Thursday, 16 June 2011

“Well out” – Civil Service “golden handshake” could be £700k. So who took the decision?

Senator Jim Perchard, hot from his joint victory in the States on Monday with Senator Shenton that achieved a temporary reprieve for private school subsides, followed up his earlier headline catching revelations that States CEO Bill Oggley had received a pay-off of as much as £700k. If correct, this is £200k more than the £500k he revealed in May during a quarterly interview with the Chief Minister.

Jim dropped this little tit bit during a routine Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel Meeting. This time however, the JEP were not in attendance to scoop a front page headline.

Jim further indicated that the information the golden handshake was “well out” at £500k had come from an anonymous informant.

Like the entire island, save one assumes the Council of Ministers, Senator Perchard was incensed that such large sums could be agreed as a pay-off at a time of austerity and planned States budget cuts. Had there been a Ministerial decision to approve the payment? Yes, replied the Scrutiny Clerk.  Minutes of the States Employment Board (SEB) for 16th February 2011 recorded that the negotiation of a compromise agreement for the mutual termination of employment of the States CEO had been delegated to the “Chair of the SEB” and the Chief Minister.  The “Chair of the SEB” is none other than Senator Le Sueur, the Chief Minister.  We must assume that a mutually agreeable sum was reached by the Chief Minister on his lonesome. Should this delegation have happened and did the other SEB members endorse the amount? Clearly there needs to be more information made available to States Members and the public about the “strictly confidential” decision.

Further perambulations – the Middle classes are hurting now

Continuing my perambulations around the “aul sod” (Irishism for the holy ground) of No.1 District led me to my own front door at Havre de Pas, where I happened to knock on the door of a former colleague in finance to solicit he and his wife’s vote. I was met with a sorry tale that this fellow Jerseyman and wife were both unemployed and the family facing severe financial hardship. There being no unemployment benefit and since social security benefits are not available to home owners, he was on the point of moving the family to France, whilst ringing friends in London to find a floor upon which to sleep pending the search for work.

“There are no jobs – no one would employ me even as a clerk – I am too experienced”. said my former colleague. As I turned to walk down the pathway he left me with his final thoughts “Jersey is finished” he said. Although he was bailing out, he respected my fight to retain a little dignity for the working people of the island.  

I repeat this sad tale, not to breach any confidences, rather to reveal that the true state of the economy is pretty dire and far from the one of improvement that government Ministers would have us believe.

I fully understand my former colleague’s decision to leave the island, however I am making a stand. There will be no retreat and no surrender. Now there's fighting talk!


  1. Only Jim and Sarah attended the most part of the Scrutiny meeting referred to but their discussions ranged over many other worrying issues too.
    Jim is certainly a troubled soul and very disenchanted with the government of his beloved isle. He seemed to think that the Cohen Island Plan would fail in the States - not least because of the inadequate housing section. As he said, it would not matter if it was delayed for another year in order to get it right and that a planning Minister should remain in post whilst it is implemented.

    Financial cuts and CSR was also seen as a half baked and ill-considered issue that warranted a fundamental "philosophical discussion" whether cuts were needed at all. They referred to Frank Walker's previous similar attempts that achieved at most £6 millions in savings and how Ozouf's £65 millions aspiration is simply unrealistic and not achievable. On the contrary, they agreed that spending was still increasing.

    They used less parliamentary language such as Ozouf being "like a monkey on a branch" and "how he just gets up your nose."

    The message still needs to be given to the general public they said and it was very plain that discontent - even with these two right-wingers - is very deep felt.

    So those who are standing to challenge at the October elections should not be misled into believeing that the "establishment" party is safe. There is great discontent at its heart and the battle for the CMs post, besides fundamental policy questions, will reveal all mannner of divisions soon.

    For true Jersey boys like Jim it must be very sad indeed but the 1960's warning about the mess of pottage cannot be ignored much longer.

    [PS why does this blog still indicate a video option at the top - it does not play?]

    Tom Gruchy says.

  2. "no retreat and no surrender" - been reading your old mate Stewie's blog? :)

  3. "There being no unemployment benefit and since social security benefits are not available to home owners"

    This is simply wrong. Income support is definitely available to homeowners - we received it. You have to prove what you're doing to find work by turning up every week at SS with documentary evidence though.

  4. That's not a very good video Nick!

  5. There is no video attached to this blog. I have had some comments from readers that they can see a video box, but it does not play. Perhaps some kind techie could explain this bizarre phenomenon.

    I hope to be doing some videos on various topics. The first will be on the extent of the unregistered i.e those who are not on the electoral role, albeit entitled to vote. There are hundreds and I would estimate it to be as much as 20% of the district. I have some good visuals to illustrate the phenomena. Its an issue the mainstream media would never touch or seek to explain. We know the Establishment slogan - the fewer who vote the better.

  6. The video issue is resolved. I was clicking the add video when posting a written blog. This has now been removed. Incidentally visibilty was dependant on the browser one was using. It could be seen with Internet Explorer but not FireFox. All's well that ends well.