Gary Burgess: Charlie Parker - the Donald Trump of Jersey

Give Charlie Parker his dues. I have never known a public servant become such a lightning rod for attention and opinion.

Stop 100 people in Guernsey and ask who the government Chief Executive is and, no offence to Paul Whitfield, but I suspect the majority wouldn’t know. Try the same in Jersey, and Charlie Parker’s name is front and centre.

But now he’s off.

After two weeks of growing tumult over his non-exec directorship of a UK property firm that he hadn’t sought proper permission to take on, and despite then announcing he’d be “sacrificing” the £50k that came with it to good causes, it’s game over.

It marks the end of three years of The Charlie Parker Show.

He came in with his “get on the modernisation train or get out of town mantra” and, effectively, from day one there were noses out of joint.

After years of cardigan comfiness with his predecessor, he was the civil servant equivalent of Donald Trump rocking up with a new way of working.

He arrived with a plan, with modernisation and transformation of the public sector in his sights, but perhaps he’ll reflect on whether he dived in feet first too quickly without getting to understand more about the way Jersey ticks.

Bringing in his Westminster friends, colleagues and acquaintances for top jobs or lucrative consultancies didn’t help. And then a growing sense of Alpha Male command and control management only set the seal on the persona that goes before him.

I genuinely don’t think Charlie Parker sees himself like that. But perhaps therein lies the problem.

A letter to the Chief Minister filled with self-pity a fortnight back when all anybody wanted was a clear apology for him not asking for the correct permission to take on an extra gig. And then yesterday’s resignation letter making it clear he was pushed where he still couldn’t resist describing the issue as “uncontroversial”.

Arrogant? Deluded? Misreading the room? You decide.

But the story isn’t over. How will he go? Jersey’s government has a decent track record of needing to cough up big for departing chief executives.

Sources tell me this one will be in the £625,000 ballpark, and then there’s the pension.

Not a bad day’s work… though like Donald Trump, you suspect he won’t go entirely quietly.

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