Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic said on Friday that he was not surprised that the director of Zagreb's Child and Youth Protection Centre, Gordana Buljan-Flander, had tendered her resignation after the scandal with a court injunction to stop media outlets writing about her and the Centre.
Because of that, he would request that the Ministry of Health carry out an inspection at the Centre.
The mayor said Buljan Flander’s resignation would be accepted by the Centre’s new steering council, whose members would be appointed as soon as possible, and the council, with its three new members, would make a decision on the acting director of the Centre. A public competition for the new director will also be announced as soon as possible.
Buljan-Flander resigned following negative reactions to her demand for a court injunction to stop the H-alter website writing about her and the Centre.
The injunction by Zagreb Municipal Court judge Andrija Krivak came after the nonprofit website in the past few weeks ran a series of articles by reporter Jelena Jindra problematising the work of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Centre and its head.
Buljan-Flander, who tendered her resignation on Nova TV’s news programme yesterday, said that she had been trying in vain for three months to reach the mayor to seek support for the work of the institution she led.
Tomasevic confirmed that he had received at some point the information that Buljan-Flander was requesting a meeting, but he noted that there were over 300 institutions in the City of Zagreb.
“She could have reached a city official in charge of that field, and steering boards of institutions can also help directors when they are facing some problems. The fact is that I wasn’t able to meet with her, but that was simply due to the schedule,” he explained.
As for the work of the Centre, he stressed it was necessary to identify what was within the competence of the city and whether there had been any irregularities.
“That is why we had requested an internal control… If there have been any irregularities in the clinical part, since the Centre is a health institution, that is within the competence of the Ministry of Health,” said Tomasevic, adding that the control would take at least a few weeks.
He pointed out that the case was about a sensitive topic because the method of “parental alienation” was controversial among experts, so he considers it important for experts to discuss the matter.
“We have made a suggestion, we’ll see the reaction of other ministers, so that an international evaluation of that method may be carried out to end all disagreements,” he said, adding that as a representative of the Centre’s founder, it is important to him that it can function normally.