Jersey's top civil servant has built up a pension pot of £2.57million, and it appears other very senior States employees may have even higher amounts to enjoy in retirement.
The figures have been published in the 2015 States' accounts and they show that Chief Executive John Richardson has a bumper pension waiting for him on retirement of over £2.5million. The accounts also show that Health and Social Services Chief Officer Julie Garbutt had £1.66million in her States pension pot at the end of last year.
Mr Richardson's salary last year was between £205-210,000 a year, while Mrs Garbutt was paid £180-185,000 in 2015.
Other pension pots which hit over the million mark by the end of 2015 include (titles are for 2015): Michael Wilkins £1.7m (Judicial Greffier and Viscount), Paul Matthews £1.69m (Judicial Greffier), Brian Heath £1.19m (Chief Probation Officer) and Mike De La Haye £1.31m (Greffier of the States).
Mr Richardson's pension pot is not likely to be the highest of current States employees, as there are eight who are paid higher than the Chief Executive's pay band. The pensions of those other eight employees have not been publicised.
Treasury Minister Alan Maclean said pension rules have now changed as the previous system was "unsustainable" - but the alterations will not affect either Mr Richardson or Mrs Garbutt.
"We have moved from the original system - which most corporations and local Governments used - which was a final salary pension, to a career average. The timetable has been set to do that and it has been agreed in the States. That's a step in the right direction. There will be a cap in the liabilities because if we had carried on with the current system it would have been totally unsustainable. We have now get ourselves into a better position than we were, with the career average structure. It is better now than it was.
"We have recognised the problems we had and Jersey was slow in moving to address the final salary system. It was dropped by others some time ago. We have been slow getting there but we now have a system which has been approved and is fairer, although obviously we cannot make this change retrospectively.
"Everybody who now becomes a States employee, goes into the new system."
Deputy Andrew Lewis, Chairman of the States spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee, said: "My take on it is that we urgently need a new benchmarking exercise because I do think both these pensions figures are too generous and also the contribution the employer is making, in this case the States, is also too generous.
"The fact is that we, the States, as employers, are paying around 16% of contributions towards pensions. That is too high and it is also unsustainable in the long term. People are living longer and as such I don't think that level of contribution is sustainable anymore.
"I think in terms of wages we pay some people too much and some people too little. I haven't got a huge problem with the wages we pay because I know in terms of other similar sized organisations our pay structures are not overly generous. But I do have a problem with pensions and I didn't know it was as high as these figures. I do think something needs to be done to pension amounts, which in some cases are too high. This is a great concern to me."
But Senator Sarah Ferguson said she felt the huge pension package enjoyed by top civil servants will not go down well with other States employees, especially those lower down the pay scale.
"My interest is in transparent Government, that is what really concerns me," she said. "In the past civil servants were given good pensions because their pay was relatively low. That is clearly no longer the case. Too many civil servants are paid very well, receive huge pensions and yet that doesn't seem to filter down to the actual workers. I assume they will look at these figures and will scarcely believe them."
A spokesman for the Chief Ministers' Department said: “The States Accounts are published every year, and include remuneration and pension details for the most senior public servants. The Chief Executive of the States and the Chief Officer of HSSD (Health and Social Services Department) have pension values commensurate with their length of service and remuneration, both here and in the UK. Their pensions are established under exactly the same rules as any other member of the public sector pension scheme.”
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