Adding to what has become a litany of events contributing to an upheaval at Mount Pearl City Hall, Mayor Dave Aker has announced he is temporarily stepping down during an investigation into allegations made against him under the city’s Respectful Workplace Policy,
“My intention is to co-operate fully as I respect our standards of conduct. I believe in the processes outlined in our policies and you can expect my full participation and respect for the confidentiality of that process,” said in a statement Monday.
In a separate statement, the City said an external investigator has been hired to look into the harassment allegations made by Andrea Power.
Aker’s decision comes less than two weeks after statements by Power, one of two councillors removed (Andrew Ledwell was the other) for failure to disclose conflict of interest in a separate harassment investigation into former city manager Steve Kent.
On June 30, shortly before her removal from council, Power said she had “decided to file a complaint with the Acting Chief Administrative Officer of the City of Mount Pearl in relation to the Mayor’s behaviour,” adding the complaint related to alleged comments by Aker into the “physical appearance and/or weight of females.”
In the city’s statement Monday, deputy mayor Jim Locke ensured “a fair and objective process” in the latest investigation.
Aker described the past few months as being “very challenging for our city, its staff and our Council, and I believe that we can all learn from this experience; in every investigation there is new learning for everyone.”
Last month, the city announced Kent had resigned as Mount Pearl’s chief administrative officer, but Kent is suing the city for wrongful dismissal.