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!