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Update expected on HMC sexual harassment probe today

Published:Tuesday | November 5, 2019 | 12:05 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

Today could be an important day in a sexual harassment scandal dogging the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC), as a number of staff members call for action against a senior officer, who has been accused of inappropriate behaviour.

The matter, which has attracted significant public interest but has not been officially reported to the police, is expected to be addressed at today’s planning and infrastructure meeting as department heads report on matters under their portfolios.

In a recent interview with The Gleaner, David Gardner, the CEO of the HMC, said the corporation was in possession of written statements from the complainants, who claimed that they were being pressured for sexual favours by a senior employee.

“We are at a substantial state in our investigations,” Gardner told The Gleaner at the time.

The issue, which has given the HMC a black eye, came to the fore in mid-August when a well-place source informed The Gleaner that four female employees had accused the supervisor of unwelcome sexual advances and had threatened to walk off the job if the matter was not properly addressed.

“The women have decided that they have had enough,” the source told The Gleaner. “They say they were no longer prepared to tolerate the behaviour, which they found quite disgusting.”

When the allegations became public, the leadership of the HMC had an emergency meeting, where the matter was discussed, and a decision taken to launch a thorough probe. The affected women were asked to provide written statements.

While the matter was not officially reported to the police, Superintendent Sharon Beeput, who heads the Hanover Police Division, said she was apprised of the situation by way of a document she received from the HMC. She said no formal complaints were made by the women in question.

At today’s planning and infrastructure meeting, the CEO is expected to provide a status report on the ongoing investigations.