Chief exec ‘will not be paid’ for UK role

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Senator John Le Fondré (pictured, right) who, along with his deputy Senator Lyndon Farnham, sanctioned Mr Parker’s appointment with New River, released a statement yesterday following two days of criticism about the appointment.

Senator Le Fondré said that Mr Parker ‘had already agreed’ to take part in New River’s ‘salary sacrifice scheme’, with the annual £50,000 non-executive’s fee due to go to a range of charities, including some in Jersey.

‘This [gifting to charity] will be fully disclosed in the New River accounts and the government’s annual report,’ Senator Le Fondré stated. ‘No funds will be received by the chief executive.’

Details were also revealed about the time Mr Parker will devote to his charitable efforts on behalf of New River, which specialises in buying, managing and developing retail and leisure assets across the UK.

Obligations include four half-day board meetings per year, an annual strategy day plus involvement in biannual results meetings. These online commitments would be covered by the chief executive’s 31-day annual leave allowance, with any preparation carried out at evenings and weekends, the Chief Minister said.

Meanwhile, the potential for conflicts of interest, raised by several States Members, was rebuffed by the Chief Minister.

‘New River has no operational business interests in Jersey,’ he said. ‘The chief executive made clear to New River that he could not take up the post if any operational interests in Jersey existed.

‘If this position were to change, the chief executive has previously agreed to discuss with me any potential conflict of interest and how this should be resolved.’

Further questions about the matter were raised yesterday by the new chairwoman of the Public Accounts Committee.

‘I was surprised to see the chief executive take on this demanding role in a time of crisis, when we need committed leadership more than ever,’ Deputy Inna Gardiner said in a statement released prior to the Chief Minister’s. ‘Although it appears there are no direct conflicts of interest, there are many questions raised by his appointment.

‘For example, we are told he can undertake the role in his own time, and that it will inform Jersey’s economic recovery from Covid-19 through access to a wide range of research into international developments in the retail sector, but I will be keen to learn how that works in practice.’

Deputy Gardiner is building the PAC membership after taking over as chairwoman from Senator Sarah Ferguson. She has said she hopes the committee will be assembled in time to question Mr Parker at a quarterly hearing scheduled for 30 November.

The JEP has asked Senator Le Fondré why the position regarding Mr Parker’s remuneration for his extra-curricular role was not clarified sooner and why a significant number of ministers were not told about the appointment, either at the time it was made last month or at any stage prior to the news breaking earlier this week.

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