Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Worker told to pay $5k after misusing preschool funds

A former preschool centre manager who used work funds for holiday spending, booze and cigarettes has been ordered to pay $5000 to her old bosses.

Stacey Larnach, who worked at Wickham Preschool in Tauranga, resigned from her job last June amidst claims she was being targeted by her boss for trivial matters. She was also concerned the matters would impact on her teacher's registration.

An investigation by the Employment Relations Authority confirmed she had used a work account meant to pay for children's food while on holiday in Fiji with her partner.

While away on the trip - which had been paid for by her employer as a reward for attending alcohol counselling - it was discovered Ms Larnach had continued to use the centre's Pak'n Save account to buy alcohol and cigarettes. She had already been told not to do this.

In a determination released earlier this year, the Authority dismissed Ms Larnach's claim of unjustified dismissal.

Authority member Eleanor Robinson also said her employers had found her responsible for accounting discrepancies totalling about $20,000 at the preschool.

A new costs determination has ordered Ms Larnach to pay $5000 to her former employer as a contribution towards costs for two days of the investigation meeting into her matter.

Ms Robinson noted Ms Larnach's "adverse financial situation'' made it inappropriate to impose hardship on her as the unsuccessful party in the costs determination.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf02 at 22 Dec 2014 04:16:06 Processing Time: 706ms