Shooting the Messenger

29 - Thomas W. Brown and the Monstrous Lie

Getting Away With It

Thomas W. Brown was a meticulous notetaker and this attention to detail is reflected in his one hundred and nineteen page decision.

Thomas W. Brown might have been a good notetaker, but some of the conclusions he draws from what he has heard, read and noted is that of a man who doesn’t go much beyond first impressions, or more accurately, first misconceptions.

Adjudicator Brown may also have been influence in his thinking by his fear of offending Joe Clark, and buying into Foreign Affairs' argument avoided that risk.

By page twelve you realize that Thomas W. Brown has it all wrong. A computer-based management information and financial control system, into which information is fed via satellites and other modern communication links requiring little or no human intervention, becomes a labour intensive system with yours truly providing most of the labour.

Full Telegraphic Input of Financial Data, Thomas W. Brown writes, involves Ottawa getting “paper telegrams” from posts around the world on which is recorded every disbursement made by every Canadian embassy, high commission and consulate.

These disbursements, Thomas W. Brown informs us, were in the local currency of the country, and it was my job to manually convert the foreign currency amount into Canadian dollars then code the information contained on these “paper telegrams”, along with my own calculations, for manual input into the departmental financial management system — a Herculean task that even that mythical hero would have had difficulty accomplishing in his lifetime.

Because disbursements at the various posts were in local currency there was in place a telegraphic system which allowed the posts to report their disbursements in local currency and in turn have them converted into Canadian dollars and coded [by me] prior to being inputted into the main financial system.

Decision of Thomas W. Brown of the Public Service Staff Relations Board in Bernard Payeur v. TREASURY BOARD (Foreign Affairs), p. 12.

As if this wasn't enough, Thomas W. Brown goes on to explain that, after I was done processing and coding thousands of telegrams for input into the department’s mainframe computer, I was expected to produce the monthly Currency Fluctuation Report, part of the “special reports” referenced in the following:

Another on-going duty assigned to the griever was the handling of special reports and enquiries emanating from the financial management system.

Decision of Thomas W. Brown of the Public Service Staff Relations Board in Bernard Payeur v. TREASURY BOARD (Foreign Affairs), p. 13.

As if this wasn’t enough:

He was also involved in the data base (sic) administration.

Decision of Thomas W. Brown of the Public Service Staff Relations Board in Bernard Payeur v. TREASURY BOARD (Foreign Affairs), p. 13.

From the outset Thomas W. Brown let his Luddite concept of a telegram, his fear of offending the powers on which his job depended, and Foreign Affairs’ lies, obscure his understanding of what Full Telegraphic Input of Financial Data was all about.

This initial misunderstanding would lead to the next and key misunderstanding, that the reports I had programmed into the central computer could be done manually using an adding machine.

Remember, in the chapter Nonsense I asked you to keep in mind the following dialogue:

Richard: Like I said before, he did not need access to the computers to produce the currency fluctuation reports, I already told you that, and it is all his fault if today we can not keep track of millions of dollars.

It's his fault for getting himself fired! Because he got himself fired, we had to dismantle the Currency Fluctuation Reporting System because nobody knew how to run it. We even hired a consultant for $ 90,000.00 so he could tell the consultant how the system worked before we fired him.

Compare that testimony with Thomas W. Brown’s justification for finding me guilty of insubordination for failing to deliver the impossible report and for Foreign Affairs blameless.

By this time management was completely frustrated by the griever and saw as an impossibility the obtaining of the needed report.

In fact, the consultant’s report was made without taking into account the required report under the currency fluctuation project (the Currency Fluctuation Report) and to this day the financial management system does not and cannot take into account “losses and gains” in currency fluctuations, it was hoped it would, had the consultant had in hand the griever’s report.

[Therefore] the griever’s misconduct at various periods during 1984 and 1985 has thus been established.

Decision of Thomas W. Brown of the Public Service Staff Relations Board in Bernard Payeur v. TREASURY BOARD (Foreign Affairs), p. 114.

An obviously confused and outraged, if not outrageous Thomas W. Brown even parrots Foreign Affairs' preposterous claim that I was responsible and continued to be responsible, more than a year after being fired, for the loss of tens of millions of dollars because I forced Foreign Affairs to fire me by insisting that I needed access to the mainframe computer to do what they claimed they desperately wanted.

Using the large powerful departmental computer to analyze hundreds of thousands of financial transactions I had discovered that the Foreign Service was helping itself to tens of millions of dollars to which it was not entitled, and now, Foreign Affairs accused me of being responsible for their having lost track of these millions because I could not reproduce, what I had done using a powerful mainframe computer, with an adding machine, pencil and paper.

At this point, Thomas W. Brown is obviously thoroughly entangled in Foreign Affairs’ web of deceit and can’t find any other way to end his nonsensical Decision except by repeating the big lie, which, at this point, he evidently believes.

In summarizing why my firing was all well and good, Thomas W. Brown contradicts himself, and in the process exposes again the monstrous lie, this implausible explanation on which he based his decision.

The grievor had failed to hand in his report before the consultant had completed his study. The report was finally completed by another financial analyst, after the consultant had left the premises.

Decision of Thomas W. Brown in Bernard Payeur v. TREASURY BOARD (Foreign Affairs), p. 118.

This contradictory admission by Thomas W. Brown is further proof that management lied about my being the only one who knew about the workings of the Currency Fluctuation System.

Also, if another financial analyst could describe the workings of my system, isn't management also lying about having to dismantle the system because no one knew how it worked?

As to the coincidence between the changed working conditions and my complaint to the Commissioner of Official Languages, for Thomas W. Brown it’s just that, a coincidence. An apparent coincidence, as explained by Foreign Affairs’ management, and if you can’t believe Foreign Affairs who can you believe.

But management has explained that “coincidence” as being merely apparent and that the real and only reason for denying access to the computers to the griever was because he did not need to use the computers to do his newly assigned work.

Decision of Thomas W. Brown in Bernard Payeur v. TREASURY BOARD (Foreign Affairs), p. 116.

It was not newly assigned work obviously, it was old work previously done by computer which I was now expected to do by hand after the coincidence so casually dismissed by Thomas W. Brown

We are at the end of Thomas W. Brown’s Decision where logic and rational thought have all but been abandoned by a man trying desperately to make sense out of nonsense.

Management’s explanations are taken at face value unreservedly while my arguments and evidence are dismissed out of hand.

In summarizing his reason for upholding my dismissal, Thomas W. Brown again returns to management’s explanation for the coincidence between the event that led to my termination and my complaint to the Commissioner of Official Languages.

I have already disposed of the ‘coincidence’ between management’s decision to deny the grievor access to the computers and the complaint which he filed.

Decision of Thomas W. Brown in Bernard Payeur v. TREASURY BOARD (Foreign Affairs), p. 118.

Having decided that I was guilty of misconduct for not performing the impossible task I was assigned after placing that now tragic phone call, Thomas W. Brown then goes on to deal with the issue of due process.

The manner in which Foreign Affairs had terminated me was clearly illegal.

I was dismissed before I had served a suspension as required by law and, as required by law, having serve this suspension I had to be asked one last time to deliver the impossible report and if I failed to do so, then and only then could I be dismissed for alleged insubordination.

As mentioned in the chapter Blackmail?, to get around due process Foreign Affairs simply deemed that I had served a ten-day suspension, and deemed that after serving the deemed suspension I was deemed to have been asked to end the alleged insubordination and deemed to have refused.

Foreign Affairs clearly did not have the legal authority to deem that actions required by law had taken place when they clearly had not. If a judge allowed this, then, the Department was and is above the law, is a law unto itself.

What does Thomas W. Brown think of all this deeming that actions that have not occurred have occurred?

I have no reason to believe that more progressive disciplinary measures meted out prior to March 22, 1985 would have any effect (sic) whatsoever on the griever. It would only have made a more classical approach to progressive discipline.

Decision of Thomas W. Brown in Bernard Payeur v. TREASURY BOARD (Foreign Affairs), p. 114.

The classical approach is synonymous with the right to due process and is the only protection afforded an individual against arbitrary dismissal, imprisonment … execution.

As for not having any affect on the griever!

Thomas W. Brown's approval of the expeditious and unlawful way I was dismissed meant that I was denied the opportunity to resign. If due process had been observed, Massé could not have presented Joe Clark with a fait accompli.

The unmitigated arrogance of Thomas W. Brown in thinking he could predict the future and, knowing the future, ignore the law in the present.

If due process had been observed, I would still have been an employee when I received Clark’s letter praising his officials. After receiving the former Prime Minister’s letter I would have known that all was lost, and that maybe it was time to call it quits, and quickly.