18 October 2005
Corrections Confirms Dismissal
Probation Officer Josie Bullock was dismissed today for breaching the Department of Corrections’ Code of Conduct by publicly criticising the Department’s policies for managing offenders.
General Manager Probation & Offender Services, Katrina Casey said, “An investigation found that Ms Bullock had intentionally and repeatedly breached the Code of Conduct, constituting serious misconduct. Ms Bullock also made it clear during the investigation that she intended to continue to speak publicly against any Department policy or procedure that she did not personally agree with.
“Ms Bullock was suspended in July while the investigation into alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct took place. The Department was concerned her criticism of its policies compromised her ability to appropriately perform her duties and work effectively with offenders. The Department has internal processes and procedures for employees to raise concerns.
“The Department welcomes public scrutiny of its policies but does not believe that it is appropriate for employees to publicly criticise processes or programmes they are employed to administer. Like all public servants, the Department’s employees must act professionally at all times.
“The investigation into Ms Bullock’s breaches of the Code of Conduct followed an earlier investigation into complaints about her behaviour and its impact on others at a poroporoaki in December 2004. The resulting investigation upheld the complaint and Ms Bullock was given an oral warning.
This earlier investigation related to her behaviour and its impact on others and not her personal views about the use of Maori protocol in the Department. Ms Bullock’s actions at the poroporoaki and her personal views about that protocol were not relevant to the subsequent investigation or the decision to dismiss her.”
The Department is developing a policy on Maori processes and protocols and is taking a considered and balanced approach to the development of this policy. The policy will balance the participation of women with traditional cultural practices in Departmental ceremonies. In the interim, attendence at powhiri and poroporoaki will continue to be voluntary.
The Department acknowledged that this work was required earlier this year when Ms Bullock made her complaint. The assertion that the policy is only being developed because Ms Bullock brought the issue to the attention of the media is incorrect. The timeframe in concluding this work is reflective of the other priorities policy development staff have and is necessary to ensure the resulting policy is sustainable in the long term.
The Department will continue to work to provide the most effective service possible to Maori offenders who are over-represented in the corrections system.