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What happens next for Stormont press secretary David Gordon?

David Gordon, executive press secretary and former Nolan Show editor 
Brendan Hughes

WHEN Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness announced the executive's first press secretary, they hailed the appointment as a sign of a positive new power-sharing government working together.

David Gordon's unadvertised appointment was met with controversy, but the first and deputy first ministers insisted the former Nolan Show editor would enable the executive to communicate its successes.

"We have a good story to tell of a united executive team making good on its promises to the electorate," they said in a joint statement back in September.

"Ministers are absolutely determined to work collectively to deliver government that makes a positive difference to people's lives.

"This is what a Fresh Start looks like."

But less than four months since the announcement, Mr Gordon's future is unclear as Stormont hurtles towards collapse.

As news of Mr McGuinness's resignation reverberated on Monday, the former BBC journalist took to Twitter.

"Seems like a good time for some Bob Dylan #newanthem," he wrote, posting a link to the track Everything is Broken.

Legislative changes made to enable Mr Gordon's appointment suggest that in normal circumstances he may have been able to remain in post until polling day.

The law says the appointment provides ministerial support "during a period terminating on or before the date of the poll for the election of the next assembly".

However, it is unclear how the first and deputy first ministers leaving their roles affects this.

The Executive Office did not respond to questions yesterday asking for details on how the crisis at Stormont affects his employment – and whether he is entitled to any severance package.

Officials were also unable to explain the impact on the ministers' numerous special advisers (Spads), some of whom receive wages of more than £90,000.

According to the special advisers' code, they are entitled to severance packages worth up to six months of their annual salaries.

The pay-outs are given if they lose their jobs when their respective ministers leave office, or in other instances such as leaving their posts to take part in an election as a candidate or party campaigner.

If the advisers are reappointed within the time the pay-out covers, they are only entitled to keep the amount covering the duration between the two periods of employment.

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