Monday, 7 December 2015

Christmas Fudge

Deputy Mike Higgins asked Senator Ian Gorst regarding payments made to the acting police chief, David Warcup who resigned in 2010:

Question: Will the Chief Minister advise members whether the Acting Police Chief who resigned during 2010 was paid any money other than the salary owed when he left his employment and, if so, will he detail the amounts and the reasons for the payments?

Answer: The employment of the Deputy Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police terminated on 31st December 2010 by mutual agreement. He was paid the appropriate contractual sums due under his contract.

So if the contract had any “golden handshake” element, he would have been paid that – i.e., something over and above the salary owed. It would have been an appropriate contractual sum. After all, as Wikipedia notes:

"A golden handshake is a clause in an executive employment contract that provides the executive with a significant severance package in the case that the executive loses his or her job through firing, restructuring, or even scheduled retirement."

And as we know, Jersey contracts such as that of Bill Ogley also allow a significant contractual sum to be paid on a resignation by the Chief Officer concerned.

So what are we to make of this answer, which actually gives no direct response to the question? It is evasive. It does not even have a pretense of being transparent and open.

It is clear that Senator Ian Gorst has obviously succumbed to a bad case of the Hackers, an illness named after Jim Hacker, the politician in the “Yes Minister” TV show. He simply has not answered the question at all, but provided a fudge which tells us nothing.

I wonder just why Ministers come out with such obvious obscufaction as this. Don’t they realise it makes them look just as evasive as Michael Howard when he refused to answer Jeremy Paxman’s question?

A little bit of straightforward honesty would be much appreciated. I think we deserve better than replies which just waste question time by fobbing off the person asking the question. We deserve more from our politicians that this kind of evasion.

Contrast the reply with this question and answer:

Question: Will the Minister advise members whether the Detective Superintendent from Lancashire Police who was seconded as the Senior Investigating Officer for Operation Rectangle during 2008 and 2009 was (a) paid any money from the States of Jersey when he left the Island after his secondment and for what purpose and (b) state how much and for what reasons he was paid after he left the Island?

Answer: No payment has been made to the former Detective Superintendent from Lancashire Police following his secondment to the States of Jersey Police. His salary was paid directly by the Lancashire Constabulary which was reimbursed directly to the Force from Jersey.

Given the ability of the Chief Minister to avoid answering the first question, but provide a clear answer to the second, the cynics among us can only assume that there was quite a generous severance package as part of the contractual arrangements made with Active Chief, David Warcup, when he tendered his resignation.

Moreoever, we can also infer that the Council of Ministers does not want this made public. If the Chief Minister does not want us to believe this, he has only to release the details of Mr Warcup's contract, including any contractual severance terms upon resignation.

Isn't it about time we had straight answers from Ministers?

1 comment:

James said...

Isn't it about time we had straight answers from Ministers?

Be careful what you wish for. There are States members who are quite happy to answer directly - while lying through their teeth.