Topic: Politics

Assistant sacked for supporting mayoral candidate

By Dean Nathan
  • Northland

Accusations of bullying have broken out in the lead-up to the local body elections in Whangarei, with the council's chief executive sacking his assistant for supporting one of the mayoral candidates.

Former Whangarei Mayor Stan Semenoff can't get over the sacking of Jan Walters, the assistant to the chief executive of the district council for supporting his nomination to stand again for mayor.

The council's chief executive Mark Simpson didn't return Te Kāea's calls today but it is public knowledge that he approved work completed by his executive assistant, Ford Watson, to assist in the campaign of councillor Warrick Syers for the said mayoralty.  Jan Walters' lawyer maintains she was not required to seek approval from her employee to support a candidate.

A bit of information that's not widely known is that is Stan Semenoff oversaw the appointment of Mark Simpson, Ford Watson and Jan Walters to their positions on council.  It is also not the first time Jan Walters has supported the candidate nomination of Stan Semenoff for the Whangarei mayoralty.  

The situation has created a diversion for voters with the issue of bullying in the council management becoming the prime topic of discussion at recent public meetings with the mayoral candidates.

A special committee appointed by council to review the situation is due to report back this week.