Sacc President Carl Meerveld has courted controversy in the States’ Chamber, with other deputies arguing that he overstepped his bounds by reporting a member of Education, Sport & Culture for sharing committee documents with selected States members.
Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller raised an urgent question during yesterday’s States’ debate, to ascertain which part of the States’ Assembly and Constitution Committee mandate allows for investigations into other States’ members.
It follows concerns that Deputy Andy Cameron, by leaking engagement notes between ESC and Grammar School staff to 14 other Deputies, could have broken States' confidentiality rules.
Deputy Meerveld refuted the idea that his committee had instigated an investigation and had instead taken the “moral high ground.”
“The Sacc Committee has not initiated an investigation,” he said. “An issue was raised with Sacc by a member of Sacc and by other Deputies that there was a potential issue. Sacc decided as a majority to find out from ESC if the facts were accurate and to then forward it on to the Code of Conduct panel.
“To not do so would be to undermine the rules themselves.”
Pictured: “The committee is responsible for advising the States and to develop and implement policies in relation to matters concerning the propriety and conduct of State’s members,” said Deputy Meerveld.
Sacc has made it clear in the past that it should not comment on alleged misconduct, with Deputy Kazansteva-Miller referring to Sacc’s stance on the ongoing Deputy Chris Le Tissier investigation.
“What has changed between now and then?” asked Deputy Kazansteva-Miller.
The question raised concerns among other States Deputies, triggering a raft of questions from other members of the assembly.
“Does the President agree that it was probably an inappropriate stance to take, that it should be for agreed parties to go to the Code of Conduct panel and not Sacc, otherwise you’ll be a magnet for all sorts of discontent?” asked Deputy Roffey.
Pictured: Deputy Kazanteseva-Miller suggested that by “initiating an investigation” Deputy Meerveld was acting outside of his remit.
Deputy Meerveld conceded that this could be the case and said it’ll be put on the agenda for Sacc’s next meeting. He continued to argue that his committee had not spawned an investigation, something many in the Assembly were unconvinced by.
“What was the intention of forwarding that information [to ESC] when the panel needs a complaint to investigate?” quizzed Deputy Tina Bury.
“What powers do you have to exercise if you haven’t received a complaint?” followed Deputy Roffey, with his second supplementary question.
“On reflection, would the correct course of action be to have simply advised those who contacted his committee to contact the Code of Conduct panel directly?” asked Deputy Yvonne Burford.
Deputy Lyndon Trott then quipped: “Would Deputy Meerveld welcome a Code of Conduct complaint in order to allow an independent assessment of his actions and behaviours?”
Pictured: Deputy Cameron sent the ESC documents to 14 other Deputies.
Deputy Meerveld maintained that his committee was simply removing a “moral hazard” by clarifying concerns raised to them by other States' members.
“At the end of the day, should members or committee members stay silent when they are aware of a breach of the rules?”
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