Assembly votes to sack director of civil aviation

THE DIRECTOR of Civil Aviation has been sacked from his post because of gross incompetence, but he remains an employee of the States.

Deputies approved the proposal to remove Dominic Lazarus from his position following an investigation into his conduct, which highlighted a number of failings.

Deputy Neil Inder, the president of Economic Development, said it was a matter of ‘great regret’, but they were left with no other choice.

‘It has become evident that there is simply no alternative and as a result the committee would not be appropriately fulfilling its mandate if it did not make this recommendation to the States. You will see that the findings set out in the investigation report exhibited to the letter are unequivocal. The director of civil aviation has been given full access to the un-redacted version of this report and has responded to it to the committee.

‘The committee has considered that response carefully, but considers that the findings of the report are well established.’

The investigation report which went before deputies had a number of redacted parts.

However, it did outline eight key allegations, including that Mr Lazarus failed to regulate in accordance with the regulators’ code, he failed to seek technical or legal advice before making regulatory decisions, and he failed to demonstrate a commercial mindset with customers.

In Mr Lazarus’ defence the report stated that he believed that he had provided an appropriate level of service, and the main purpose of his office was to ensure aviation safety.

Mr Lazarus was not allowed to make an in-person representation to the States Assembly yesterday.

Deputy Inder explained that the matter had to be considered by the entire States because it was a statutory post that was considered so important to the Bailiwick that it had to be separated from the potential vagaries of committees.

Economic Development president Deputy Neil Inder. (28953164)

Deputy Inder also clarified that Mr Lazarus remained an employee of the States.

‘You will have received overnight correspondence from the DCA’s representatives.

‘This correspondence is misdirected as it raises concerns that ought properly to be dealt with by the States of Guernsey as employer, not the Assembly.

‘These concerns are not a matter for the States of Deliberation, which only needs to consider the statutory post, that’s all we are here to consider today.

‘To be very clear, you members are not being asked to remove the Director of Civil Aviation from the employment of the States, that is not what you are being asked to do today.

‘The employment contract is an entirely separate matter, that will be considered in due course.’

After Deputy Inder set out his committee’s position, Deputy Lester Queripel brought the debate to a swift conclusion, by proposing a successful guillotine motion on further discussion, although some States members indicated that they wanted to speak about it.

In the vote only Deputy Charles Parkinson, the former president of Economic Development, was against the sacking.

There were 27 in favour, 1 against, and 9 abstentions.

A new director of civil aviation will be appointed ‘in due course’.

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