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Complaint documents from my staff



An incredibly large volume of petty and ridiculous complaints were made against me by the staff of the Natural Sciences Department of the QVMAG. These included disapproval of my fingernails, my tattoo, my unrinsed coffee cups, and my media style, among many others, along with an invasive and creepy fascination with my private life.

Some of these complaints and documents are outlined here, while the rest are being prepared for upload.

These include hundreds of pages of complaint submissions by my staff and others, which I gained access to on 23 December 2010 through the 'discovery process' in my legal case, as well as some 500 pages of the Sage Report, to which I am still attempting to gain access.

I ask readers to keep in mind while perusing these unedited documents, that I have made no defensive commentary on the contained elements. However, that doesn't mean that what has been written is necessarily true. In fact, many of the assertions are utterly false or blown completely out of context and proportion, and have been demonstrated to be so by Council's own lawyer. My reason for presenting these documents unedited is simply transparency. I believe that the sheer volume and pettiness would make any attempt at addressing them here a "lost-the-plot" exercise. However, I am challenging them in a legal context.

Remember too, NONE OF THESE "COMPLAINTS" WERE EVER SUBMITTED IN ANY FORMAL WAY, they did not go through the dispute resolution procedure in our Enterprise Agreement, they were never presented to me to answer to, and I was never given any warning.


A large volume of complaints have been made against me. Well, perhaps "complaints" isn't the proper word, because they did not take the effect of formal complaints that I could answer to. They took the form of voluminous whinges, submitted and dealt with behind my back in the 'secret' Sage Investigation and Report. I was eventually sacked for 'creating an unsafe work environment', on the basis of these complaints. With great irony, I was finally allowed to see SOME of the complaints about four hours before I was fired by fax notification, five months to the day after being stood down, publicly maligned, unpaid, and driven to self harm.

The documents below were, I believe, mostly or entirely written on paid work time, on the Council computer system, by Council employees, relating to Council Business. They were obtained through the discovery process in my legal case. Because I am a firm believer in transparency as a pathway to the truth, and I have been treated very badly through the privacy of secrecy, I believe that the Ratepayers have a right to know how their Rates dollars are being spent.

I further hope to demonstrate in my staff's own words that I never stood a chance -- their relentless blizzard of petty and unsubstantiated gripes would be enough to unseat anyone. Their gripes were taken at face value, without regard to the context of thier ongoing struggle for autonomy. What SHOULD have happened was that the Sage 'investigation' should have proceeded as originally intended, i.e., to determine whether bullying had taken place, and if so, to what extent, then at that point, any allegations arising should have been properly investigated in a manner consistent with the conflict resolution process in the EBA.


"Public Servants are Open to Public Scrutiny"


Judy Rainbird Complaint Documents by Judy Rainbird

The list itself of Ms Rainbird's documents goes on for six pages -- not the pages of documents, or the documents themselves, but just the line-item list of documents. Due to this large volume of documents, it is cumbersome to prepare and upload them all at this time. Thus, only a fraction of those submitted by Ms Rainbird in her complaints against me are included here.

Because there was no single "primary submission document" as there was with the other staff members, but rather, just an endless rant of minutae, I have chosen to group them into PDF's by subject and arrange them chronologically according to Ms Rainbird's dates of first notes; I believe that this will facilitate understanding (if it is actually possible to really understand... ).


Judy looks like my mother, January 2009
I am astounded that Judy took the time to document this extremely brief and trivial conversation; she made it sound like I called her into my office in some sort of formal meeting, which is completely misleading. It was said off the cuff in passing.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
"Hours Issue and TG", 24 February 2009
Judy complained about Tammy consistently coming in early and leaving late; I was asked to fix it; Judy admitted she complained, and wanted Tammy's hours; Tammy freaked out and wanted to resign.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
"IGP Working Group Meeting", 19 May 2009
Planning session for upcoming biodiversity exhibition. I wanted to include animals and plants; Judy wanted only birds and mammals; Tammy wanted more information on how I saw plants fitting in. The meeting got out of control. Judy became forceful, and physically and verbally threatened me. I called an end to the meeting and asked both to leave my office.  DOCUMENT REMOVED

"Meetings attended by JR to discuss issues involving Lisa Gershwin", May - August 2009

Despite all of these meetings, Judy (and my other staff) refused to make any formal complaints against me, to which I could answer. They just simply wanted "something done" about me. It is interesting too, that Council's viewpoint in a great deal of media in July-August-Sept 2010 was that "something should have been done about the situation earlier", as if no efforts had taken place to resolve the conflict. A lot had been done. It's just that resolution requires that both sides are willing.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
"Empower Refresher", 30 June 2009
Resistance to participating in a departmental training session  DOCUMENT REMOVED
Priority Lists and Position Descriptions, June - July 2009
Staff complained repeatedly that their position descriptions were out of date, and as a result, they lacked clear direction. I embarked on a comprehensive consultative process of identifying what each team member saw as priorities and personal strengths, feeding into the PD revisions. Staff rebelled, mostly Judy.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
"JLR concerns", June 2009
This is what I am talking about when I state that my staff worked themselves up into a frenzy of righteous indignation. I was under the microscope, and every aspect of what I did and did not say was being picked apart.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
Exhibition Label Templates, July 2009
Staff reacted with extreme resistance to my repeated requests over 19 months to draft exhibition labels. This is Judy's view.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
Freezer Contents, July - October 2009
I requested an inventory of the three chest-style freezers where we kept specimens awaiting processing or trade. It took me and Craig less than a day to inventory 1 freezer. Tammy had also done approximately one freezer. It took Judy 3 1/2 months to submit the final inventory. This was not only glacially slow, but contained details and attractive formatting that were unnecessary. I kept telling her I needed it urgently, and all I needed was a simple list: e.g., 2 devils, 4 spotted tail quolls, etc - like a shopping list. She insisted that she couldn't possibly submit anything that was done in a rush, as it would compromise her integrity and pride.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
"JR Reflection", 28 August 2009

Judy's feelings about working with someone whose "style and behaviour was so vastly different" from her own.

"Feelings - JLR", 29 August 2009
Self explanatory  DOCUMENT REMOVED
"Mediation Summary", 31 August - 2 December 2009
I began a lengthy Mediated Performace Review process with each of my staff, at the request of HR and the Director. One by one, my staff each dropped out, until only I was left willing to mediate. Here was Judy's view.  DOCUMENT REMOVED

''Non-attendance of Team Meeting", 23 September 2009

My staff had complained repeatedly to the mediator that I was micro-managing them, so he instructed me to "give them a chance to do something right" and "your job is to set the bar, their job is to come to the bar." One of his examples was not to delay a team meeting if they are late, but just to proceed without them. So on 23 Sept, that is exactly what I did. Ms Rainbird and Ms Gordon were not present, so I began our standard weekly meeting that had been in place for about 6 months. They later accused me to "entrapment" by not coming to get them, which was ridiculous -- no doubt, if I would have come to get them, they would have accused me of micro-managing. Couldn't win.


''Mediation - LG presenting needs to JR", 13 October 2009

Judy had presented her needs to me in mediation the week before. She had 22 items, including "I need you not to make decisions with the Director without consulting me first" and "I need you to realise that more than one urgent item at a time is unreasonable expectation". Many of my needs, such as, "I need you to stop saying I am too American, because it hurts my feelings", and "I need you to draft IGP labels," were rephrased and in some cases blocked by the mediator. The session became heated when the mediator was treating my needs different from those of Ms Rainbird, and not allowing me to state my needs, despite having instructed me to sit and take Ms Rainbird's. He admitted to this bias, and apologised to me in front of Ms Rainbird. We continued. The meeting ended when he wouldn't allow me to use Council's values statement. The Mediation process resumed later that day.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
"Craigs return", 11 November 2009

The Director had asked me to intercept Craig when he arrived and alert him to the fact that he was late for a scheduled meeting. Judy found this rude.

"LG and Smithsonian Visitor", 6-7 February 2010
I came in on the weekend to accommodate a visiting researcher from overseas. Judy was utterly uncooperative, leading me on a wild goose chase looking for the thylacine specimens that she had moved. Her obstructive behaviour and our lack of communication made the QVMAG look like total amateurs.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
"Notes on use of volunteer and labels for Nat Sci display", 25 April 2010
With zero contribution from my staff toward the upcoming Tasmanian Connections exhibition, I recruited a very keen and highly capable recent UTAS graduate as a volunteer, Ms Jane Taylor. Apparently my staff felt threatened that I had brought someone in to do the work they were getting paid to do.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
"LG Talking to volunteer", 27 April 2010
I was gobsmacked when I read this. Much of it is completely fabricated. It still pains me to think of the e-labels that weren't written during the time it took Ms Rainbird to write this.  DOCUMENT REMOVED

"Personal and Shared Folders", April - May 2010

Department staff routinely kept working files in 'our own' folders on our shared departmental drive, to be transferred to the main shared area when finished. These files (i.e., shared files that were still resident in my staff's folders) dated back 10 years or more, and were often in non-intuitive pathways. After my staff were put under alternate supervision, finding shared files for the upcoming exhibition and day to day departmental work became cumbersome. To solve this problem, I copied a half dozen essential files that I needed to access often (i.e., previous exhibitions) into the shared area. My staff rebelled, claiming that I had MOVED many files and invaded their privacy. In fact, not a single file was moved, only copied, and no privacy was invaded, I accessed only departmental files on the shared departmental drive.  DOCUMENT REMOVED


Tammy Gordon Complaint Documents by Tammy Gordon

"Statement by Tammy Gordon", 14 May 2010
I believe that this is Ms Gordon's official statement to the Sage Investigator.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
"Additional Comments", undated
I believe that this accompanied Ms Gordon's official Sage statement.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
Complaint to Director about 29 July team meeting, 3 August 2009
Ms Gordon made this complaint to Patrick Filmer-Sankey, but chose not to formalise it in writing and asked him not to. This same event was the basis of her subsequent stress claim (see below). Elements of this complaint were used verbatim in both our dismissals, although we were not given access to its substance until 23 December 2010 (i.e., four hours before my dismissal).  DOCUMENT REMOVED
Rebuttal to LG interview for Allianz Investigation, 21 October 2009

Ms Gordon filed a stress claim in August, on the basis that I had bullied her at our 29 July team meeting. My interview with the Allianz investigator was taped and transcribed by him into a statement in September. There were elements of it that Ms Gordon disagreed with. This is her response. I note the following:

  • Ms Gordon's claim was found by Allianz to be groundless, and it was rejected. The basis for the rejection was that Ms Gordon's recollection of events differed considerably from mine, and mine was supported by the meeting minutes that were written by Ms Annette Vains. Council accepted and acted on this conclusion. Apparently unaware of this finding, Mr Dobrzynski later charged me with it a second time in July 2010; when alerted to Allianz's findings in my rebuttal, he downgraded it to a warning. This feels like 'double jeopardy', and should have been dismissed.
  • It is interesting that Allianz or Council gave Ms Gordon this report, for which she faced no disciplinary action, but withheld the Sage Report from me, for which I did.
  • I believe that these facts demonstrate just two of the many times that Council treated me less favourably than others in similar circumstances.
Conflicting evidence on relationship between Ms Gordon and Ms Rainbird
When Ms Gordon and Ms Rainbird had their argument in Feb 2009 about Ms Gordon's hours not being worked, she told me that she and Ms Rainbird had been friends in the past, but had a falling out and their relationship had been very tense for well over a decade. She said she was afraid of Ms Rainbird and felt intimidated by her. I was also advised of long-standing friction between the two, by numerous managers (e.g., Dianne Badcock in HR, as well as Martin George and Glenda King, who had both supervised Natural Sciences and worked at the Museum 20-30 years). However, in this document, Ms Gordon tells a different story.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
This document from Ms Rainbird is more consistent with the various bits of information I was given from management and even from Ms Gordon early on.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
Conflicting evidence on nature of resignation
From the best I can piece together, perhaps Ms Gordon didn't actually mean to resign when she did in Sept 2009; she often spoke of quitting, but her motivations were unclear, given these conflicting statements.  
Feb 2009: Ms Gordon quit following argument with Ms Rainbird; I didn't accept her resignation, and we were 'back to normal' a short time later. This is Ms Rainbird's version of events.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
Aug 2009: Ms Gordon stated to Director that she wanted to resign  DOCUMENT REMOVED
Sep 2009: Ms Gordon asked HR (Ms Renu Sharma) for resignation procedure  DOCUMENT REMOVED
Sep 2009: Ms Gordon asked Paymaster for information on payouts  DOCUMENT REMOVED
around 27 Sep: Ms Gordon told HR (Ms Dianne Badcock) that she wanted to resign, and Ms Badcock persuaded her to give it one more week, on the basis that mediations were making headway.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
Late Sep: numerous emails to Union and others informing them of her intention to resign  DOCUMENT REMOVED
30 Sep: Ms Gordon's husband hand-delivered Ms Gordon's resignation notice to the Director  DOCUMENT REMOVED
30 Sep: Ms Gordon sent a poem to all Museum staff informing them of her resignation and blaming me for her state of mind  DOCUMENT REMOVED
Early Oct: numerous emails to Union and others informing them of her resignation  DOCUMENT REMOVED
Early Oct: Apparently the fact that no one tried to talk Ms Gordon into coming back to work after her resignation caused her offence.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
Early Oct: Ms Gordon filed unfair dismissal charges, citing constructive dismissal.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
*** Oct: The Fair Work Tribunal rejected Ms Gordon's claim for unfair dismissal.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
"Anaphylaxis" incident, June 2009
During the process of defining the staff's priorities and revising the position descriptions, Ms Gordon told me in writing that our dermestid beetles (used for cleaning skeletons) give her anaphylaxis. When I asked her what she meant by this, she said "they make me stop breathing - I would call that anaphylaxis, wouldn't you?". Given that yes, I would, and exposure to their dust and residues was rampant through our workplace, I considered this an immediate stop work safety issue. By the time it was over, Ms Gordon admitted to William Springham (Council's OH&S Manager) and Mr Filmer-Sankey that she had never had anaphylaxis from them, and had no real reason to think she would, but it was possible. She also told them that she didn't like them being in the workplace.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
Meeting with the Aldermen, 13 January 2010
It is against the law for Aldermen to involve themselves in operational affairs. However, Aldermen Ian Norton, Rosemary Armitage and Annette Waddle did involve themselves in Ms Gordon's discontent, apparently rather assertively from this statement. See also my page on Aldermanic interference.  DOCUMENT REMOVED


Craig Reid Complaint Documents by Craig Reid

"For the information of Rob Gray, workplace investigator", 17 May 2010
This was apparently Mr Reid's only Submission to the Sage Investigator  DOCUMENT REMOVED


Annette Vains Complaint Documents by Annette Vains

Various correspondence with Human Resources and external Mediator 2009

This is a difficult-to-navigate collection of various correspondence between Ms Vains and Dianne Badcock (LCC HR manager) and Tony Newport (mediator). It is pretty typical of Ms Vains's 'direct' approach.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
Allianz Statement, 7 October 2009
This was Ms Vains's investigation testimony to Allianz Insurance regarding Tammy Gordon's claim of workplace stress, based on a team meeting on 29 July 2009. Numerous elements of her statement were later found by the Investigator to be inconsistent with other statments and facts, including her own written minutes.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
"Recollection of Natural Sciences Team Meeting ... 23 September 2009", 29 Jan 2010
This relates to the Staff Meeting on 23Sep2009, in which Judy and Tammy chose to not attend.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
Complaints to Museum Director about Supervision
Ms Vains griped repeatedly to the Director about my supervisory style, as a means of arguing for restoration of her autonomy. Her claims included that I lacked management experience, that I lacked museum experience, that I had a "1950's style of management", that I was so busy with the problems in Zoology that I didn't have time for her, that I was flexing my supervisory muscles with her and she didn't like it, etc.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
Exclusion of Supervisor from Remuneration Request, approx. June-July 2009
Ms Vains submitted a request for a pay increase directly to the Director, and advised me of her request by email. Her request was returned by the Director, on the basis that it should have come through her supervisor (i.e., me). After much scuffle, the Director and I worked on it jointly, both supportive of the request (just not the way it got there). This was just one of many examples of Ms Vains refusing to acknowledge me as her supervisor.  DOCUMENT REMOVED
Retirement Request

Based decision to leave work environment, but simultaneously requested to be kept on as a casual worker. She had suggested perhaps 10-12 times prior to her retirement request that her relationship with her new partner was going really well, but it was a long drive to St Helens, and she was looking forward to retirement so that she could spend more time with him, "if it works out". I sincerely believe that her retirement was an opportunistic way to take a poke at me on behalf of her friends, and in truth, had more to do with her personal relationship.


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