15 May 2020
Following an investigation by the Office of the Public Service Commissioner into the termination of employment of four employees of the Pukapuka and Nassau Island Government (“Island Government”) as well as the suspension of two employees of the Island Government, Russell Thomas, the Public Service Commissioner has concluded that the EO failed to comply with the Public Service Act, Code of Conduct and Employment Dispute Policies in dealing with his employees. Therefore, the decision to terminate and suspend the complainants for misconduct or serious misconduct is not founded.
Thomas, has discussed the outcomes of the investigation with all the concerned parties - both the Executive Officer Pio Ravarua and the Mayor Levi Walewaoa as well as the six complainants and has advised them, that all persons must be reinstated immediately and back paid accordingly.
Noting the close-knit nature of the community, Thomas acknowledges that this matter may have caused much distress and anxiety for all the Parties concerned including some members of the community. It is important that the re-integration of these employees back into the Island Government be handled with sensitivity, so that all who are concerned are treated with some dignity. Thomas further advised that any performance matters must be managed through clear performance measures and indicators.