Friday, February 5, 2010

Victim of Bullying? You will be disgusted by this story!

ANYONE who has been a victim of workplace bullying OR is presently being bullied by some animal, because that is what they are, WILL find this story disgusting, particularly if employed within the South Australian Public Service.

This is a story of events that began many years ago. Workplace Bullying that was ignored by those above despite relentless complaints. Bullying that made people sick. Bullying that made one man speak of suicide. Bullying that pushed people out of their carrers, as in my case.

From March 2000, through various Inquiries, Commissions, Tribunals, Investigative Bodies and ultimately a 2009 Parliamentary Inquiry into the Office of the Public Trustee, I bust my ass for justice and for the bully to be punished.

With the public release of a Parliamentary Paper, part of which is extracted below, I can now reveal the whos, the whats, the whens, and the disgusting end result.

Mr MaGuire, CEO Justice, reports to Attorney-General Michael Atkinson.
Mr Des O’Neill, ex-Public Trustee, subject of Moss Inquiry.
Chairperson, Hon Mr R I Lucas, MLC

Ex-General Manager Mr Des O’Neill has been identified by the Minutes as the Executive Manager who was the subject of the Moss Inquiry, a Disciplinary Hearing ordered by the CEO of the Justice Portfolio, Mr Jerome Maguire. The Hearing was in response to a recommendation to the CEO from Crown Law. This recommendation spawned from an eighteen month Inquiry by the Government Investigation Unit, the GIU. That Investigation only occurred because I agreed to drop the second complaint I lodged with the Equal Opportunity Commission.

To cut this long story short, Mr O’Neill made off with an attractive Targeted Voluntary Separation Package, a TVSP. That Package was damn attractive, this I know! As I have mentioned in previous Posts, the Justice Portfolio leaks like 20 sieves in parallel.

Long before this happened, many of us knew this would be the outcome. For fear of retaliatory action, I won’t detail how I know this to be fact.

It needs to be said that ALL of this occurred under the Attorney-General’s watch. I brought various matters to his attention as early as 2003, but it became clear to many that he was not interested. Certainly, his recent porky pie behaviours – such as telling LIES about me on Radio 5AA – fits this profile.

Another aspect of the Government / Public Service relationship I have mentioned before in my Blog has been the ability of a Bureaucrat either to not answer a question, or to display raw contempt for members of various Parliamentary Committees. That behaviour demonstrably depends on whether the Member asking the question is an Independent, is a member of the Liberal Party or is a member of the ruling labor Party. Committee documents speak for themselves.

In the extract below, you should take particular notice of how Bureaucrat MaGuire duels with Committee members, moreso with the Chair, a Member of the Liberal Party, the Opposition.

Party Politics are played at all levels. The upper layer of Bureaucracy within the Public Service is littered with well-placed Politician stooges.

I hope you enjoy this extract. I bloody well didn’t!!!! Why? Because I know that the facts I know, as witnessed by me first-hand, differ from some offered up within this extract.

Our then Attorney-General told LIES about me on public radio. Why should anything less be expected from the mouths of others.

I welcome your comments on this matter. And I will continue to honour your requests for me not to Post comments with information you are too frightened to report to management for fear of retribution.

Oh, below, in particular, you will find one bizarre comment made by CEO Maguire. "...There was a penalty, and I will take a risk here and I will advise the committee that Mr Moss imposed a reprimand upon Mr O'Neill and that went onto his file. That is the maximum penalty that could have been imposed at the conclusion of the disciplinary hearing..."

Dear oh dear. Time to rummage through the Advertiser's archives. Prepare yourself for lots of egg Mr Maguire!

Plaza Room, Parliament House, Adelaide
Friday 13 November 2009 at 2:20pm

Mr Maguire, can I turn to some matters that relate to the Public Trustee which is part of your broader portfolio. As you are aware, there were a series of claims made about bullying, harassment and other issues that related to former Public Trustee staff. You are probably aware that there has been a committee of inquiry in the parliament that has been looking at a number of those. The advice from the Public Trustee on a number of questions that were put to him was essentially that issues in relation to disciplinary inquiries, etc. were decisions taken by you as chief executive and not by the Public Trustee and that the questions should be directed to you rather than the Public Trustee. In the end, there was an inquiry, the Moss inquiry, into the complaints made against Mr Des O'Neill but there were complaints, as you are aware, against three or four other officers. Can you outline to the committee, in your judgment, why the inquiry was only instituted into the allegations that related to the one officer, Mr O'Neill and not to the other officers?

Mr MAGUIRE: Could you be more specific about who those other individuals are? We are aware of the inquiry that Alan Moss took.

7331 The CHAIRPERSON: Let me clarify. There are two recent allegations which are still going through various processes, so I am not referring to those, and, given that no-one has been found guilty of anything, as opposed to the Moss inquiry finding that Mr O'Neill was guilty of one particular offence, as you know, I won't put those other officers' names on the public record. However, at the time of the Moss inquiry allegations, there was a series of claims made not only against Mr O'Neill but three or four other officers, and I distinguish those from two recent claims which the Public Trustee has been looking at this year, as I understand it, in relation to a couple of other officers. Does that assist you?

Mr MAGUIRE: It does. If I can repeat what you said? Setting aside the two cases that we are both aware of, which are being investigated now, I understand what you are saying is about Mr O'Neill. There was a lot of evidence against Mr O'Neill, so I was obliged, following Crown advice and investigation, to undertake a disciplinary inquiry. The other officers you talk about, the advice from the Crown was that the evidence wasn't substantiated enough to follow through with a disciplinary inquiry. So, I took advice from the Crown who, as you know, are well versed in the Public Sector Management Act, and their advice was that, in their opinion, a disciplinary inquiry wasn't warranted. That was the reason for my not instituting additional inquiries other than for Mr O'Neill.

7332 The CHAIRPERSON: For the duration of the inquiry, the Moss inquiry, obviously Mr O'Neill was moved out of the Public Trustee. We were advised of that. We were told he went into your department somewhere—and on one occasion I think someone claimed into the office of the chief executive, which I assume was your office—but I am wondering whether you can clarify where Mr O'Neill was being employed during the terms of the Moss inquiry?

1211 Mr MAGUIRE: You appreciate that, in matters like this, the person is actually attached to the chief executive's office, but he was given meaningful work across different parts of the organisation. Fundamentally, he was not to have any supervisory role of any staff. I know he was involved in quite a major audit project that didn't require supervision of any staff but it utilised his skills in this area. From memory, he had at least two roles inside the department that spanned quite a number of months. I can come back to you if you really want to know exactly what it was.

7333 The CHAIRPERSON: It was within your department. That is the clarification.


7334 The CHAIRPERSON: Mr Moss had his inquiry and found Mr O'Neill guilty of a particular offence or offences. Has that matter now concluded and what penalty was applied to Mr O'Neill, if any?

Mr MAGUIRE: What I can advise you—I just need to be very careful here because it is a very sensitive matter, particularly for the person in question—is that he has taken a TVSP, so he is no longer an employee of the government. In terms of the disciplinary matter, the conclusion of that, I think I would like to take that on notice and take some advice so I can advise you in writing.

7335 The CHAIRPERSON: What penalty, if any, was applied to him? The concern that has been expressed to me is what you have just indicated; that is, your department has negotiated a TVSP with Mr O'Neill. And so, after all the concerns that had been raised about his behaviour within Public Trustee, an inquiry by Mr Moss into his behaviour, found guilty of an offence or offences, there does not appear to have been any penalty, and not only wasn't there a penalty, the department has negotiated a TVSP with him.

Mr MAGUIRE: Perhaps we should come in there. There was a penalty, and I will take a risk here and I will advise the committee that Mr Moss imposed a reprimand upon Mr O'Neill and that went onto his file. That is the maximum penalty that could have been imposed at the conclusion of the disciplinary hearing. That occurred last year. The two are not related—and I want to make that clear to the committee. The penalty imposition in 2008 and a TVSP acceptance by Mr O'Neill in 2009 are not related. The Public Trustee offered the TVSP to Mr O'Neill and funded that TVSP, and Mr O'Neill took that TVSP. He was surplus to requirements in the Public Trustee.

7336 The CHAIRPERSON: How can he be surplus when his position was general manager of corporate finance? As I understand it, the position was backfilled behind him. My recollection of TVSPs is that if a position is declared surplus and, therefore, the person is surplus they can be offered a TVSP.

Mr MAGUIRE: I will correct you there. Mr O'Neill had a contract as an executive in the Public Trustee. His contract expired and it was not renewed. The Public Trustee restructured the way in which it ran its business. It set up a different organisational structure and had different requirements at executive level. It called the executive position and appointed another person—not Mr O'Neill. Mr O'Neill had a fallback position to an ASO8 with a management allowance, and he stayed at that level until he accepted the TVSP. When it restructured he was surplus to requirements in the organisation. He ended up attached to my office and working in various roles, and he has accepted a TVSP. Clearly, the conclusion you would draw is that he had no ongoing position in the Public Trustee.

7337 The CHAIRPERSON: In relation to the costs of the Moss inquiry, did your department brief Mr Durkin as private counsel?

Mr MAGUIRE: My understanding is that we briefed the barrister Mr Anthony Durkin, and the Public Trustee paid for the brief.

7338 The CHAIRPERSON: What were the total legal costs? Were Mr Durkin's legal costs up to $300,000?

Mr MAGUIRE: I do not have the costs here, but I have never heard those numbers.

7339 The CHAIRPERSON: Could you take on notice what the costs of the Moss inquiry were? Obviously, there are the costs of Mr Moss and whoever else worked with him, the costs of Mr Durkin and the costs of Crown Law officers, if any, in terms of the inquiry. Would that be correct?

Mr MAGUIRE: They would be doing this under their normal course of business. That is what they are employed to do.

7340 The CHAIRPERSON: But there would be costs. Did the state, the Public Trustee or justice meet any of Mr O'Neill's costs in this investigation?

Mr MAGUIRE: As far as I am aware, no, absolutely not.

7341 The CHAIRPERSON: Did he have to meet his own legal costs?

Mr MAGUIRE: I will take that on notice.

7342 The CHAIRPERSON: Can you take on notice what the total costs were and confirmation of what the penalty was? Your recollection is that it was a reprimand on his file.

I don't know about you, but Í am almost speechless, well, not quite.

One piece of paper in a file, then a payout!

The Government and the Bureaucrats of the Public Service put me through hell as they did their best to shut me up over the years. And despite all the bloody Inquiries, a DISTRICT COURT DETERMINATION, and a very public Parliamentary Inquiry, there remain those, who continue to, in public, debase my years of effort.

Mister Premier Michael Rann, Mister Deputy-Premier Kevin Foley, Mister CEO of Justice Jerome ALL should be kissing my Royal Irish Arse!



Anonymous said...

I cant believe this. I heard that Moss Inquiry cost more than a million dollars and it ended up in a piece of paper in his file? Where did all that money go. To who. Lawyers I suppose? I remember resding in the paper about tougher punishments being dished out to other public servants. What that Ceo said is weird and not quite right. All I wanted to say, you can publish this one.

See all hear all said...

You can publish my comment. That CEO didn't mention one place they put him. I know because I was next door for a while. I was next to the Police Complaints Authority in Grenfell street. What a funny place to put him considering the allegations. I overheard him talking about it a few times and how he was being screwed by somebody. I assume that someone might have been you. But I heard others complained as well. Oh well no surprise.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I too was a witness at the Moss hearing. I too was cross examined and humiliated by a tenacious lawyer representing Mr O'Neill. It saddens me that his fees were probably paid for by me (a taxpayer). This matter deserves a Royal Commission. Note the way Mr Maguire answers like a pro lawyer or politician. Well Mr Maguire - who did pay Mr O'Neills legal expenses? Do you recall yet? Well Mr Atkinson, who did pay Mr O'Neills legal expenses? Did any part of Government (or a Statutory Authority) pay them? This is a cover up. Thank goodness we have Robbo. 20 March 2010 let's make our votes do the talking!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps post the great story in Adelaidenow (today) from Victoria re how they handle bullies. At least they penalise where it hurts - in the hip pocket. Pity it cannot happen in SA.

Anonymous said...

I am starting to think that the Minister and the CEOs in the SA public service must be either incompetent, for not being able to see through the bullies who cause so much pain and suffering and who report to them. Or else what else could it be? Maybe it is the Ministers and the CEOs in the SA public service who are also bullies themselves. That might explain why they continue to tolerate the bullies. Or could it be that they promote people in their own image? Scary thought to think this state is being run by bulllies at the top. What hope is there for victim s of bullies at the bottom? And it is costing this state billions of dollars and this widespread bullying in the SA public service must be stopped. If the bullies are able to convince the CEO that bullying is not an issue (when it still is) then what does that say about the judgement and discernment and competence of the people at the top? Scary Scary thought Mr Rann. Bring on a combined coalition of Independents to fix this state.

Anonymous said...

From a Federal Depatrtment neatr you. Just so you know it is not just the state public service. Beware of bullies who then try to turn the tables and then point the finger at the victim as being a bully. The victim is already seriously demoralised by the relentless bullying. When you, the victim, are already residing well below the manure pile, and can only interact with the microbes at the bottom, so you know your place. And if you have ever been bullied then you never never want to bully anyone. And daily you only go to people above you. You get no support. You are untouchable because everyone knows if they talk to you that they might get the same treatment. So you never bully anyone. You keep your head down. Do your work. Hear nothing about how you are doing as long as all is perfect. Though you know they are sifiting through hioping hoping to find something they can use to show that you made a mistake. And even when they are wrong, and it can be proved they were wrong, they never apologise. But that is not enough for the bully, they want your head on a stake, rotting flesh and all.
Then to find the manager looking all smug and ILL GET YOU look on his face one morning, then you know trouble is looming. And sure enough. You find thee bully has got someone to do his dirty work, and go after you, the victim of TWO YEARS of bullying, with this trumped up charge. The result of this scapegoating of the victim is disgusting. And you know the worsst of it? The manager beleived the bully boss and the follower of the bully who said they were bullied. And not the person who had been relentlessly bullied for TWO whole years. And the smug accuser got a promotion soon after claimeing to be bullied. And the smug accuser would not even blow his nose without a direct direcrtion from the bully. The smug accuser almost mimics the bully right down to the same taste in suits. And it was clear that he did not even have the nous to write out his own accusation of bullying, because the written accusation sounded so like the way the bully usually writes and words the bully ususally uses. So it seems that the accuser did not even write out his own complaint. But management played along. So the victim warned of dire cnsequences, not yet fully implemented, and was vilified even more. And the bully and the accuser now regularly go out to lunch together. Watch this space. Bet the accuser gets another easy promotion soon. This is the reality in the public service. Are the CEOs in this state totally incompetent that they always only ever believe the bully?

Anonymous said...

Document document and document the bullying, just as Rob McKibbin has done. Anyone who has not been bullied may look at all the evidence and wonder why it can't it be shortened into 5 dot points. NO it CANNOT be shortened into 5 dot points. Bullies would love that. The only way you can show and prove bullying is by careful recording of the date, the time, where, what, who was present, what happened before that, what happened after that, and documentation to partially prove it as well. who said what and to who. and who smirked and who threatened and who sat on their hands and who made false accusations. Because bullying is relentless. It is daily, hourly and it happens all the time. It is exhausting. You wonder how the bully can keep up the pressure. Easy. The bully gets energy from destroying people. And management will not see that this is the case. Who wants to believe, unless you can document all the evidence, as Rob has done, that anyone and any group could be so wicked and nasty and abusive bullies? MANAGEMENT DO NOT WANT TO BELIEVE - that is who do not want to believe. But the people bullied know it is every day. Often the known and the unknown. The hidden and the occasionally revealed. Bullying is like an ICEBERG - 90% IS HIDDEN FROM THE VICTIM. But the victim knows the undermining and the exclusion is happened. Victims do not imagine it. But it takes time to build a case. If you are being bullied GET A LITTLE NOTEBOOK and document what you know did happen. And when you do you will only ever find 10% of the nasty shit the bully does to DESTROY YOU IN THE EYES OF MANAGMENT behind your back. And bullies LIE TO MANAGEMENT EVERY DAY, because they CAN. And one day you wake up and realise your career has been destroyed by a BULLY. Good that Rob proved his case in court. Tragic that PT cannot admit it happened. And REFUSES to admit it is still happening at PT

Anonymous said...

PT could not care less about the bullied. So horrible to see how they bully people. Nasty place to be. PT prefer to believe their two faced nasty managers every time. And managers prefer to suround themselves with willing 'yes sir, no sir' people. Where is a career path for all people at PT, not just the people managers prefer to promote? Where is the absence of favoritism at PT? I don't know, because over three years I kept hoping it would improve, but I never saw anything but obvious favoritism to the few. The rest may as well be invisible. All decisions are done in secret and often the decision itself is not announced until well after the decision is implemented. Except the favorites already know the decision. Because the favorite people always know all from the inside because the manager shares this goss with them. Sometimes it is just horrible when everyone knows about a change to someones job is going to happen, except the person whose job is being changed is not told. And no one can talk to them in case they let the cat out of the bag. And the person just goes on trying to be nice to everyone and yet you know they are being worked on by the manager bully pulling strings behind their back, without them even knowing it. And you can say nothing, or it would happen to you too. Job selection panels are rigged by the same people being on the panels every time, so some people have no chance, because the manager will not hear anything good about the person, and prefers to amplify as loudly as possible anything that is not complimentary about a person they do not like. Results of job selection decisions are often spread to the favorites before the decision is announced. The place is stuffed with people who have no concept of what is unaceptable. But I was there when I know a favorite stuffed up, but it was all brushed away as nothing. The meanness of the culture (to some untouchable) people at that place has to be seen to be believed. Meanwhile temporary people do not get told they are being extended (or not extended) until the last possible minute. This is because it is too hard to treat one group of people fairly. Working there left me in a state of continual insecurity, never knowing what chance I had of any advancement. Never knowing if my contract would be renewed and never knowing when it would be renewed. And you hate to ask as that too might hurt your chances. I know now I had no chance. Not because of incompetence, because I now do similar but more senior work elsewhere and am paid better than at PT. But at PT the teacher's pets are the only ones guaranteed of any good jobs and they can always get all the consideration in the PT world, when they are favorities of the manager who IS a bully. I picked this one as a bully from day one. Terrible place to work. No one talks to you. Some people are very rude and nasty to people who they know the manager does not like. So glad I am where I am appreciated now, and that is not PT. If they had allowed anonymous exit interviews then their hair would have stood on end. But PT does not want to improve, it just wants to protect their bullies.

Anonymous said...

I believe the stress of the bullying I had administered to me at Public Trustee made me so stressed that it also affected my subsequent work performance and adversely affected my marriage. It made me into a recluse, I did not want to face anyone anymore. I will never forgive Public Trustee for the misery they put me through. Some people got a reasonable workload, The boss wanted them to look good at work. While others were piled high with work. I had no chance. There was No let up, even if you asked for some breathing space. The reaction was all nasty bravado, "if you can't take it then you can get a job somewhere else,' attitude, that was said to you by an officer who did NOT have a huge load of work.
The inquiry into bullying thinks it has achieved something, but it does not know the half of it. They should have called, in camera, every person who had left Public Trustee in the previous 20 years. Bullying has happened at Public Trustee many times before. Ganging up on one person, ruining their career. And then there was the time a whole lot of people ganged up on one busm'
Long term disgust towards their abusers by the bully. If people could have been guaranteed complete privacy and been compelled to give evidence they maybe the inquiry could have found out the truth. Instead management at Public Trustee got what they wanted which was a white wash. If they do not fix it then it will happen again.

Anonymous said...

Mate still at PT forwarded me email on a recent email from their training division. A training course with focus on what is mental illness and depression. With the spiel on why the course might be for you, along the lines of "if you or some in your family is facing depression or mental illness"
You got to love them at PT in the occupational health and safety arena. So inept. Why in God's name would they send out an email about a course along the lines of asking you to identify if you (I don't despite the abuse they heaped on me) have depression or a mental illness?
I can just see the likes of the able performers in the Rumour mill at PT (alive and still kicking heads I am told). The finger pointing would be immediate. Yes he/she/it is away today on that course to address his/her/it's mental illness. And then it would be on with the team leaders. Dear he/she/it you are being demoted as we are worried that this job is too much when you have identified as having a mental illness or depression. The team leaders are all experts in everything at PT and they know nothing. And the manager on my floor was the most incompetent B... i have ever encountered and everyone still knows it. but management like him so that's all that matters.