Sark Chief Pleas rejects civil servant post

A move to appoint a full-time civil servant in Sark has been lost by a 13-14 vote in Chief Pleas.

The General Purposes and Advisory Committee called for the post to reduce the workload of politicians.

The move was also suggested by Colin Kniveton, who was hired for four months to refine the recommendations made in an independent review of government.

The opposition from conseillers included suggestions the work could be done by part-time staff.

Some also said the cost, with a salary of £35,000 to £45,000 plus expenses, was too high.

The move to create a small civil service was first recommended in the independent review of Sark's government carried out by Belinda Crowe, a former UK senior civil servant.

Conseiller Charles Maitland, the chairman of the committee, said: "Despite that we usually run at quite a considerable surplus in Sark you only have to mention spending money and everyone gets really alarmed.

"Somebody who knew what they were doing coming in to help us run Sark would actually pay for themselves quickly."

He said: "I think the island desperately needs to begin the process of reform.

"I can't see Sark really getting to grips with its problems without having some help, but islanders feel very insecure with change."

Mr Maitland, who retired at the end of the meeting having previously announced his plan citing personal circumstances and the heavy workload, said if he had not already decided to resign he would have stood down following this vote.

"It took 10 years for democracy to arrive in Sark so I expect this is a story that'll run for a bit," he added.

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