Senate chairman under fire over alleged abusive behaviour

Jan Anthonie Bruijn being sworn in. Photo: Sem van de Wal ANP

Senate chairman Jan Anthonie Bruijn has been accused of abusive behaviour towards staff, including shouting and angry outbursts without any apparent cause.

Several reports of Bruijn’s authoritarian behaviour have been investigated and the upper house leader has been warned about his approach, the senate’s most senior official confirmed to broadcaster NOS.

Members of staff spoken who spoke to NOS anonymously said they would be “on tenterhooks” in case Bruijn would tell them off and that he was “two-faced” because his behaviour to MPs would be impeccable.

Bruijn, a senator on behalf of the VVD, has issued a statement in which he said ‘he is taking full responsibility’ but denies he is guilty of the angry outbursts he has been accused of.

Senators who were also approached by the broadcaster showed surprise at the criticism directed at Bruijn.

Bruijn admitted that he was too much given to “micro management”, berating staff about “the working conditions in the meeting room, the quality of the memos and adherence to working hours”, he said in the written statement.

“I have been spoken to about this, and rightly so, some time ago,” Bruijn, who is a candidate for re-election to the post later this month following the installation of the new senate, said.

Bruijn is the second prominent member of coalition party VVD who has come under fire over his behaviour. In April education minister Dennis Wiersma was criticised for his angry outbursts to staff.

Last year former parliamentary chairwoman Khadija Arib (PvdA) quit as MP following an investigation into allegations about her own management style.

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