Gelderland province distances itself from accusations of aggressive working atmosphere
The province of Gelderland distances itself from the allegations of a socially unsafe working atmosphere in the provincial government building. The province said this in a statement on Saturday in response to an article that De Gelderlander published a day earlier.
According to the regional newspaper, the Gelderland King's Commissioner John Berends, and some of his closest associates are allegedly guilty of cross-border behavior in the workplace. This includes verbally inappropriate behavior in the form of shouting, gossiping, and intimidation. In addition, physical transgressive behavior as well as bullying were also involved.
Furthermore, some employees told the newspaper that Berends was generally difficult to work with. He listens poorly to the advice of his officers, barely reads his paperwork, and apparently pays no attention to his employees. For instance, it has often happened that employees had to introduce themselves to Berends over and over again, De Gelderlander reported.
The provincial government said it finds the article "shocking." "We've read about (former) colleagues who were upset and didn't feel heard by their supervisor. And we see now that sometimes people fall through the cracks. We deeply regret that," the provincial government said in its statement. "It is clear that there are things that should and could be better. But we distance ourselves from the image that De Gelderlander paints of the alleged organization-wide working atmosphere at the provincial government."
According to De Gelderlander, the image of a culture of fear in the provincial government building is confirmed by a recent employee survey conducted by the province of Gelderland. The newspaper claimed it had insight into the details of the report. According to the province, the employee survey conducted in May of this year actually "largely improved" compared to the previous survey conducted in November of last year.
Still, the provincial government acknowledges there are concerns. In response, the province of Gelderland has launched a broad follow-up survey on work pressure and social insecurity. The first results of that survey are expected in a month. "In the article, De Gelderlander makes some strong statements about the commissioner. We are shocked by what is stated in the article. Signs of uncertainty should always be taken seriously and investigated carefully. We are therefore waiting for the results of the investigation and in the meantime we are looking at what is needed in the organization," the provincial government said.
When asked about the allegations regarding his transgressive behavior, Berends replied "I am a director with vision and persuasiveness and I convey that. I am firmly focused on the content and expect quality and a certain way of working together. I do not recognize the picture you have painted. If it came across differently, that was never my intention, ” De Gelderlander wrote.
The Gelderland Provincial Executive Board will hold a special meeting on Monday evening to respond to the reports. According to the province, Berends himself will also attend this meeting.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times