The Chief Minister has apologised for making "unclear" comments about the shock departure of CEO Suzanne Wylie, after an accusation from one of her Ministers that the government had been "disingenuous" — and confirmed that the Deputy Chief Minister had been aware of the CEO's resignation since 14 March, despite jokes suggesting otherwise...
In a video statement released this afternoon, Deputy Kristina Moore confirmed that she received Mrs Wylie's letter of resignation on 14 March ahead of the formal announcement on 22 March — which she describes as "a point which I should have made clear last week".
In her statement, Deputy Moore also attempted to "clarify the public record in respect of the Deputy Chief Minister’s comments in the States Assembly on 21 March" — confirming that she had also "informed the Deputy Chief Minister of the CEO’s resignation on 14 March".
In the States Assembly on the 21 March, following a discussion about the resignations of two senior health staff and the States Employment Board, Deputy Farnham asked the Deputy Chief Minister "if he was aware of any possible future resignations that we could expect".
In reply, Deputy Morel joked: "apart from my own, depending on the performance of this particular question time, I am not aware of any" — despite today's confirmation that he had been informed of Mrs Wylie's resignation a week earlier.
Video: Deputy Chief Minister - who knew about Mrs Wylie's departure at the time - made a joke on the topic of resignations in last week's States Assembly meeting.
This afternoon, Deputy Moore attempted to defend Deputy Morel's comment, saying: "The Deputy Chief Minister clearly understood that a question on resignations concerned the health department."
"I should have clarified this earlier and my public comment on this matter was unclear, and I apologise," she added.
The Chief Minister's statement also confirmed that plans are underway to "redefine the role of Chief Executive", which Mrs Wylie is involved in, and recruitment will begin following this.
A video statement from @ChiefMinJSY, Deputy Kristina Moore on the resignation of Suzanne Wylie, CEO, Government of Jersey.— Government of Jersey (@GovJersey) March 27, 2023
Watch here: https://t.co/Go6mphWhEa
It comes after Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet broke Ministerial ranks to describe a "tense atmosphere" within Broad Street, where he said Mrs Wylie needed greater support and a happier working environment.
He said: "I think it is disingenuous to expect the public to believe the story that she is going back to be closer to family. Clearly, she had committed herself to the Island for the foreseeable future.
"I don’t share in the Chief Minister’s view that we should see this as an opportunity. Rather, we should view this as an own goal and a lost opportunity to build on 12 months’ knowledge and good work."
Deputy Binet added that more power was held by some than others, and, sitting on the periphery, last week’s events did not come as that much of a surprise.
"We have lost somebody who is, in my view, a first-class, dedicated, easy-to-work-with chief executive," he said. "She is a real asset to this government and to the Island and more than capable of making a significant contribution to resolving the many problems created by the Parker regime.
"In these circumstances, somebody in her position needed support, understanding, assistance and a happy working environment. In my view, some of these requirements were in short supply."
This Government was elected on a mandate to deliver change and to restore trust and accountability. As I said last week, this is a commitment that we must live and breathe.
With that in mind, I would like to clarify a number of points regarding the announcement of Suzanne Wylie’s departure as CEO.
The news of Suzanne’s resignation came as a shock to me and the Council of Ministers, and we have accepted her resignation with deep regret.
There was a delay between Suzanne delivering the news of her resignation and the Government announcing it publicly to allow for planning, which was mutually agreed with Suzanne.
Suzanne handed her letter of resignation to me on 14 March following a Council of Ministers meeting held in Grouville. This was ahead of the formal announcement on 22 March, and it is a point which I should have made clear last week. That I did not is a matter of regret to me, and I apologise.
I must also clarify the public record in respect of the Deputy Chief Minister’s comments in the States Assembly on 21 March. The Deputy Chief Minister clearly understood that a question on resignations concerned the health department. I informed the Deputy Chief Minister of the CEO’s resignation on 14 March. I should have clarified this earlier and my public comment on this matter was unclear, and I apologise.
Suzanne’s departure is not connected to the departures from Health. The reasons for Suzanne’s departure are personal. We have a duty of care to Suzanne – as we do for all government employees – and must acknowledge her right to confidentiality. Of course, working in government can at times be difficult, as we have so much to deliver for Jersey, and we need to ensure the environment is one that includes appropriate challenge alongside proper support.
As a Council of Ministers, we must act in a manner befitting of elected officials, with professionalism and decorum. We must unite and show Islanders that we are committed to delivering great services and better value for money.
I have discussed this with Deputy Tom Binet and the rest of the Council of Ministers, and we all believe that what Islanders want from us is government, not politics.
It is a matter of great regret to me and to the whole Council of Ministers that Suzanne has chosen to leave. There is nothing to be gained by arguing over it at a time when there are so many pressing issues to deal with, such as delivering improvements to our health service. We must now move forward and get on with delivering for Islanders on the issues that matter to them.
On behalf of the Council of Ministers, I thank Suzanne for her hard work in leading the Public Sector with dignity, drive, and ambition. Suzanne has been instrumental in this Government delivering on the initiatives that have underpinned our early days in office, as we endeavour to deliver change quickly in areas that matter to Islanders such as cost-of- living, housing, and recruitment and retention.
Plans are underway to redefine the role of Chief Executive, which Suzanne is involved in, and we will then recruit a new person to the role quickly, so that we can maintain stability and move forward with our agenda for change.
The Council of Ministers is committed to delivering the change Islanders want to see, so we can deliver on our vision of creating a community where everyone can thrive.
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