The Chief Scrutineer has officially lodged a vote of no confidence against the Chief Minister, telling States Members that a vote in favour of ousting him “will be a vote for values and integrity.”
Senator Kristina Moore made the official push to topple Senator John Le Fondré in the wake of the bitter row over Government CEO Charlie Parker’s second job at UK real estate firm New River, which the Chief Minister allowed him to take without the correct permission.
According to his contract, Mr Parker should have secured written permission from the States Employment Board (SEB) – his ‘Employer’ – but instead only verbally asked its Chair, Senator Le Fondré.
But Senator Moore says her push is about more than just the “New River debacle”, citing the hospital saga, population policy, Government expenditure, oversight of the civil service and handling of the covid-19 pandemic among her reasons for bringing the motion.
Pictured: Charlie Parker's description on the New River website.
In a report explaining the rationale behind the no confidence vote, Senator Moore writes: "The purpose of this proposition is to restore faith in the leadership of the Island and to call for the observance of good governance, greater accountability and transparency.
"If members will support this proposition, they will be voting to rebuild the culture of the organisation that serves the public and to put Jersey back on track. A vote pour will be a vote for values and integrity. A vote pour will lead to a smooth transition offering certainty, clarity and a vision that will make islanders proud again."
It was filed yesterday afternoon with the backing of six States Members:
The vote will take place next Tuesday 10 November after States Members agreed to bring the vote forward.
Within the hour of the vote of no confidence being lodged yesterday, the Chief Minister made a veiled swipe at Senator Moore and her supporters in a statement delivered about the matter of the CEO’s second job.
“I believe some Members would like to capitalise on this opportunity for political gain and to see the Chief Executive, myself, or the Government fall,” he said.
“I believe that this type of behaviour would result in a manifestly disproportionate outcome given the circumstances.
“It is for Members to consider if they really feel that such a move is in the interests of the island.
“It is for Members to consider if they want to initiate a situation where the proposed Government Plan, and the planned funding arrangements for schools, for healthcare, for investing in our economy and for managing the covid-19 pandemic are all put at risk.
“It is for Members to consider if they want to focus on removing a Chief Executive at a time when we instead should be focusing on improving children’s services, delivering changes to health care and mental health services, building a new hospital, delivering a revamped Fort Regent and key public service reforms, sorting out the huge number of legacy issues facing our technology systems, and of course improving our estate.
“And it is for Members to consider how the public will view such unnecessary and all- encompassing politicised disruption to the work of Government, in the middle of a severe pandemic on our borders and preparations for the new UK-EU relationship.“
He also hit out at the States Members who spoke out on the handling of Mr Parker’s New River role, aside from new Public Accounts Committee Chair Deputy Inna Gardiner, whom he praised.
“I am disappointed that some Members chose to make public statements on the issue regarding the Chief Executive without approaching me directly to understand the facts. However, I would, like to recognise and thank the newly appointed Chair of PAC who has issued her own balanced statement expressing her wish to understand the matter in detail.”
The statement also saw the Chief Minister reveal that his fellow Ministers – who held a crisis meeting yesterday to discuss how to fend off the impending political challenge – did not support Mr Parker retaining his second role.
Noting that he recognised the “anger that has arisen among Members, Ministers and the public”, Senator Le Fondré commented: “The Council has agreed that I should meet with the Chief Executive at the earliest opportunity to relay their concerns and allow the Chief Executive to respond to them.
“Whilst the Council of Ministers expressed their support for the Chief Executive in the role he is doing, they have felt that the Non-Executive role is not compatible with the demands of his duties at this time.”
He concluded his statement by saying that he expected to be able to update his Ministerial colleagues and the SEB today (Tuesday 3 November).
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