U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill has said that the General Motors engineer who committed perjury “repeatedly under oath” should be fired, but the company’s CEO is waiting on the decision.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra admitted that engineer Ray DeGiorgio may have lied during a deposition about his involvement in a defective ignition switch recall. However, Barra gave congressional testimony that she is waiting for the results of an internal investigation before deciding DeGiorgio’s future.
The deposition was taken last year for a Georgia lawsuit filed by the family of Brooke Melton, a woman who suffered a fatal crash in her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. DeGiorgio was asked under oath if he had ever “signed a work order or a change authorization” to redesign the ignition switch.
According to transcripts, DeGiorgio said, “I don’t recall ever authorizing such a change, but it would definitely have been picked up in our engineering change systems of such a work order.” Documents later surfaced showing DeGiorgio’s signature on a redesign authorization form.
DeGiorgio also testified in that deposition that he was “not aware” that the ignition switch could fall into “accessory” position while the vehicle was in motion, involving lost power to the electrical systems and air bags that contributed to accidents. The Meltons’ case was settled by GM.
The ignition switch failure has been attributed to at least 31 crashes, 13 of which resulted in fatalities. GM has since recalled over 2 million of its 2003-2010 model vehicles that may include the faulty device, such as the Saturn Ion, Cobalt, and Chevrolet HHR.
The automaker’s actions after discovering the problem with the ignition switches have resulted in several lawsuits and a Justice Department investigation that could result in criminal charges.
Do you think GM’s engineer should be fired for his involvement in the ignition switch recall?