A former Napier City Council animal control officer who resigned this month claims his former chief executive has the timing of his resignation wrong.
Late last month Wayne Butcher resigned alleging measures were taken to stop him participating in a Ministry for Primary Industries investigation of the Napier pound.
Mr Butcher's resignation, and other pound-related concerns were behind a protest at a council-organised "Bark Island" event on Sunday.
In response to protesters' claims, council chief executive Wayne Jack told Hawke's Bay Today it was "completely untrue" Mr Butcher received unfair treatment and said he chose to resign before a disciplinary investigation started.
This was incorrect, Mr Butcher said.
Napier City Council has referred all queries on Mr Butcher to its lawyer, Jol Bates.
In response, Mr Bates told Hawke's Bay Today Mr Jack intended to say that Mr Butcher resigned before the private investigation was completed, "as was entirely his choice, and before any conclusions were reached".
In a statement, Mr Butcher said after being suspended on October 28, he resigned three days later on October 31 "as his position had become untenable".
He was initially suspended after being informed the council was aware he had provided confidential information to a third party.
The day before this he had met the MPI investigator, spoke to him at length and provided him with information. The council has not confirmed to Hawke's Bay Today whether the third party was MPI.
Mr Butcher said: "The facts are I resigned on the 31st, not when he said I resigned, and it wasn't because of an investigation.
"That investigation thing was just to smear me and I think that has to be righted."
Through Mr Bates, council responded: "The NCC was not conducting a smear campaign. It was endeavouring to address an employment relationship problem in private, the details of which the NCC is precluded from speaking about or delving into.
"It is unfortunate that Mr Butcher appears intent on making comments on confidential matters."
Mr Butcher was also upset he could not speak out against the council, despite allegedly "having proof" of activity at the pound, and "dated emails from the CEO on file as chronological evidence" around his resignation.
"I've got the proof," he said. "It's just that [Mr Jack] suppresses everything with this confidentiality. It's just too easy for him to say 'that didn't happen' and he knows no one can do anything about it because he's hiding behind the confidentiality thing.
"I'm not afraid of it because I'll tell it how it is. One way or another I will tell it how it is."
The council responded that "there is no basis to suggest that any part of the investigation was 'suppressed' and in all cases the NCC follows the principles of natural justice and good faith".
"Any employment investigation is supposed to be confidential in light of the employee's interests. That does not amount to suppression."
Since Mr Butcher resigned, he has received an outpouring of support on social media, some from people whose pets he looked after.
His wife Julie said: "It's been overwhelming, we've just been crying with the stories and the support."
The support was humbling, Mr Butcher said.
"I don't know 99.9 per cent of those people...but I look at their dogs and [think] 'oh yea, I remember them now'."
Mr Butcher said he could not remember specific people, and their pets, as he was just doing his job.
"I wasn't doing anything special, I was just doing what a good animal control officer should be doing."