States Chief’s Contract to Stay Locked Away
Monday 20 August 13:17
States officials have decided to keep the government’s most senior employee's contract locked behind closed doors, following a request by Bailiwick Express to release it under the Freedom of Information Law.
They concluded on Friday that the employment terms of Charlie Parker, whose £250,000 base salary is paid by taxpayers, were ‘personal information’ and should not be made available for public scrutiny.
As the first FOI request of its kind, the decision sets a precedent for how future applications for employment details of high-earning senior civil servants will be handled.
The landmark FOI application for new Chief Executive Charlie Parker’s contract and salary details was made on 30 April this year.
But after a wait of nearly four months, which constituted a significant breach of FOI regulations, States staff officially declined to produce the document.
They said that the information was exempt under Article 25 of the Freedom of Information Law, as it was personal data.
However, the law, which was introduced to enhance government transparency, does allow for exemptions to be lifted if supplying that information is deemed as being in “the public interest.”
Express has now applied for a review of the decision. If the States refuse again, an appeal to the Office of the Information Commissioner will be considered.
The news comes as Mr Parker, who is spearheading the largest ever shake-up to the public sector, faces increasing scrutiny over his contract terms.
A Ministerial Decision signed off by then Assistant Minister for Population, Senator Paul Routier, took the extraordinary step of handing him full residency rights due to “the consistency of his track-record in delivering change within a number of substantial and relevant organisations.”
The move means that Mr Parker will face no barriers in buying a home and will be able to retire on the island. He may also be able to benefit from the tax benefits of moving his UK pension to Jersey.
It has led islanders to question what other ‘perks’, if any, Mr Parker may have been afforded.
While the FOI Unit did not provide the contract, officials did reveal that Mr Parker was on a permanent contract, which officially came into force on 8 January this year.
They confirmed that his annual base salary was £250,000 – a jump up from his previous basic pay as Chief Executive of Westminster City Council, where he earned around £207,000 – and that he had been paid £141,129.01 gross to date.
Previous Chief Executive John Richardson earned between £210,000 and £215,000 in his final year of work last year, and took home a pension of £3.2million.