Assistant minister found to have breached States code of conduct
AN assistant minister who canvassed political support for the sacking of a civil servant in an email chain has been found in breach of the States Members code of conduct.
Deputy Montfort Tadier was suspended as an Assistant Economic Development Minister earlier this year after urging some Members in an email to back a potential proposition to sack a States employee. The member of staff was named in the correspondence and copied into the email.
He referred himself to commissioner for standards Paul Kernaghan, who ruled that the politician had breached the code of conduct. The commissioner said the Deputy’s actions could be seen as ‘promoting a conspiracy’ to have the employee sacked. However, given the already served suspension, no further sanctions have been suggested.
Deputy Tadier had called for a hospital consultant to be sacked for not prescribing medicinal cannabis despite a States decision legalising its use.
Deputy Tadier, who successfully brought a proposition for medicinal cannabis to be prescribed, has regularly criticised the lack of progress in the drug becoming more readily available and has bemoaned the lack of consultants willing to prescribe it despite the overwhelming support for his proposals.
In an email to Deputy Carolyn Labey and copied to several other Members, Deputy Tadier said: ‘I think the way forward is to have [the Employee] removed from States employment – perhaps you and [Deputy] Rowland [Huelin] would back a proposition to this effect, and have him replaced with someone who understands the science of medicinal cannabis.’
Both Chief Minister John Le Fondré and Health Minister Richard Renouf suggested Deputy Tadier retract his previous comments in a follow-up email.
In a report outlining the complaint, Mr Kernaghan said that the facts of the case were not in dispute and that Deputy Tadier admitted sending the email.
Mr Kernaghan said: ‘Deputy Tadier was very clear in his response dated 25 April 2019 that he does not believe his actions breached the Code of Conduct. He argued that his only error was in copying his e-mail to [the Employee].’
States Members who have a complaint about a States employee should – according to the Code of Conduct – raise the matter with the employee’s line manager. Mr Kernaghan said Deputy Tadier ‘clearly breached’ the code by failing to do that.
The report continued: ‘It appears from his response that Deputy Tadier feels his mistake was in copying in [the Employee] to the email in which he sought support for his dismissal. If he hadn’t copied in [the Employee], but the same email had subsequently come to light, it would not have been inaccurate to describe Deputy Tadier’s actions as promoting a conspiracy to lose [the Employee] his employment.’
It added: ‘In mitigation, I recognise that he feels very strongly about the prescribing of medicinal cannabis. However, I believe it would be inappropriate to overlook the actual words used by Deputy Tadier in his email. He explicitly questioned [the Employee’s] professional competence when recommending that he be “replaced with someone who understands the science of medicinal cannabis …”.’
Deputy Tadier’s suspension as an assistant minister was lifted at the end of the States sitting beginning on Tuesday 21 May.