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ESC president is cautioned over appointment email

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THE president of Education has accepted that an email he sent to a civil servant over a controversial appointment was ‘intemperate’, after an independent panel found that he had breached the States members code of conduct in two places.

Deputy Matt Fallaize, left, and Deputy Carl Meerveld. (27267181)

Both breaches were judged to be minor and cautions were issued, which have been accepted by Matt Fallaize.

The panel ruled that the email Deputy Fallaize sent his then chief secretary was ‘ill-judged’ and contravened section 9 of the code which dictates that States members must at all times treat civil servants with ‘respect and courtesy’.

Deputy Fallaize sent the email after an appointment panel did not give the job of head of curriculum and standards to his preferred candidate.

In the email he accused the civil servant of a ‘deliberately obstructive act’ and he threatened an expression of no confidence in her.

The second breach was in regard to section 10, which states that politicians must uphold the impartiality of the civil service and not ask civil servants to act in a manner which would conflict with the civil service code.

The panel found that Deputy Fallaize was not sufficiently familiar with the civil service code, but it also noted that he had not attempted to force a course of action.

‘In believing that matters could be arranged to ensure that a particular person could be appointed, Deputy Fallaize appeared not to be fully aware of the implications of the civil service code nor of the constraints under which deputies and civil servants operate which was a breach of the code.

‘However, although he was unhappy with the outcome of the interview process for the position of head of curriculum and standards (which led to the aforementioned email being sent) because he had expected and assumed that a particular person would be appointed to the position, he had not required that to happen.’

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The complaint was lodged to the by Carl Meerveld last year, and it concerned the actions of all members of Education, Sport & Culture with regard to four sections of the code of conduct.

Deputy Meerveld had alleged had the whole committee had acted improperly and pressured civil servants and turned the appointments process into a sham.

However the panel ruled that Deputies Richard Graham, Rhian Tooley, Mark Dorey and Peter Roffey had not transgressed the rules and complaints against them were dismissed.

In response to the panel’s findings Deputy Fallaize said he accepted the two cautions.

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‘I sent an email to an official which I accept was intemperate and the panel found that I was not sufficiently familiar with the civil service code of conduct.’

He also criticised Deputy Meerveld, and accused him of using the code of conduct panel as a political weapon.

‘Political disagreements are healthy, but they need to be left at the door of the States’ chamber.

‘Deputies and former deputies and those who would like to be deputies might like to reflect on the wisdom of using the code to pursue their political disagreements and personal rivalries.

‘Doing so undermines the code and puts the panel in an extremely difficult position.’

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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