Conventions for the Reappointment of Directors of Elections who performed creditably

There are two conventions that have been practiced since 1984 with respect to the reappointment of Directors of Elections and the advertisement of the post of Director of Elections.

The first convention is that where a Director of Elections had performed competently, impartially and with integrity, once he was willing to continue in the post, the Director was reappointed unanimously by acclaim. The second convention is that there is no advertisement for the post when Directors are reappointed. Theses conventions rested on four pillars namely: i) the Director had proven equal to the requirements of the post; ii) the ethical and moral obligation of the EAC/ECJ given its nature and mandate; iii) standard practice, consistently followed, in the public service where employees are only terminated for cause or the abolition of posts; and iv) the tenets of natural justice.

The record of adherence to these conventions is as follows: during the period of the EAC Mr. Noel Lee was reappointed for four-year terms in 1984, 1988 and 1992 and Mr. Danville Walker was reappointed for four-year terms in 2001 and 2005, all by acclaimed and no advertisement of the post of Director. Mr. Walker’s appointment for seven years in 2006, as the first Director of the ECJ, was treated as a reappointment. The post of Director was not advertised by the Commission.

Mr. Fisher was reappointed in November 2015 for one year and again for one year in November 2016 consistent with the pattern of these conventions. The duration of the reappointment was not material to adherence to the conventions.

Accordingly, the post of Director of Election was only advertised in 1979; 1980, 1994, 1997 and 2008, that is, the first appointments of the five Directors appointed since 1979. The post was first advertised by the ECJ in 2008 after Mr. Walker demitted office and Mr. Fisher was first appointed.

These conventions were abandoned in March 2018 when the Commission advertised the post of Director on Elections in the case of the reappointment of Mr. Fisher. While Mr. Fisher was not excluded from applying for the post, his reappointment would be treated in the same manner and an initial appointment whereby the Electoral Commission Interim Act of 2006 all eight Commissioners must vote in favour of the appointment of a Director.

These two conventions constitute a unique situation since they can be continued by amendments to the Electoral Commission Interim Act, by applying the requiring for the dismissal of a Director of Elections to the reappointment of a Director of Elections. A Director of Elections can be dismissed, on several grounds, provided that six of the eight Commissioner vote for dismissal including three Selected Members. Normally conventions cannot be redeemed by legislation.

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