Northern Ireland news

Watchdogs 'seek clarification' on David Gordon appointment

David Gordon has become the Stormont executive's top media chief

TWO commissioners have written to the head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service to seek clarification about the appointment of Nolan Show editor David Gordon as the Executive Office's new chief spin doctor.

Mr Gordon (51), who previously worked for the Belfast Telegraph, will assume the newly-created role of executive press secretary early next month.

However concerns have been raised that there was no competition ahead of Mr Gordon's appointment to the £75,400 a year post.

The Executive Office has said Mr Gordon is not a civil servant and that while the post was not advertised, he was recruited in line with regulations governing public appointments.

Now the Civil Service Commissioners and the Commissioner for Public Appointments have written to the head of the Civil Service to seek clarification about the process used to appoint Mr Gordon.

In a letter to SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, chair of the Civil Service Commissioners, Brian Rowntree, said they had asked for more information.

"I and my fellow Commissioners were not informed of the appointment of the Executive Press Secretary or consulted on the appointment process used," he said.

"I have written to the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service seeking clarification as to the employment status of the appointee and of the relevant statutory instruments/provisions that were used to make the appointment.

"Commissioners will consider any further action that they may deem necessary on receipt of a response from the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service."

Commissioner for Public Appointments, Judena Leslie, said she had also sought "clarification of the process used to appoint Mr Gordon".

"Whether an appointment is made under the Code for Public Appointments or the Civil Service legislation it is in the public interest that the principles of openness and transparency are adhered to," she said.

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Northern Ireland news