Today I, and presumably those of you who sent on the previous template email, received a response from the Electoral Commission rejecting our reasonable request to find out exactly how much work each category of States Member does.
I am fairly disappointed, though not surprised, with the argument that has been put forward to us.
Essentially the commission have tried to side-line us, and have done a very poor job of it.
Here is the response we received -
12th June 2012
Dear Mr. Mezec,
Thank you for your email asking that the Electoral Commission carry out research so as to establish the work actually done by different classes of States member. The Commission considered this request at its meeting yesterday.
As you may know the Commission is working to a very tight time-scale because the States have directed the Commission to present its report before the end of the year. If the Commission was to carry out research for one individual, it would obviously have to agree to do the same for any other individual making such a request. The Commission is unwilling to enter into a commitment of that kind.
All the information which you have requested is publicly available on the States Assembly website (www.statesassembly.gov.je) and the Commission would encourage you to use that information to support any submission that you would like to make.
Mrs. A. Goodyear
Executive Officer to the Electoral Commission
And here is the reply that I sent on, which you might like to copy and paste, edit as you see fit, and send on to show your dismay at the response we received. If you want to write your own response from scratch, please do, it's important that we get our message across -
Dear Anna and members of the Electoral Commission,
Thanks for your response and for the commission taking it's time to consider my request.
Obviously I am disappointed with the response and would be grateful if you could forward my concerns to the commission members.
The commission is not at all being asked to carry out research for one individual. As is clear on the Electoral Commission website, at least 13 "individuals" have contacted the commission asking them to carry out this very specific piece of work. Also, I have read all of the submissions that have so far been been published, and not a single other individual has asked the commission to carry out any other tasks on their behalf. Contrary to the commissions assertions, this is not an individual request. It is a request from a substantial group of people.
The commission has said from the start that it intends to be a "peoples commission" and take the views from the public and so it really seems hypocritical to then deny a sensible and reasonable request by a substantial number of people. I would agree with the commission that they can't carry out every individual request if they received many, but they have only received one request, and they have received it many times.
But I also take issue with the suggestion that such a piece of research would in anyway detract from the work the commission is currently doing. The task of compiling how much work each category of states member does is relatively simple and could be done in an afternoon and, most importantly, would not need to be done by the commission members themselves, for they could easily delegate it to another states body, such as the Greffe.
The information we requested is either not on the States Assembly website, or if it is it is hidden somewhere not obvious or is undecipherable. The whole point in us asking for the information, was not necessarily for us as individuals to use it, but so the public at large had easy access to a clear and coherent document outlining the facts and statistics. It is important that the public has this, and it currently does not, which has no doubt led to some of the uninformed and incorrect observations I have read in some of the current submissions.
Therefore, I am very dissatisfied with the reasoning behind the rejection of my proposition and would like it to be reconsidered or a better explanation provided.
As I hope I have adumbrated clearly in my response, the reasoning that the commission has given us was totally inadequate. The commission has received no "requests" from "individuals" they have only received one request from several people. The work would be undertaken by another body, not the commission itself. And the information is not currently available to the public. The commission is wrong on all three counts.
Make no mistake, we were rejected because they knew the evidence they would find would destroy any possible case for the Constables to remain as ex-officio States Members.
In the next few days some of us are holding a meeting to discuss what the way forward from here is and, as always, I will keep you up to date.