Sunday, February 7, 2010

How a Bureaucrat is still unable to answer a question even with a 12-month notice!

Why was the Public Trustee building at 25 Franklin Street sold for $7.6million (no public tender) a short time after receipt of an independent valuation of $9.37million?

Don't you just hate those vague questions.....they just stump us every time!

And all that extensive & expensive anti-earthquaking works completed not long before was, I suppose, a fortunate coincidence for Javier Moll. New owner alert...better check the cracks that were filled-in with elastic polymer. I stood and watched whilst knocking off my salmon and wholemeal bread sanger!

Previous two Posts I drew attention to the final 2009 meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee, South Australian Parliamentary Select Committee.

I have written about the behaviours of our most senior state bureaucrats. Too many times a Government takes it in the neck only to find out later it did not have all the facts.

I have eyeballed enough over the years to suggest, no, to state categorically that some Bureaucrats will relay to 'their masters' only what they care to relay.

I know some of the following should include contexts, but I am merely giving you a broad-brush picture of an embedded bureaucratic language. And, certainly some instances of, well, I call them smartass comments!

Mr Jerome Maguire, CEO of Justice and the Attorney-General's Department (reporting directly to AG Michael Atkinson) had been on notice for ONE YEAR to resurface with specific answers. From reading the transcript, I certainly wonder where he thought he was going on Friday the 13th of November 2009. A two-hour get together. Twelve months later.

My advice is
My advice is
I'm sorry, sir, I do not have that information with me
I don't have an idea of that budget
but my understanding is
I can't confirm either way
My advice is
I would assume
My advice is
I do not know the name of it; I do not have it with me
We can't remember who it was
It is our understanding
I don't have the information here. I don't have the breakdown, I'm sorry
I can't. I don't even want to take a stab at it. I have no idea, really the extent of it. So, I would like to get back to you about that
Well, you're telling the story.
I can't tell you that date
I don't know. I will have to find out
We don't have any knowledge about how that would occur
I've never seen the submission
I don't believe that's a relevant question
I can't recall
I can't recall
I don't have those costs with me
I have no other information
My understanding is
I think it is
I do not have the costs here
I will take that on notice
It does not really interest me what his companies are, quite frankly
I am talking in generalities here
I do not actually know what the contract said
but I haven't got the detail
I'm sorry, I don't have that
I have them here, I think

OK. Here is a piece of the November 2008 transcript that put Mr CEO of Justice Jerome 'well, you're telling the story' Maguire on notice 12 months ago:

3676 The CHAIRPERSON: We may have a discussion about that on another occasion. On 16 May 2007, the Attorney-General, under his own signature, approved the sale of the Public Trustee building. Whether you need to go off and confirm whether or not he did or did not, they are the facts of the matter. Are you aware that, in March 2007 (two months prior to the approval by the Attorney-General), the Public Trustee commissioned a valuation from Colliers International which valued the Public Trustee building (which the Attorney-General sold to Mr Moll for $7.6 million) at $9.37 million; that is, nearly $1.7 million higher?

Mr MAGUIRE: I am aware that evaluations were undertaken by the Public Trustee, and that is a requirement of the Public Trustee in the disposal of assets. You obviously have some information that I do not have in front of me, so I cannot be precise about the valuations. What I can tell you is that it is my understanding that the subsequent transfer and lease-back was commercially neutral to the Public Trustee and, essentially, the Public Trustee's concerns were met.

3677 The CHAIRPERSON: We can digest that in a moment. Were you aware that, when the Attorney-General approved the sale of this property on 17 May 2007, the Public Trustee—which was within your portfolio—had an independent valuation of the property by Colliers at $9.37 million, $1.7 million higher than the Attorney-General sold the building to Mr Moll?

Mr MAGUIRE: Again, I sound like I am repeating myself.

Mr MAGUIRE: Again, I sound like I am repeating myself, but I understand that there was an independent evaluation. I do not know the numbers; I can confirm them with you. If there was a differential between what it was purchased for and the initial valuation, I can come back to you with more detail about that and the reason for the differential.

I look forward to November of 2010. Maybe an answer will surface as to why a $9.37million taxpayer-owned building was sold to a private company for $7.6million without public tender.


Anonymous said...

Robbo, change your name to Michelle and then the media might just follow your Blog and raise these issues directly with the Premier.
I have always thought something smells here. The stashed cash affair has nothing on this one! Bring it on.

I was there then said...

I remember that. We all wondered what the hell was going on. How come only one side of the building needed all that work done? Did you know that before it was sold a helluva lot of money was spent on remodelling the inside? When it was sold it all made sense. Then we got kicked out. We owned that building now we're going to be paying rent in that dump round the corner. Just weird. Keep up the excellent work exposing all this crap.

The Cloaked One of Public Trustee said...

Hey Rob. Spot on mate. Obviously the select committee is not even able to get to the truth of this matter. Being so what hope has the taxpayer got of ever discovering the truth. Too many backroom deals in this town. BTW. I loved your Clown expose below. Says it all doesn't it.

Angry Bob pretending I know ICT in London. said...

Hey Rob. Angry Bob in London. remember me from OCBA a few year ago? Been following your Blog and I see nothing has changed much. I remember this particular CEO. He hasnt changed either. Working in the AGD was a joke. If I remember correctly we used to cruise past that cafe in Grenfell Street and you would point out half that department sitting around mid morning fiddling with their lattes. Now year 2 over here and thinking I have had enough. Throw me an email. Same Gmail account.

I cant remember of noddyland said...

I just dont know as I cant remember but I am almost sure I saw a contract but I dont have the figures with me but then I am sure I will send you some very interesting scans from my hotmail email. Thats if I can remember my password but my best advice is it is SELECTIVEAMNESIA and it is my understanding if I keep saying my advice is I will never live to see my jewels in a sling, I would assume.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely criminal. What a historic building we were forced to move out of. Ahhh, the day a staffer disturbed two junior clerks copulating in the stairwell is written into the PT folklore. Almost as good as when we pinched the PT's case of french wine from the foyer (another gratuity) and then cracked it all open at the staff xmas party, Great memories in that building. (but the staff regulars over at the pub playing the pokies during core hours would not remember).

Anonymous said...

Nothing has changed in the SA public service. There are still long long long term bullies. Put the blow torch on the Police and Transport SA, and you will see it. They protect their own, the longest longest serving are like a club. They can do anything and nothing happens. And then there are the chosen ones. Everyone else is on the outer. The bullies have to realy see something very special in a new one to make them a chosen one. The rest are fair game to bully. The chosen ones learn quickly how to be like the bullies and start small and move up to trying to destroy others. It is all over the public service in South Australia. But I am starting to think the head bully must be Rann or surely he would have stopped the spread of right wing fascists who continue to bully, without any CEO noticing it?

Anonymous said...

Rob the PT know that they were able to get away with NOT admitting all the people being bullied at PT, when they `came to the parliamentery inquiry.
The problem is not fixed.
And it was not just Maguire who was economic with the truth.
Because some people at PT have never come forward to management as they are too scared to do so. And managment often the problem. Esasier to just resign, which is what most of them did.
And I know of no one who still works at PT who came forward.
Who wants to see their job opportunities sliced off at the jugular? People did not come forward for the above reasons but also they thought the bullying would only get worse.
But the PT also knows that some bullies are still bullying and I cannot see anything being done to stop if properly. Except the tried and true method of management doing all they can to get the victm to leave by taking away all their duties and humiliating the victim. Much easier to sweep the problem under the carpet, Sidelining and humiliating the victim is the prefered method of attrition at PT

Anonymous said...

Yes nothing has changed. Sometimes feels like there must be a quiet little agreement with managers and the CEO, even though the CEO knows there is possibility that the manager is lying and that maybe occasional bullying might occur. MIGHT? Of course it is still occuring. So I think the directive given to managers by CEO in SA public service : Try to keep it nice, keep up with those targets and adhere to this that and the other Get the work out of them, but don't do anything that can be singled out as bullying.
And secretly the CEO directive to managers must be: I leave you in charge, I have faith that you are only doing the things you tell me, and if you have to discipline/lean on someone then I don't need to hear the details. Trouble is the managers walk around confident in the knowledge that they are skilled in 'i leave no visible bruises style of bullyin' The Bullying is still happening all you CEOs and you do nothing to stop it CEOs. As long as your managers meet their targets and directives, any way they can. Mostly CEOs are appointing ill equipped and poorly trained misfits as managers. Managers who are insecure nasty little bullies. And CEOs what you get in return is a work force that is not as good as they could be as they are suffering under an avalanche of covert bullying that the CEOs never SEE.

Anonymous said...

Thank you PIIBAPT Inquiry for the 2 year rule.
It has not stopped the bullying. but it has reduced a little except for one poor bugger who has been a game sport for one manager for ages. Bodycoat does nothing to stop that, does not even understand the subtlety of how that manager does it, without being caught. The bullying has largely continued but it has gone underground; more subtle bullying so it easier for the CEO Bodycoat to ignore it, and harder to prove it. So you have to be very alert to all the ways they undermine you to other staff and behind your back.
But the bully I suffer has not lost any desire to bully. Sometimes I catch the bully staring intently at me. I often wonder 'what is that?' Is the bully just checking I am still alive and continuing. Because if I were not alive and kicking it would mean that the bully would have t start all over again with a new victim. I can state very surely that the bully is so good at lying to Mr Mark B. And it would be such a time consuming waste if the bully had to start all over again. I like the note book idea to document it all, I might suggest it to her.

Anonymous said...

Mate told me about your site Rob and I had to check it out. With all the focus on male bullies I can state that as a male I was bullied to a terrible intensity by a female bully at PT. So vicious that I sometimes identified with those victims in a Nazi concentration camp. She drove me into an abyss. Felt ashamed I could not stop it. Know now it is her problem, not mine. I put in a complaint to AG inquiry, because I thought that was going to be private. Nothing improved after that. Now I find the AG inquiry was not confidential and nothing came of it anyway from my complaint. I liked the work but hated coming to work each day. Have my family to consider so I couldn't chance going to parliamentary inquiry because I didn't want to see my name splashed all over the papers. Since I left people say I look better. Tell you what I feel a lot better. And now I work in related field and get good responses from my clients, people I work with, and my employer thinks I'm doing well. I was not the useless piece of dung that she treated me as. She made my life a misery. Picked at me like a woodpecker. I hear she's still at it, but then nothing much changes back there. Crawlers rule, bullies continue. Temporary shift deck chairs when someone complains, then all returns to as before. What does it take to make them admit the bullying problem instead of denying it all?

Anonymous said...

Nice article on sale of PT building in Independent weekly. Is it because of Mansell that the Advertiser says little about it? The new building to be offered to Public Trustee is inferior accommodation. From a business point of view the change is not sustainable. Any financial adviser would never tell you to sell your major real estate asset, forgo a viable income, sell the asset for much less than it is worth, and do it all in secret. And then use ALL the proceeds to fitout your rented space in the new building you will be renting. If the fitout costs that much the people doing it are being paid too much. For this Rann Atkinson and inept weak PT management that gave in to premier's demands are at fault. And now PT has less income. Has to pay for external storage. When that storage was part of the old building. And PT has also given up the capital gains that would have accrued from continuing to own the building with valuable access between Grote and Franklin st. Crazy deal. But more crazy is the Rann demand that staff be be squeezed into pittaful little desks with a lack of storage. There used to be minumum work spaces for each employee but Rann policy keeps making the minimum space smaller. And a new level of even smaller work space is being drafted now. Rann has contempt for all public servants. It will be easier to take work home and work at home than try to work in the cramped little spaces in the new building. Who will be the first to trip over boxes or files on the floor in the new building? And who will the be the first to sue the government for loss of earnings? Will not take long for that to happen.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rob. Thanks for reporting this very important story. It is a scandal that the government seems to have gotten away with this, and no explanation. I hope you will do a follow-up story.

adelcomp said...

In the works. And thank you for the comment.