Charlie Parker ‘will not get housing qualifications’

GOVERNMENT chief executive Charlie Parker does not have full Jersey residency rights and there will be ‘no additional payouts beyond his contractual entitlement’, the Chief Minister has said.

Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker

Mr Parker stood down from his role as the Island’s top civil servant on Monday, on the eve of the no-confidence motion in Chief Minister John Le Fondré.

The announcement came after two weeks of controversy surrounding Mr Parker’s decision to accept a non-executive directorship role with UK real estate trust New River.

Under Mr Parker’s government contract he is required to secure written approval for any such role. However, it became clear that this process was not followed and that only verbal permission to accept the second job was given by Senator Le Fondré.

A press statement was issued claiming that Mr Parker had his appointment with New River ‘cleared by the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister’. It has emerged, however, that neither Senator Le Fondré nor Senator Lyndon Farnham saw the statement before it was sent to the media. Senator Farnham has said that he warned the chief executive not to take the role.

A government spokesperson said: ‘This statement, in response to a series of questions and queries from the media, was drafted by the press office. It was cleared, in accordance with protocol, by the relevant senior officer and has been addressed in subsequent statements by the Chief Minister.’

In offering his resignation, Mr Parker said that he would stay on as government chief executive for as long as the government required him to do so. The government have now confirmed that a recruitment process will ‘start shortly’ and that Mr Parker will stay in post until arrangements for an interim chief executive are made.

During yesterday’s debate in the States Assembly, Senator Le Fondré said: ‘The chief executive is receiving his contractual entitlement and no more. There is no additional pay out and no extras.’

The government has since confirmed that any pay-off will be reported in the Annual Report and Accounts in ‘due course’ and is ‘consistent with his contractual entitlement’.

Senator Le Fondré added: ‘To be clear, contrary to rumour, he has not got his qualifications for residency. We have honoured his contract and further speculation at this time would make it more difficult to tie up the final arrangements.’

As revealed following pressure from the Island’s media, Mr Parker was granted full local residential qualifications before he took up his role in Jersey. Ordinarily, civil servants are given licensed housing status. Being licensed enables immigrant employees to enjoy greater freedom to rent and buy property than those with ‘registered’ (unqualified) status. However, licensed rights last only for the period a person remains in the role for which the licensed status was granted. Licensed Islanders would, therefore, lose their enhanced housing rights if they lost or left their jobs. It had previously been understood that Mr Parker’s entitled status would allow him to remain regardless of his future employment status.

Mr Parker will be subject to a confidentiality clause. The government have also confirmed that Mr Parker’s failure to secure written permission for New River role was deemed a ‘minor breach’ by his employer, the States Employment Board.

A government spokesperson said: ‘When it was known that written permission had not be given, the SEB directed that this should be corrected. It was considered a minor breach as verbal permission had been given. When this happened the breach was corrected.’

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