Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Salaries and Services

My letter to the JEP recently regarding the Hospital Manager:

The Chief Minister's recent statements concerning the Hospital Manager raise more questions than they purport to answer. While it is true that as a service contract, the appointment was not the responsibility of the Jersey Employment Board, it was nevertheless a decision by the Minister for Health, who should be held responsible. At the end of the day, the taxpayer is still funding the cost, even if it appears in a different column in expenditure. Is this simply a disingenuous way of keeping within the budget for pay by transferring costs elsewhere?

What is more, while an increased payment to the Manager would reflect the fact that he has no pension or sickness contribution in his salary, there are no figures to show what would be parity if he was an employee on, for example, a two year contract. In the private sector, employees who forgo contributions taken from wages to a pension scheme usually receive an increased salary, which is what the pension contribution would amount to if it were commutated to a cash value for the period in question. But there are no costings coming from the Chief Minister, only the blanket assurance that the equivalent salary for a short term contract would be less because of the pension contribution.  Moreover while the Hospital Manager can choose where to stay while in Jersey, that is his choice - he could quite as easily rent a small flat whose cost would surely be less than staying at a Hotel.

Also I hope that questions are raised about the tendering and advertising for this position. For a service contract, one would expect a tendering process which could surely have also allowed for local applicants. I hope that details of this will be forthcoming in the near future.

Lastly, may I say that I have no personal animosity towards the Hospital Manager whom I'm sure is a very capable man. It is the lack of transparency by the Council of Ministers and the reluctance to disclose any figures until pressed that is dismaying to  the average taxpayer, though perhaps not unsurprising given Ministerial government's "proven track record" in this regard.

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