Law ensures dirty washing goes on display

THE Aviation (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2008, is unequivocal:

‘The States may remove any person from the office of Director of Civil Aviation on the grounds of permanent incapacity, misbehaviour or gross incompetence, in each case on the recommendation of the Department.’

Unequivocal, but also inflexible.

Interpreted strictly, the whole States Assembly appoints the DCA, so the whole Assembly must vote to get rid of him or her.

That gives the House a headache.

A committee of 40 is being asked to determine the fate of one single statutory appointment – in public. It is an HR nightmare.

The process is manifestly, and painfully, transparent. And for that the Committee of Economic Development is to be applauded.

It has even gone so far as to publish the investigation conducted into Dominic Lazarus’ tenure as DCA. Many names and details are redacted but enough is left to give the picture and one assumes deputies will have access to the full report on request.

The dirty washing is therefore on full display.

Given the dissatisfaction outlined in the report, Economic Development felt it had little alternative but to ask the States to terminate the contract.

As Mr Lazarus did not resign, the alternative would have been to keep him on until the end of his contract in 2023.

Rightly, Economic Development regrets the situation. Mr Lazarus will have no right to defend himself in the States. He contributed in part to the report but, if a deputy has a question, the DCA will not be able to answer it.

Not for the first time the States has got itself in a tangle over employment matters.

With hindsight, it would have been better if the law gave the committee itself the power to make both the appointment and, if needs be, the termination.

It might not accord with the consensus nature of our government but better that than this public evisceration of a man’s professional reputation.

A man who continues to work within the same industry – just a short hop of airspace away in Jersey.

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