With the spotlight falling increasingly on appointments in the public sector the story of Paul Priestly lives on.
Following the confirmation that former Permanent Secretary Priestly has been reinstated in the Civil Service at a grade lower, the Head of the Civil Service, Bruce Robinson has issued a statement.
He sketches out the background to his ultimate decision to keep Mr Priestly inside the tent.
Priestly was accused of acting ‘ultra vires’ with the interests of the Public Accounts’ Committee in a dispute with Northern Ireland Water.
In the wake of Priestly’s suspension by his minister Conor Murphy, Welshman Jon Shortridge investigated the facts of the case. Civil Service Head Bruce Robinson ‘decided to intiate disciplinary action.’
He says an independent board of inquiry recommended that Paul Priestly should be downgraded. Priestly had right of appeal against the ruling. He availed of that option according to Bruce Robinson.
A single ‘independent’ person arbitrated and upheld the ‘downgrading ‘ we are told.
Only one very senior serving civil servant out of more than a dozen and a half civil servants with whom I have spoken agree with the outcome.
Among those are two former permanent secretaries and the rest are serving middle ranking civil servants who are clearly disgruntled.