City council president deposed for ‘harassment’
The head of the municipal government in the watch-making city of La Chaux-de-Fonds in the canton of Neuchâtel was stripped of his responsibilities on Friday over allegations of harassing and “mobbing” employees, according to a media report.
His four colleagues on the municipal council took the unusual step of removing Jean-Charles Legrix as president of the council and as head of the city’s infrastructure and energy department, French-language broadcaster RTS Info reported on its website.
The decision came following an investigation into allegations that Legrix, a member of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, was harassing in the workplace employees of the department he was overseeing.
Several employees launched allegations earlier this year, prompting an investigation, which was launched in May.
Around 20 employees were interviewed with a focus largely centred on the public works department, which came under Legrix’s control, according to earlier media reports.
The results of the investigation were “very severe” and the accusations were sufficiently serious that the other members of the executive council decided to take the action to protect employees working in the areas in his departments, RTS reported.
The four members of the executive met with employees early Friday morning to inform them of the decision, the broadcaster said.
The announcement was met with a “burst of applause”, RTS said.
Legrix has also been stripped of his position as a city representative on various boards and committees.
He was named to a one-year term as president of the municipal council in May after being first elected to the council in 2010.
Legrix, for his part, is not planning to step down as a municipal councillor but it is not clear how long he can remain on the council without any responsibilities, RTS said.