WHEN the Guernsey Press sent out a group email to all 19 of the new deputies asking them how they were feeling three months into their new jobs, it was Steve Falla who was first out of the blocks with a response.
While many of the newcomers were a little coy about speaking to someone with a notepad, Deputy Falla had no fears about meeting for a quick coffee at the Cafe Rendezvous on the Bridge (the interview was done before the lockdown).
He turned up wearing a cycle helmet, a fully fluorescent yellow jacket, and waterproof trousers – and the first thing I learned about being a new deputy is that an electric bike is the best way to criss-cross the island and hear what people have to say.
My first question, though, was how was he finding the new job?
‘I’m really enjoying it, I think I had a pretty good idea of what it would be like and I was mostly right, and so far I’m finding it really fulfilling,’ he said.
‘What I mean by fulfilment is that I’ve found a new sense of purpose, since coming out of business I’ve done some bits and pieces, but I have found a great new sense of purpose in having this role.’
Deputy Falla serves on two committees, he is vice-president of Economic Development and a member of Employment & Social Security.
A former public relations man, he understands the power of communication, and stressed that listening was just as important as speaking.
As a member of the Guernsey Partnership of Independents he was keen to say something about how he saw the role of parties playing out.
‘Whilst we’re yet to see any votes on major issues, which will test this theory, I don’t see the parties being in opposition to one another, I don’t see them so far ganging up to get a certain point of view across, and speaking for myself I am still going to be a truly independent thinker in the Assembly, so nobody is going to tell me how to vote.
‘I’m very comfortable with the people from the Partnership of Independents who also got elected, but equally already I have many, many political friends from the independents and from the Guernsey Party, many of whom I work with on my committees.
‘So I actually don’t see it being nearly as such a big lever, in terms of the way the Assembly operates, as some people might imagine.’
On Economic Development one of his early initiatives is on States procurement, and making it easier for local businesses to pitch for the £200m. a year the States spends on products and services.
All the new deputies have been undergoing induction training, along with the regular committee and States meetings.
There are broad portfolios to get across, for example on Employment & Social Security there is the big question of what next for Les Genats estate.
Deputy Falla, who is a keen runner, explained that his feet had still not hit the ground.
‘We got the results at about 2.10am on 8 October and I was on BBC Guernsey at just after 7am, then I was in a meeting later that morning and I really haven’t stopped since then.’
Running has taken a back seat, although he tries occasionally to fit in a run in the dark in the morning, and stressed that the job was ‘a privilege, but it’s not for the faint-hearted’.