Nieuws - 29 september 2011

Slingerland: acted in good faith

Landscape conference Groene Golflengte [green wavelength] was an initiative by ESG director Kees Slingerland.

It was held two weeks ago in and around the Radio Kootwijk building. A week of workshops and debates focused on nature policy in the Netherlands. Alterra was responsible for the content of the event while the logistical organization was in the hands of Green Alert. This is the name of a collaborative venture involving three communication and organisation specialists. One of the three is Janneke Slingerland, the ESG director's wife.
Slingerland confirms that he asked Green Alert to take on the organization. ‘But at their own expense and risk, and on the specific condition that my wife would not be actively involved. She wasn't either, except for helping out with some odd jobs.' Slingerland also emphasizes that he approached Green Alert as chairman of the Apeldoorn Triennial foundation. According to Slingerland, it is not yet clear whether or how much Green Alert has earned from the assignment. That depends on a grant application to Apeldoorn municipality for 15,000 euros.
Slingerland sees the Groene Golflengte event partly as a follow-up to the Apeldoorn Triennial, a major garden and landscape festival in 2008. When another Triennial turned out not to be feasible, Slingerland set up Groene Golflengte with Alterra. The ESG director says the choice for Green Alert was based on pragmatism.
An article in De Stentor (headline: Green Wave starts in Oosterhuizen) presents Slingerland's wife as one of the three organizers. But Green Alert's Hanneke Stegeman says there's no question of a conflict of interest. ‘It was all at short notice and the budget was limited. Janneke was a useful extra pair of hands. But she didn't receive any pay.'
Director Slingerland doesn't think he did anything wrong. ‘You could question whether we should have invited offers from more companies. But it had to be done quickly and this was the best option for us. Green Alert has good contacts in the Apeldoorn region. In my opinion, this was above board.'