CSIRO Misleads the Senate.2.
Deputy CEO Craig Roy falsely testifies that CSIRO has never referred a complaint back to the person complained about
During the 15 February 2012 Senate Estimates, CSIRO executive were asked by Senator Bushby whether they had ever referred a grievance complaint about someone back to that person? The Deputy CEO of CSIRO, Mr Craig Roy, told Senator Bushby in the presence of the CEO of CSIRO, Dr Megan Clark, that this has never happened in CSIRO. His exact words were:
“…we would not have a circumstance in which a complaint was made against a particular officer and it was referred back to that officer to solve.”
That, however, was a false statement. Moreover, in our opinion, it was knowingly untruthful and nothing less than a deliberate attempt to deceive and mislead the Senate.
The reason we take this view is that Dr Clark, who was sitting next to Mr Roy at the time he made the above statement, appears to have been personally involved in exactly such a situation just 18 months earlier.
We provide below, the full text of an email string sent by Dr Sylwester Chyb to Dr Clark, in which he complained about his manager, Dr Mark Lonsdale, Chief of CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences. Chyb had lodged a formal grievance against Lonsdale with Dr Clark four months earlier. In his email, Chyb asked Clark whether his grievance had been actioned yet and if he could be managed by another manager while it was being looked into?
One would think that this would be a perfectly reasonable request to make of the CSIRO Chief Executive four months after a formal grievance had been lodged with her against a senior manager.
One would think that a CEO like Megan Clark, whose claim to the job was her supposed experience and dedication to a safe workplace, would have some skerrick of sympathy for such a request.
But, one would, apparently, be wrong in such an expectation.
Chyb’s email to Clark was sent at 1:03 pm on 11 August 2010. At 6:33 pm on the same day, 11 August 2010, Chyb received an email from none other than Dr Lonsdale himself, which contained his earlier email to Dr Clark. Lonsdale stated in his email:
“Dear Sylwek, Your e-mail below has been referred to me for response.”
Lonsdale thereafter instructed Chyb to attend a meeting with him on the following day, 12 August 2010. In that meeting, Lonsdale told Chyb that his position at CSIRO was redundant and he would henceforth be retrenched. Chyb was terminated by CSIRO on January 4, 2011.
Thus,none other than Dr Clark herself referred a complaint about Dr Lonsdale back to Dr Lonsdale for response. Dr Lonsdale responded by terminating the complainant.
Note that Lonsdale’s superior, senior executive Dr Joanne Daly, was also copied on all of the correspondence below. Dr Daly, along with Dr Clark, Mr Roy, and Dr Lonsdale, could, apparently, also find nothing wrong with this sequence of events.
May we remind the CSIRO executive of the “CSIRO values” that they created and which they list on the front cover of the CSIRO annual report 2010-2011:
a. “working ethically and with integrity in everything we do”,
b. “building trust and respect each day with our communities, partners, and colleagues”,and
c. “constantly delivering on our commitments – Do what we say we will do”.
The CSIRO executive insist that every employee of CSIRO abide by these values. However, it appears that they dont feel the need to abide by them. Either that, or they dont actually recognise unethical conduct that is lacking in integrity. In our opinion, the CSIRO executive has a downright strange and aberrant way of “working ethically and with integrity”,not to even mention “building trust and respect”.
We ask again: if this is the disdain with which they treat the Senate, how will they treat their staff?
Email from Dr Mark Lonsdale to Dr Sylwester Chyb:
From: “Lonsdale,Mark(CES,BlackMountain)”< Mark.Lonsdale@csiro.au>
Subject: FW: Meeting 12th August
Date: 11 August 2010 6:33:14 PM
To: “Chyb, Sylwek (CES, BlackMountain)” <Sylwester.Chyb@csiro.au>
Cc: “Daly, Joanne (SSP, Campbell)” <Joanne.Daly@csiro.au>
Your e-mail below has been referred to me for response. CSIRO is still directing you to attend the meeting on 12th August as in my letter to you of 10th August. The topic of that meeting remains as before. I was also asked to reply to your queries (your email Wed 11 Aug 4.17 pm) about discussing the findings of the investigation, of which I am well aware. You may discuss the matter with your legal advisor as long as all information remains in confidence and is not relayed to any other party. As far as the investigator is concerned, however, he has completed his investigation, and this finalises his involvement in the matter, so it is not appropriate that you contact him about it.
From: Chyb, Sylwek (CES, Black Mountain)
Sent: Wednesday, 11 August 2010 1:03 PM
To: Clark, Megan (OCE, Campbell)
Subject: Fw: Meeting 12th August
I have received the attached direction from Dr Lonsdale. He has initially requested that I attend identical meeting on Monday 9 August. Given that I was instructed by Dr Lonsdale to be seen by an independent medical advisor on August 10 I suggested that we wait for doctor’s recommendation. I am still of an opinion that it would be reasonable to wait for Dr [name deleted] report.
You may recall that I have made a formal grievance complaint with you against Dr Lonsdale. Has this been actioned? Is there another, reasonable manager who could take over Dr Lonsdale’s responsibilities vis my management?
From: Lonsdale, Mark (CES, Black Mountain)
Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 01:24 PM
To: Chyb, Sylwek (CES, Black Mountain)
Subject: Meeting 12th August
<<Chyb -Direction to attend meeting on 12 August.pdf>>
Letter attached. Regards
Dr W.M. Lonsdale
Chief, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences,
GPO Box 1700, Canberra, Australia 2601.
ph: (+61) 02 6246 4025