UWV chief to be replaced over budgeting scandal
12 March 2004
AMSTERDAM — Signalling an end to a stand-off between Social Affairs Minister Aart Jan de Geus, the chief of Dutch social security institute UWV, Tjibbe Joustra, has reportedly agreed to resign due to criticism over costly main office renovations.
As compensation, Joustra will be given an “appropriate” job by the government within 12 months and will remain until then as an “advisor of the public debate”, public news service NOS reported on Thursday.
The departure of Joustra means that Minister De Geus will not have to take legal action to remove him as the UWV chief.
MPs demanded last month that De Geus sack Joustra after it was revealed that renovations to the UWV’s Amsterdam office far exceeded budget estimates. A subsequent investigation indicated Joustra gave the Cabinet “incorrect and incomplete” information.
De Geus requested about four weeks ago that Joustra and deputy UWV chairman Pieter Cloo resign. The Minister appointed a top Defence Ministry official as a temporary replacement of Joustra until a permanent replacement could be found.
But the UWV dismissed the criticism and both Joustra and Cloo refused to resign. The UWV said it had adequately informed the minister about the cost of the renovations and that the work was needed to create a new main office that was sufficiently impressive.
De Geus was later forced to admit to Parliament that he also gave incorrect information to MPs and blamed it on the UWV. Outraged MPs gave De Geus one last chance and demanded that he remove Joustra without paying a large settlement.
Meanwhile, sources have informed news agency ANP that Cloo will be allowed to remain on as a member of the UWV board of management.
The Social Affairs Ministry is expected to issue an official statement about the departure of Joustra later on Friday, but it is not yet certain who will replace him.
The UWV is responsible for WW unemployment payments and WAO disability pensions. It was formed at the start of 2002 by a merger of the nation’s five social security organisations.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news