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MYTHS & RUMOURS

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

As with any juicy scandal, myths and rumours abound around Launceston and beyond. The purpose of this page is to address some of these, and attempt to seaprate what is known from what is not known, and what is true from what is false.

 

MYTH 1. I AM A BULLY

Council perpetuated a lot of media about me being a bully as justification for sacking my supervisor for allegedly allowing me to bully, and also stating openly and publicly that the Sage Report proved I was a bully. In fact, I am not a bully, and I did not bully my staff or anyone else. The charges against me were found to be false (Get Dockray's findings here), and were dropped (Get Dobrzynski's conclusions here).

I am positive that the Sage Report, once released, will demonstrate that I am absolutely not a bully. I hold this belief for four reasons:

  • I am not a bully, I know this to be true about myself.
  • The Sage Investigator, Mr Rob Gray, told my Director, Mr Patrick Filmer-Sankey, that he would be "genuinely shocked" if I faced termination over anything in the Sage Report.
  • Obviously, in developing the charges against me, Council would have hit me with the best of what they had, and that was 13 charges that fell apart. If this is the best of what they had, they didn't have much:
    • 8 found by them to be false in the first place,
    • one found false and dismissed by them in a 2009 investigation,
    • one never investigated but utterly untrue,
    • one about conversational bad language in the tea room,
    • one utterly petty and comical about unrinsed coffee cups,
    • and the final one collapsing due to the lack of guilt on the previous 12.
  • It would stand to reason that if the Sage Report indeed proved my guilt, then Council would have thrown it at me right up front, laughing out loud at my lack of defence. And once it all turned legal and the big federal organisations started asking questions, certainly Council would have used it to justify their actions, if indeed it did. But they haven't. Instead, the hotter it gets, the tighter they clench their fists around it.

 

MYTH 2. THERE ARE FORMAL COMPLAINTS AGAINST ME

Council has stated numerous times in the media and in Council meetings that my staff made formal complaints against me, and that those complaints were investigated by the Sage Investigation. This is completely untrue.

The 13 Allegations against me were developed my Mr Dobrzynski from the completed Sage Report. At the start of the Sage Investigation, there were no complaints -- the purpose of the Investigation was to ferret out whether there were actually any legitimate complaints, because up to that point my staff had refused to put anything in writing or even give verbal detail to which I could answer.

During the Sage Investigation, I was never presented with any complaints of any kind to answer. My five hour interview was entirely conversational, rather than investigative or interrogative.

My staff never made formal complaints against me. The Launceston City Council, like many organisations, has a formal complaint procedure. Ours is in our Enterprise Agreement (Clause 16.16). Predictably, it includes Step 1) make a genuine attempt to solve the problem, usually by talking to the person, and putting it in writing to the supervisor, Step 2) discussions between employees and their representatives (e.g., union) and senior management, Step 3) discussions between the employees and their representatives and the General Manager, Step 4) referral to AIRC, mediation, conciliation and arbitration.

No part of this procedure was followed at any time. My staff never spoke to me about their grievances, or submitted anything in writing to our Director or HR. There was never anything more than a simple whinge. There was never anything to which I could answer. The Union never became involved in discussions between my staff and me. I was never involved in any discussions whatsoever with the GM. I was never given any warnings of any sort.

The first time I saw the 13 Allegations was when I was stood down because of them on 23 July 2010, when I opened the envelope containing my stand down notice. The first time I saw my staff's gripes against me was on 23 December 2010, four hours before I was fired. I still have yet to see the Sage Report, on which the Allegations were allegedly based. It can't possibly be fair or even legal to stand me down 16 weeks with out pay and sack me on secret, uninvestigated charges. But the Launceston City Council did.

 

MYTH 3. I AM UNFAMILIAR WITH MUSEUMS AND MUSEUM PRACTICE

My staff have told my Director, HR, the Union, at least one (probably two) General Managers, the Allianz Investigator, and the Sage Investigator that I was unqualified for the job, have no museum experience, only got the job through my friendship (relationship?) with Patrick Filmer-Sankey. My staff have allegedly been telling people that I was a Direct Appointment for the position. This is all flat untrue.

  • I was and am well qualified for the position, having worked in museums around this country and the world for the past 18 years
  • I still hold dual honorary research positions at the South Australian Museum (Adelaide, SA; held since 1998) and Museum of Tropical Queensland (Townsville, QLD; held since 2003)
  • In the last 18 years, I have contributed over 160 holotype specimens, and many times that many in paratype and non-type specimens to various museum collections, both Australian and overseas
  • Some of my qualifications can be found on my Curriculum Vitae
  • I have no "relationship" with Mr Filmer-Sankey; we have known each other professionally for 12 years; the museum community in Australia is incredibly small - it would be impossible to do the work I have and not know almost all the Directors
  • I was not a Direct Appointment. I went through a competitive interview process, with two panels of three senior managers, most of whom I had never met or heard of and were either connected with the Arts portion of the museum or in HR.

 

MYTH 4. I HAVE BEEN TREATED FAIRLY

Mr Dobrzynski and Council have repeatedly stated that Mr Filmer-Sankey and I have been treated fairly, and they have categorically denied our assertions that we have been denied Natural Justice.

However, despite Council's position to the contrary, it is true that neither Mr Filmer-Sankey or I have been treated fairly and we have both absolutely been denied Natural Justice. For example:

  • I was charged with 13 counts of bullying and harassment, without any reasonable procedure of investigation
  • Mr Filmer-Sankey was sacked for allegedly allowing me to bully and harass my staff, leaving me in the uncomfortable position of having to be sacked to justify his sacking
  • The Sage Report, i.e., the basis of the charges against both of us, was and still is withheld from us
  • I was stood down for 16 weeks without pay while the disciplinary procedure unfurled
  • I have been singled out and disciplined for things that others routinely are not, e.g., unrinsed coffee cups and conversational use of bad language in the tea room
  • I have been discriminated against because of my staff's rejection of, and Council's refusal to accommodate, my Asperger's condition
  • A report on the deprivation of Natural Justice to Mr Filmer-Sankey was prepared by an independent Ratepayer, Dr Sennin Charles. The same arguments apply to Council's handling of my case. (Click here to go to Dr Sennin Charles's report on Mr Filmer-Sankey's website, www.museummugging.com).

 

RUMOUR 1. INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS

Peppered throughout my staff's complaint documents, are salacious assertions about being caught in "intimate positions" in my office, with Mr Martin George, the Planetarium Manager. These are false, it simply didn't happen. I have also been accused in these documents of having an intimate relationship with Mr Filmer-Sankey. This too is false: I respect him greatly as a supervisor, as a scientist, and as a person, but any romantic involvement is completely fabricated.

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