Monday 25 September 2017

Short changed: No pay rise for Chief Minister

Thursday 14 September 2017

Short changed: No pay rise for Chief Minister

All Jersey's politicians will continue to receive the same salary, irrespective of their duties or responsibilities, after a proposal to up the pay for the Chief Minister ended in a dead heat.

A proposition brought by the Privileges and Procedures Committee (PPC) - which suggested that the Chief Minister should receive a supplement of 15%(£7,000) on top of his current £46,600 salary - got an equal number of votes for and against, which means it is defeated.

PPC proposed scrapping a section of the law prohibiting States members from receiving different levels of pay.

If successful, the increase would have been implemented in May 2018 - just after elections.

Members were divided on the issue as the votes split the Chamber almost equally, with 20 votes for, 20 votes against. Two Members, the Constable of St Helier, Simon Crowcroft, and current Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, abstained from the vote.

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Pictured: Current Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, refrained from yesterday's vote, alongside St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft.

Speaking in favour of the proposition, Assistant Chief Minister, Senator Paul Routier said: “This amount of 15% is a recognition of the importance of the role of Chief Minister. The Chief Minister represents us outside of the island and its more than what we all do here. It’s more than what Ministers do, it’s more than what backbenchers do, it’s more than what Scrutiny Chairmen do – it’s wider than that. It is an all-encompassing workload and it has to be done exceptionally well. It needs to be recognised that that role is rather special.”

During the debate, Deputy Tracy Vallois criticised the proposal, which she saw as bringing commercial logic to the private sector. She said: “The ultimate issue for me is the accountability side of things. This is not a business we run, this is a public sector. This is a public sector that we are elected to be in charge of... I’m reluctant to turn around and give the title more money, because I want the performance to be the best and not the title to be the best.”

The news follows a public survey in February, in which 40% of respondents backed giving the island’s most senior politician a pay rise.

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Pictured: A proposal which suggesting giving the Chief Minister a pay rise divided Members in the States Chamber.

The survey saw 38% say that States pay was not too high, not too low, but ‘about right’, while 54% decided that it was ‘too high’ or ‘far too high’.

Meanwhile, two fifths of respondents thought that higher pay for politicians was necessary to attract a higher calibre of candidate.

Find the full breakdown of yesterday's vote here.

Comments

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Posted by Bob Wareing-Jones on
It seems rather silly for the States Employment Board and the CEO of the States to carry out a root and branch review of all States employees job roles in order to set fair pay and not include States Members who are also public servants. This is where the States Members Renumeration body have got it wrong in my view. All States Employees (well generally but not exclusively) are required to apply and if selected attend a competitive interview for a job. Stayes members of course do not! They apply, stand for election and unlike all other public servants we, the people select or not. I would suggest if you assessed the role of the CEO of the states, he/she would be hard pressed to prove their job was more difficult, more demanding than the Chief Minister. Likewise the Chief Officer of Health or Economic Development or Treasury et al any more demanding than the Minister. Likewise a grade 9/10 Civil Servant who is paid roughly the same as a states member! The sad thing is we the public appear to have such a low opinion of our politicians that we place very little value on them or their contribution as public servants. But as Deputy Tadier eloquently stated in the states assembly yesterday the pay review body has never actually undertaken a full assessment of the job states members do, the hours they work, the lack of administrative support they get, the manner in which they work, the reality of being under scrutiny 24/7 from all corners of the island, what they say, what they write, what they propose etc, etc. Politicians generally these days are just held in contempt by the public which is actually unfair and hardly sensible when you consider what we ask of them and expect of them. I personally believe what we need is a genuine look at the roles and responsibilities of states members using the same criteria as that adopted under the Modernisation programme of the public sector workforce. It needs to be work that's open and transparent, publicly available so we can all see for ourselves just how tough a job it is and maybe we would all learn to have more respect for our states members and compare their contribution to our islands welfare in the same way we should all public servants.
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