Letters and emails detailing the strained working relationship between Chief Minister Kristina Moore and Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet have been made public – with tensions going as far back as last October.
In a break from "normal practice", the private correspondences were made public by the Chief Minister on Thursday following a Scrutiny panel's request for more information regarding allegedly unacceptable behaviour in senior levels of government.
In a letter to Corporate Services' Chair Deputy Sam Mézec, Deputy Moore wrote that she deemed it appropriate to publish her correspondences with Deputy Binet following references to the exchanges in this week's States sitting.
Recently, the Chief Minister and the Infrastructure Minister have clashed publicly – after Deputy Binet broke ranks to demand greater transparency from the Chief Minister in an interview shortly after Government CEO Suzanne Wylie’s resignation was announced publicly at the end of March.
However, the letters and emails published today show that tensions had been brewing at least six months before Mrs Wylie's resignation.
Last October, Deputy Binet wrote to the Chief Minister, when he described feeling "extremely stressed" after meetings they'd both attended, and criticised her lack of courtesy towards other members of the team.
He wrote: "On each occasion I left feeling extremely stressed, to the extent that, as a consequence of your approach to me at the last of these, I had to leave before the meeting commenced and cancel all other meetings for the remainder of the day.
"I should add, that instead of catching up on my work over the weekend, my state of mind was such that I felt unable to function constructively as I wrestled with the dilemma of how best I should deal with the situation."
Deputy Binet also criticised Deputy Moore's treatment of other staff members, adding: "Whilst you may not always be content with their performance, I feel that they deserve to be treated with the same respect as we would hope to receive from them. Sadly, this courtesy was not apparent at the meeting..."
The Chief Minister has also published her notes from a "difficult meeting" with Deputy Binet which took place on 29 March 2023 – which she says left her "feeling very unsettled".
Deputy Moore describes the meeting as "tense throughout", claiming that Deputy Binet "acted in an aggressive manner, both in language and actions". However, Deputy Moore adds that she "remained calm throughout the meeting".
Last week, the Chief Minister claimed that there had been "no formal grievances raised, or investigations undertaken, relating to unacceptable behaviour by Ministers or senior civil servants" since the current government came into office – but admitted that "from time to time relationships can get strained"
However, Scrutiny Chair Deputy Mézec asked for more details, calling for the Chief Minister to disclose "an overview of all concerns (not only "formal grievances") raised by Ministers and Government Civil Servants regarding unacceptable behaviour that have been resolved informally during your term of office" or "have fallen short of being classed as formal complaints".
The letter published today was in answer to Deputy Mézec's call for these details.
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