A Risky Executive Appointment - by Karen Davis

Last week, Peter Chandler was promoted from Chief Operating Officer of the Bay of Plenty District Health Board to Chief Executive.

There are currently two cases in the Employment Court he features in. One is the hearing of a personal grievance by Ana Shaw for unjustified dismissal and disadvantage. Peter Chandler was part of a team of executives who fired Ana Shaw after she reported apparently fraudulent dealings in the DHB. The other is a claim for Ana Shaw and her advocate to be fined or imprisoned for “contempt” of alleged directions of the Employment Relations Authority not to contact or comment on the DHB. Ana Shaw had previously posted photographs on her Facebook which she claims are of Mr Chandler stalking her at the retail store where she was working at the time, and she had taken part in an RNZ programme about bullying in the DHB.

There have been two decisions about the dispute between Ana Shaw and the BOP DHB. The personal grievance case has had an extension of time for filing in the Court, and the “contempt” proceedings have had an extension of time for filing a defence. The “contempt” proceedings have also had a recent hearing addressing jurisdictional issues.

We have previously reported on this matter. At first glance there is nothing that links the three separate reports that span a five month period, but this report links them all together.

I’m Sorry Boss, but a Stalker is a Stalker – 13 Dec 2019

The Fox in Charge of the Henhouse – 1 Feb 2020

“Contempt of Authority”? Really? - 13 May 2020 (each about 3 minutes to read)

Many people particularly current and former employees of the DHB are surprised the powers that be thought it was a good idea to promote a manager with allegations of serious misconduct swirling around him. The only possible explanation we have is that the Chairperson of the Board was new, the promoted manager had already acted in that role for a few months, and possibly nobody had considered the Martin Matthews saga; Joanne Harrison’s fraud on the Ministry of Transport and the exiting of whistleblowers that happened on his watch, his implied incompetence (at best) that followed him to his new position as Auditor General, and his forced resignation a few months later.

We’ll be watching the Shaw matter with even greater interest given this new appointment.

Footnote: The stalking case is a result of controversial ERA Member Anna Fitzgibbon being more focused on obedience to her directions than the alleged stalking. Ms Fitzgibbon directed the DHB to have Ms Shaw and Mr Halse punished for that “disobedience” by publishing photographs of Mr Chandler on their Facebook pages. This recent article includes further examples of Ms Fitzgibbon’s work:

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