Chief Minister tried to ‘protect’ a colleague
THE Chief Minister was trying to be ‘tactful’ and ‘protect’ a colleague and a States employee when he appeared to try to prevent information contained in an email chain from being released through a freedom of information request.
In March, Deputy Montfort Tadier was suspended from his assistant ministerial position after urging States Members in an email to back a proposition to sack a States employee.
The Deputy has since apologised, and following an FOI request, a chain of emails reveals that Chief Minister John Le Fondré suggested the Deputy retract the comment in a new email chain to try to avoid the correspondence being covered by freedom of information legislation.
Deputy Kirsten Morel asked Senator John Le Fondré why he appeared to express concern that it could be ‘subject to an FOI request’.
The emails revealed that Senator Le Fondré had advised Deputy Tadier to write a new email but had also said ‘do not include this, or any other part of that chain, in this email’.
In the Assembly, Senator Le Fondré confirmed that he had suggested that a ‘fresh, clean’ apology email, which was not attached to any previous email, should be sent by Deputy Tadier to the employee.
He said that his intention was to ‘protect’ both Deputy Tadier and the States employee, by reminding Deputy Tadier that the email could be subject to an FOI.
He went on to say he considered the matter closed and looked forward to Deputy Tadier resuming his ministerial position.
When pressed further by Deputy Morel, who said his concern was about whether the Chief Minster had actively sought to avoid transparency, he responded by saying he had intended to be as ‘tactful’ as possible when reminding the Deputy to ‘think before pressing the send button’.