The Hawke's Bay District Health Board yesterday announced unwavering support for its publicly criticised chief executive, Dr Kevin Snee, after Fluoride Free Hastings called for his resignation, reparation and a public apology.
A legal letter addressed to the board sent by Fluoride Free Hastings asking for Dr Snee's resignation referred to "the act of wilful damage perpetrated by Dr Snee, at the Havelock North Community Centre, upon signs being the property of Fluoride Free Hastings".
Dr Snee was witnessed to be forcefully removing, stomping and attempting to break a number of Fluoride Free Hastings placards prior to a DHB organised public meeting on fluoridation in Havelock North last Thursday.
The letter stated, "Not only is the act tortious and criminal, it is a serious breach of the Public Service Code of Conduct" and "Fluoride Free Hastings requires immediate reparation for the signs so that they can be immediately replaced, given that they are part of the democratic electoral referendum process".
Hawke's Bay District Health Board deputy chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana said in a statement yesterday that Dr Snee continued to have unanimous support from the board.
He said Dr Snee is passionate, as a chief executive should be, about wanting to provide equitable health services for everyone in our community, and if water fluoridation is removed from the Hastings water supply greater inequity will follow.
"Community water fluoridation remains the single most cost-effective public health measure there is.
"Numerous studies have shown that if fluoridation is removed communities can only expect to see higher levels of tooth decay and individually we will face significantly higher costs as will the health system in treating that decay."
Mr Tomoana said it was fair and reasonable to expect signs from other organisations to be removed from district health board organised meetings when asked, and if that didn't happen there was justification for removing them.
The letter further read, "Dr Snee's action brings disrepute upon the board as a whole, and the public service in general. Dr Snee has not only shown no remorse, he has barefacedly assumed the 'moral high ground' for his inexcusable actions, repeatedly trying to lay the blame on Fluoride Free Hawke's Bay for his own actions."
Fluoride Free Hastings said they have spoken with police about Dr Snee's offending and also expect a formal public apology from the board and Dr Snee.
"As Dr Snee was on official duties at the time of this incident, you will be aware that the board is liable for the loss caused by its employee in the course of his duties," the letter said.