Senior politician calls States members’ pay vote ‘shambles’

STATES members’ decision to ignore the recommendations of an independent pay review panel were labelled a shambles and a disgrace by both politicians and islanders.

Senior politician Deputy Charles Parkinson called the States vote on deputies' pay a shambles. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 25687813)
Senior politician Deputy Charles Parkinson called the States vote on deputies' pay a shambles. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 25687813)

The panel had recommended changing the pay bands to better reflect industry norms, but would allow for a link with median pay that would see either a freeze or an increase every four years.

An attempt to amend this to enable an annual rise through an amendment from Deputy Mark Dorey was defeated, but then members went on to reject the report itself.

Had it been approved, it would have set the P&R president’s pay at £71,248, presidents of the main committees at £54,744, presidents of other committees and P&R members at £46,599 and all other deputies at £40,521.

Under the existing rules, the presidents of the States’ Assembly and Constitution Committee and Development & Planning Authroity are paid the same as the president of the main committees and this situation will now remain.

One of the harshest critics of this move was Economic Development committee president Charles Parkinson, who took to Twitter after the debate to make his displeasure known: ‘Another shambles in the States today, as the Assembly rejects the Members Pay Panel recommendations,’ he wrote.

He followed up by wondering who could be persuaded to sit on any future panel, a comment that was picked up by panel member, Richard Digard: ‘My first thought on learning of the outcome,’ he said.

‘Disgraceful,’ said one contributor to the Guernsey Press website, while others asked if members had any shame and suggested that pay should equate to performance.

The proposals had the backing of the Policy & Resources Committee, and as debate came to a close president Gavin St Pier effectively dismissed any thought that the matter would be revisited in the lifetime of this Assembly.

He said that the present rules would roll forward and the subject could become an issue for the new Assembly after June’s election.

Deputy St Pier also responded to concerns expressed that members of the pay review panel, despite being diligent and honourable, were not representative of the community.

He suggested that a change in the composition of the panel would be sensible.

Nobody from the panel was available to comment.

Deputy John Gollop thought the whole approach was wrong in the first place. ‘We don’t need pay review panel,’ he tweeted.

He thought that the States deciding its own pay was a democratic solution. ‘Firstly as it is so linked to democracy States should structure own pay as well as public sector not delegate to officer in addition rather than a panel we could explore an Assembly commissioner, or Tynwald-style formula link to SEO civil service grades, and evaluate using UK CPA consultants the role.’

It was estimated that the decision to abide by the existing pay rules will see the payroll costing the taxpayer an additional £200,000.

How they voted on whether to accept the independent States members’ pay review panel recommendation of a pay freeze next term

For: Deputies Parkinson, Lester Queripel, Mooney, St Pier, Stephens, Inder, Lowe, Laurie Queripel, Graham, Le Tocq, Langlois, Soulsby, Prow, Oliver. Total: 14.

Against: Deputies Ferbrache, Kuttelwascher, Tindall, Brehaut, Gollop, Le Clerc, Leadbeater, Merrett, Meerveld, Fallaize, Hansmann Rouxel, Green, Paint, Dorey, De Lisle, de Sausmarez, Roffey and Alderney representative Roberts. Total: 18.

Abstained: Deputies Le Pelley and Brouard, and Alderney representative Snowdon. Total: 3

Absent: Tooley, Trott, Smithies, Dudley-Owen and McSwiggan (formerly Yerby). Total: 5

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