King's Commissioner in Gelderland steps down over accusations of bullying employees
John Berends has temporarily resigned as the King’s Commissioner in Gelderland following accusations of inappropriate behavior in the workplace. Berends is stepping down pending the outcome of an investigation into the allegations, he said in a press statement.
Last week, anonymous officials working for the province of Gelderland told De Gelderlander that Berends had outbursts of anger, swore at them, slammed doors, and bullied them. He also sometimes crossed physical boundaries, they said.
In the press statement on Thursday, Berends said that he would step down to “provide every space for a thorough and independent investigation into the facts.” Berends hopes the investigation will “discover the deeper background of the allegations.”
Berends said he discussed his temporary resignation with outgoing Minister Hugo de Jonge of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations, and De Jonge will announce his temporary replacement soon.
In a council meeting on Monday, Berends admitted that he holds his civil servants “firmly accountable for the quality offered” but said he did not recognize himself in the accusations, according to NOS.
According to the broadcaster, it is not yet clear whether there will be an independent investigation into the accusations against Berends. In an emergency meeting on Wednesday night, the faction leaders in Gelderland said they first wanted to have all the information before they asked for an investigation.