States CEO Apologises For Second Job Permission 'Oversight'

The States Chief Executive has apologised for not telling the States Employment Board, as the employer of all public employees in Jersey, that he was taking on a non-executive position with a UK property investment firm.

The SEB says it overshadows the progress that has been made in modernising Government services and the considerable effort made in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Channel 103 revealed earlier this week that Charlie Parker had taken on the role with NewRiver in September.

In a statement yesterday, the Chief Minister said the States CEO is doing the work in his spare time and that NewRiver 'has no operational business interests in Jersey'.

The Chief Minister today says he gave Charlie Parker verbal permission to take the job, but this wasn't formalised in writing as it should have been - and the SEB wasn't consulted, which Senator John Le Fondre says was down to several factors, including the management of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It's also been revealed that Deputy Chief Minister Senator Lyndon Farnham expressed reservations and concerns about the appointment. We were told earlier this week that he gave it clearance.

Senator Le Fondre says he and Mr. Parker have apologised to the SEB - and have agreed to correct what he calls the 'administrative shortcomings' immediately.

The CM says he is personally content that the CEO has taken all possible steps to avoid a conflict of interest. A government-wide review of the management of conflicts of interest has now been launched.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, Mr. Parker said the opportunity with NewRiver allows him to use their expertise, research, and contacts to better understand the future of retail centres, the impact of online shopping and the regeneration of town centres - which can help to benefit Jersey.

He has also hit out at the media and commentators and said they've been choosing to present and misrepresent the facts of his appointment.

Channel 103 reported that the firm's accounts show that non-execs can earn £50,000 annually. It's since been confirmed that Mr. Parker has not taken a salary, with the money instead going to a range of local charities - including some in Jersey.

He also insists 'he will receive no personal advantage from this appointment'.

"As a public servant I have always accepted that public scrutiny goes beyond my professional expertise. I am accountable to you, the Council of Ministers and ultimately islanders. I hope that you and other Ministers and those close to the Covid-19 response will attest not just to my commitment to the island but also, my integrity as a public servant and my absolute resolution to do the best for islanders. Sometimes this is at a personal cost, often I have a limited right of reply to such commentators and the right to correct the facts is lost.

"My record as a public servant for nearly 40 years both in the UK and now here, has always been about the place I serve. Those people in Jersey public life who have questioned my integrity and commitment to the island and public service, do not know me. I hope having the full facts, they reflect on their comments and avoid politicising the civil service, which I am proud to lead. The suggestion that I have given anything less than my maximum commitment to Jersey during this difficult time, or will do in the future, is simply wrong."

More to follow.

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