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Director of Civil Aviation to be removed from office

Director of Civil Aviation to be removed from office

Thursday 26 November 2020

Director of Civil Aviation to be removed from office


The Director of Civil Aviation for the Channel Islands is to be sacked following allegations of gross incompetence.

Dominic Lazarus has been suspended since August while complaints about his conduct and competence have been investigated. Yesterday, politicians in Guernsey agreed to remove him by 27 votes to 1 with 9 abstentions - the politician voting against was former Economic Development President Charles Parkinson.

But they also voted against having a full debate on the "extraordinary" proposition, which required Economic Development to seek Deputies' approval before the States of Guernsey could remove the Director of Civil Aviation from his post.

Following a damning review, a redacted version of which was published in a policy letter this week, Economic Development President Neil Inder said his committee had little choice but to recommend his removal from the position, which gave Mr Lazarus primary responsibility to ensure the safety of Channel Island aircraft and investigate aviation incidents.

"The committee is not making this recommendation lightly," said Deputy Inder. "It has become evident that there is just no alternative."

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Pictured: The DCA is the regulator for civil aviation in Jersey and Guernsey.

He said Mr Lazarus had been given full access to the unredacted report detailing the findings of the investigation. Deputy Inder also confirmed that Mr Lazarus had written to the committee in response to the report.

"The committee has considered that response, but considered the findings of the report are well-established," Deputy Inder said. 

The Economic Development President made it clear that he did not wish to discuss the employment matter and that his committee was simply required to bring it to the Assembly under States laws. 

"You are not being asked to remove Mr Lazarus from the employment of the States," he reminded States members before debate.

"The employment contract is an entirely separate matter that will be considered by the States of Guernsey in due course."

Deputy Lester Queripel quickly rose to propose a guillotine that would cut short any debate on the matter. 

That went to a recorded vote, with 28 voting in favour, 9 against, 1 abstention and 2 absentees.

The overall proposition - to agree that the Director of Civil Aviation should be removed from office - was agreed by the States. 

The vote on the proposition itself was backed by 27 votes to 1 with 9 abstentions.

On the balance of probability, the investigation concluded that Mr Lazarus:

  • failed to demonstrate his ability to work as a regulator and apply the law in a fair and evidence-based manner, and to seek or follow advice about technical or legal aspects of his role;

  • failed to demonstrate he meets the skills and competencies required for some aspects of his role, in particular airworthiness and aviation security;

  • failed to lead and manage the Office of the DCA to meet the required levels of service and customers’ expectations;

  • and undermined the standing of the Office of the DCA and exposed the States of Guernsey of increased risks of litigation and damage to its reputation through his actions.

The report in Mr Lazarus's conduct.concluded by saying: "The investigating officer has identified evidence, which shows, on the balance of probabilities, that there is a combination of repeated poor performance, failure to learn from previous mistakes and lack of competence as a regulator on the DCA’s part."

According to the report, Mr Lazarus responded by saying that his service was under-resourced and that the Committee for Economic Development had not provided funding to operate this regulatory function to a good standard.

He said he always provided requested documentation to the correct standard for assessment and contested that he was regularly blamed him for delays when paperwork had not actually reached him.

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Pictured: Jersey's former Airport Director was appointed as Deputy Director of Civil Aviation around the time Mr Lazarus was suspended.

t follows news in June that Jersey's Airport Director Inez Bartolo had become a ‘Regulatory Adviser’ for Ports of Jersey.

Her LinkedIn now lists her as holding the role of Deputy Director of Civil Aviation since August 2020.


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