Wednesday, March 3, 2010

R.I.P. my friend.

I need to be careful how I compose this Post.

Someone I knew, someone I worked with, someone I helped through a difficult time, recently passed away, suddenly at home.

His name was Brian, and until a few months ago he was employed by the Office of the Public Trustee. I am not sure how long for, but suffice to say he was there when I fronted back in June of 1999.

Brian was a bit of a lad, even at 60. He had seen a lot in his time, could be somewhat rough around the edges, but had a heart of gold.

I kept an Email he sent me on the day I myself abruptly left that world of workplace bullying. I had emailed all staff saying that I was out of there with a one hour notice! It reads:

Hi Rob,

You bloody silly old Irish bugger, how dare you not come and say goodbye, however luckily for you I totally understand, I hope all goes well for you in your next job, and I'll keep sending you all the jokes and things as I put your e-mail address on my personal list, you always were one of my favourite people here at PT.

But anyway God Speed & God Bless I'm going to miss you around the place.

Your Old Mate

PS My bloody computers still not working properly, come back alls forgiven ha ha

Brian experienced significant workplace bullying at that place. No doubt about that.

At one stage we both found ourselves on the Workcover slagheap, particularly when Brian was battling his employer, the State Government, to have his claim recognised, and for the stated cause of injury to be recognised.

I vividly recall being told about a meeting during which it was discussed how NOT TO approve his Workcover claim. Some superhero had suggested his condition could be pinned to time he served in the Navy many, many years prior.

I remember the pitched battles I fought for my claim to be endorsed. Management did not want to be seen to acknowledge that workplace bullying existed within its office.

I was many times in touch with Brian over the years as he fought the system, I remember all he told me, and I remember things I had seen.

There is no doubt in my mind that his experiences at Public Trustee contributed to a condition that in the end claimed his life.

Would he be alive today had he not taken on the system?

An email to All Staff from thee Public Trustee, Mr. Mark Bodycoat reads:

Sadly, I have to tell you all that Brian Smith died unexpectedly last night.

Brian’s last few years with Public Trustee were not always happy, and he had his own personal battles to fight, none of which would have been easy for him. I will remember him as a good man, with a good heart. His passing will sadden us all.

Our thoughts go out to his family.

You judge whether the wording of the PT email is appropriate!

For some years I have been screaming the ‘one day it will happen’ message, a message that always fell upon deaf ears.

Brian me old mate, I know you’re looking down and at peace.

I doubt there was anything we could have done differently.

We insisted on the same third-party Rehab Manager. We simply had no faith whatsoever with Mick Atkinson’s department, a department that is self-insured.

We both shared the biggest challenge. Waging battles with a department that put its own reputation ahead of the welfare of its staff.

At least you got to see the Inquiries, and the Parliamentary Inquiry. I remember the day you called and were excited at the prospect of the bastards being sprung!!!! Though...

YOUR BULLY is still there and has yet to answer for HIS sins!!!

Rest In Peace my friend.


Anonymous said...

Hello Robbo, I too worked with Brian and I still work in the same area. He was a gentleman and will be sadly missed by us all.
An old sailor and a union man as well (of course). Management disliked him and in particular our newer management hated him. I mean oh dear, he said what he thought! That's a no no. They eventually wore him down didn't they and now look what has happened. Condescending email but celebrations behind closed doors? Dr Death strikes again. When will the Minister wake up to his own CEO and those under his CEO. God help all of us who remain.

Anonymous said...

I worked with Brian too. He treated horribly by management at PT. Don't know how he stood it, I couldn't endure it. I'd walk out. That's what management wanted. But Brian was a stayer. He could see right through management, and taught us well, so if you think that's the last employee who can think for themselves, think again. Brian spoke the truth and called a spade a spade. But management never question their competence. Brian's honesty was a threat to management. No one can tell management, managers, team leaders they are wrong, even when they are. Die you peasants, die, there's plenty more to replace you, die now. That should be management's motto. Management want trained monkeys whose only word is YES and who cannot think for themselves. Pity they're saddled with so many of us who can think for ourselves and know when management is traveling the wrong path, again. Brian was hounded over and over again. Pick, Pick, Pick. Find fault. Don't listen to anything he said. Belittled and humiliated Brian would still turn up again in the morning. His self control was formidable. A lesser man would have wanted to do something stupid. Brian was smarter than that. He took them to Court. So they upped the ante even more severely against Brian. Tried to find ways to question his character, question everything he did. I am sure this pressure added too much stress to his life. It was not easy for Brian. What they did was intentional to inflict harm on him. Shocking to watch. PT management have no respect for the staff below team leader level. They can say their spin but their actions reveal their contempt for staff. PT Management listen to managers below them and to the team leaders. But staff are nothing in their eyes. And they come out with these pathetic little remarks that are so false, it is a joke, especially resident Bully: Dr Jekyll:Mr Hyde. Brian described him as a tosser, he wanted to say more but the floor snitch was sitting with ears pricked up to relay all to management. Brian had a great sense of humor. He could be funny. He could be a lad, but a gentlemen when he chose to be as well. He'd lived in a disciplined world before he came to PT. Somehow coped with the terrible bullying PT management put him through. And to the chagrin of management he bounced back every time. Right to the end he kept positive and had a happy face. How I do not know. When he took on management in Court, he won. Not that you'd know it. Dr Jekyll: Mr Hyde has not learned a thing from that episode. Did Brian get a genuine apology? Any let up from the bullying? Of course not. That Bully is still there. Dr Jekyll:Mr Hyde, who only wants to listen to his own voice. And kept on bullying Brian. And did T lift a finger to help Brian? In your dreams. That's how you get a reclass. Shut up and do whatever management and especially Dr Jekyll:Mr Hyde wants. Farewell Brian and thanks for all the friendship you gave me over the years. You were not treated fairly, but who, below team leader, is treated fairly by Dr Jekyll:Mr Hyde. Farewell Brian, you fought a good fight, you WON the support of the Judge in Court against them for their bullying. You will not be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Don't know how you got the email from MB but Robbo you are right on the money. The content and tone of that email has shocked a few of us. To use some of managment's fave sayings against them, when these are usually directed at staff I can say the email was all of the following. Inappropriate. Appalling. Showed a lack of judgment. An Inability to 'behave in an appropriate manner'. Yes another management gem, but this time applied to MB. The tone of the email was a put down against Brian. The man is dead and they still can't resist one last jab against him. Brian was a better man than anyone in management including the two who were the worst.

Anonymous said...

Not long after the Parliamentary Inquiry was called I heard Mark Bodycoat say, "we are going to do everything possible to discredit Rob McKibbin". As if you were a lone voice Rob, whose claims had to be proved as untrue. None of the senior looking PT staff surrounding Mark Bodycoat did anything but stare mute and bored,unconcerned. Like it was nothing to do with them. So I have no doubt all you said about Brian is true. Since then I have had to deal with more concerning PT. I have now seen several of those same managers, above, are also bullys. People at PT get out of the place before it consumes or destroys you. Thinking of applying to work for these bullys? Don't. Not until Mark Bodycoat comes out and is truthful about what his managers do to staff. Not all of them, only some of them, but everyone is affected. Pity the remaining staff. Until PT admits the problem PT cannot fix it. The name Bodycoat being apt, soft coating on the outside, hard, cynical and ruthless on the inside. While his second is Witless.

The Hooded One said...

Oh yes. Bullseye Mr McKibbin. You know you are being vilified in here for your Blog, dont you. But only by those that are part of the problem that has been entrenched in PT for years. Sure we got rid of the biggest bully (thank you for that sir) but the others continue as though nothing has ever happened or changed. I have emailed you details of a meeting I attended recently. Up to you if you think worthy of a Post. Keep it up mate. I know you are down & out and awash with your own problems, problems courtesy of the Government, but I know you will never give up. We thank you for giving us the ability to use the world of Blogs to vent. There is no way any of us will ever 'come out' as we know what will happen.

Anonymous said...

Huge turnout at Brian Smith's funeral. People overflowing out into the foyer and out to the street. Tells you this was a good man. A truthful man. A man who kept his friends for life. Brian cared. He was very good at dealing well with people from all walks of life. A capable man who men from all walks of life respected and were happy to have the opportunity to stand up and be counted as men who admired Brian. Brian did some amazing and brave things in his life. And he had a great sense of humor. So many stories were told, to demonstrate what a capable good man Brian always was. Fact that his friends, colleagues and workmates from so many different periods of his life wanted to attend and pay their respects said everything. Brian treated people right.
Pity Public Trustee had to treat Brian so appallingly.
Brian will be missed by many.
Rest in Peace Brian.

Sick of PT said...

Dear Rob. Thank you for the Facebook post. It is now nearly a year since the Parliamentary Enquiry and still nothing has changed. Poor Brian. I watched as many did and we now feel extreme guilt. Of course we saw it all before with you and we secretly admired you for everything you did. We still can't get over how you dragged them into court, and it was great to see you, a Senior member of the IT section still laughing even when management put you on box unpacking duties for a month. I remember that avo you were out the back jumping up and down in the rubbish skip laughing your ass off saying you were being paid 65 grand a year for working your calories off! Seriously though, this place is a sick, toxic workplace. And you are quite correct when you stated in another Post that 3 other identified bullies remain at large. Gutless management. Many of us here were wondering if you would run with this issue. Brian suffered in the most disgraceful way at the hands of management. These bastards need to be made accountable.

The Hooded One said...

Hi Rob. Yep I'm still within the confines of the Attorney General Department. Been a while since I posted and yes you are quite correct. They have blocked us viewing your Whistleblower blog. Just continue to send the HTML in an email. Good on you and John McBride for exposing the Public Trustee porn ring on television. Strolling around the floors noticing some of the screensavers I assure you that nothing has changed. Keep up the good fight mate. You are still spoken about and highly regarded in many quarters.