Sjerps started work as a strategic advisor to the Executive Board, a position created for her, on 1 November. Before that, she was the municipal clerk at the Municipality of Rotterdam. Upon her appointment, the university stated that the Executive Board was particularly interested in using her knowledge, expertise and her national and international network.

Shortly after her appointment was announced, the AD reported that Sjerps was still on the municipality’s payroll, but that it was unclear who was paying her salary: the municipality or the university. Last Thursday, alderman Adriaan Visser admitted during a closed council meeting that the municipality was indeed still paying an unspecified portion of Sjerps’ salary. Sjerps has been seconded to EUR but is still employed by the municipality.

Top income

Little is known about the size of Sjerps’ salary, but apparently she is earning less than the limit specified in the WNT (178,000 euro per year). Her predecessor as municipal clerk earned more than this limit.

Anonymous sources informed the AD that Sjerps left her position as municipal clerk after less than a year due to a conflict in the workplace. Her ‘direct and domineering style’ was unpopular, with Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb among others.

Underlying truth

This is not the first time that a situation like this has caused a fuss at the municipality. In 2014, deputy municipal clerk Seppe Raaphorst was seconded to the Municipality of The Hague, and the Municipality of Rotterdam continued to pay the salary.

Leefbaar Rotterdam has demanded that the ‘underlying truth’ about the arrangement with Sjerps be revealed. “If the municipality is still paying her salary, then that is a very serious matter”, says chairman Joost Eerdmans.

The university didn’t want to respond to this story. “The agreements made between the municipality, Sjerps and the university remain confidential between them. She has now started working as a strategic advisor and she and the Executive Board have no interest to comment any further on this story”, a spokesperson said.