of a pin

Senator brings vote of no confidence against Chief Minister

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Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

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Posted by George Baird on
On the question of Mr Parker’s time commitment with New River , you guys at Bailliwick Express are absolutely correct . Having been a NED in a very similar enterprise where in addition to the Board Meetings there are also the Audit and Risk, Remuneration , Nomination and probably other Committees where Mr Parker’s expertise would be crucial. The reported time commitment of at least one day a month plus ad hoc meetings in this current economic climate would be very very considerable. This doesn’t even include the hundreds of emails , telephone calls and video conference calls . This is not is minor NED position . This is a seriously mega company with over 70 subsidiaries. And Mr Parker states that he is doing this for nothing. The question is WHY
Posted by Jon Needham on
Based on the decision of the Council of Ministers what could there possibly be to discuss. Accept the decision, do the right thing and move on.
Posted by Martin on
I am no CEO BUT if I were - I would ensure I was aware of all the conditions of my role and as much as possible of my subordinates & I would try to set the highest standards possible in every area - especially for £250 K - & this seems not to have occurred! I would also thought that any job with a £250 K salary deserved the persons entire dedication - to include if necessary additional hours work without additional pay! To seek or accept another job can very perceivably affect one main role whether by unexpected issues or decision making!

MANY persons survive on less than £50 K per year and possibly having 2 choice jobs is a little greedy? The second £50K job could have supported another family in whole or part!

This sort of thing should not be occurring at this level.

It is not only down to set rules and regulations - it is common sense and morals that should control a persons actions under these circs before the rules!

ihi v
Posted by IanSmith97 on
What is there to discuss, it is obvious the SEB and belatedly, the CM and the ‘cabinet’ do not want Parker to have this second job. Just tell him, end of. He will have to choose what is the more important job to him.
Posted by Moz Scott on
Fair comment, George and Jon. That 'my way or the highway' saying has a secondary meaning now.
Posted by Jon Jon on
Simply Charlie chooses,£250 grand versus £50 grand, if he still persists with his second job then Le Fondre grow some balls and sack him!
Posted by Keith Marsh on
The longer this dreadful situation continues, just proves beyond reasonable doubt, that neither The Chief Minister or Mr Parker are suitable in their current roles. Both should consider their position urgently.
Posted by Moz Scott on
Fair comment, George and Jon. That 'my way or the highway' saying has a secondary meaning now.
Posted by David Esterson on
I can’t see the problem. Let Charlie Parker take the job with New River and give up the one in Jersey - satisfies everybody.
Posted by Paul Troalic on
There is no room for discussion here in my view.
Charlie a Parker should have known the procedure shouldn't he? He has put John Le Fondre in an extemely difficult position and has been instrumental in encouraging other politicians to bring a vote of no confidence in the CM.
If I were in JLFs shoes I would sack Parker as be has breached his contract.
We will be well rid of him and he can get as many NEDs as he wants.
Let's get a proper Jersey person in the job of CEO. Do it the Jersey way without help from Westminster.
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