Kathy McCabe - "Honesty Goes to the Core of my Very Being"

"Honesty goes to the core of my very being."
Kathy McCabe 6 June 2008

During mediation with Kathy, she came out with this line about three times. Kathy must think that the more times you repeat something, the truer it becomes.

The mediator informed Kathy and me in advance of the meeting, that we were to prepare and read out a statement to each other, and then we were to begin asking questions of each other.

Kathy read out her statement. It was full of nonsense about me. I read out my statement. Kathy didn't like it because I had mentioned that she had been dishonest with me. Kathy flipped her lid. She made one almighty fuss. She demanded that I withdraw my accusation of dishonesty. I couldn't. The best I could say was to change it to "Sometimes you have been dishonest with me." She still didn't like it.

Then when it came time for me to ask questions, Kathy said she wasn't going to answer any of my questions, and that if I even asked her a question, she would walk out of the mediation. I offered to wait until we were alone to ask questions, because I thought she was maybe embarrassed to answer my questions in the presence of her friend, Colin Sinclair, who she had brought along for support. But she wasn't going to answer my questions any time or anywhere.

At his interview for the grievance process, Colin said Kathy did answer my questions. Well, in that case, she won't mind answering them again at the tribunal.

I intend to show you at least one example of Kathy's dishonesty on here. It is a very special example, because it also shows Kathy's disrespect for me, even though I was one of the oldest and most senior members of the team. She wanted to show off to the team just how disrespectful she was of me. I was too stupid to deserve respect. That was the image she wanted the team to have of me. She was encouraging them to be disrespectful too. Is it any wonder that Eileen MacDonald would then ignore any advice I gave her? Eileen was at the opposite end of the spectrum from me. Kathy respected her when she didn't even have the basic knowledge for her job. Yet Eileen would arrogantly complain about my performance and integrity. Not only had I explained to Eileen that she was wrong, but I had explained to Kathy that Eileen was wrong. But two years later, Eileen was still making the same mistakes. Mistakes that even a student programmer would think were absurd.

In her grievance document, Kathy talks about the mediation process: "Fundamental problem is that Allan said I was dishonest. I stated that questioning my honesty and integrity was a serious personal attack and that if this was the basis from which he was working then I could not see how we could establish a proper working relationship and that we would have to recognise that mediation had failed. Allan's interpretation of this was that I was breaking the mediation process. He had to be told several times by Liz, and I had to repeat my words, but he did not accept the premise. I stated that he needed to moderate the statement. He moderated it to a statement that I was sometimes dishonest. After a 5 min timeout I stated that I acknowledged that he had made a slight moderation but that this still wasn't enough. This was ignored.

It's interesting that this particular document was a document she wrote for herself originally two days after the mediation. Yet she couldn't even bring herself to tell the truth to herself. Fascinating!

She then says "On reflection this was the most difficult and deeply unpleasant experience of my working life. I am not convinced that Allan is prepared to move forward, but rather he will still want to go through every detail of the grievance point by point. I could do this but am not convinced that Allan would accept my explanations. I believe that his views are so deeply entrenched that this is the only view he will accept. I believe that the mediator found his doggedness rather frustrating and she had to pull him up on more than one occasion because his interjections were pejorative and unhelpful, or both."

Basically, she is admitting that she refused to answer my questions. But she puts her own spin on the actual events.

In May 2009, I had my appraisal with Kathy. I told her that I wanted to attend the Oracle conference which is held annually at the end of the year. It's a conference that is attended predominately by Database Administrators (DBAs) like myself. When I first became DBA, Kathy said I would attend the conference every year. But she changed her mind. Instead she used the staff development fund mainly for her friends who were mostly all women. So, for about six years on the trot, she wouldn't let me go. That is bullying as well as sex discrimination. At my appraisal she was very dismissive of my request. She abruptly said "Noted." I reminded her that I hadn't attended for several years. Again, she abruptly said "Noted." In fact she put exactly that on the appraisal form. "Noted."

I talked to several colleagues about his later on. Everybody knew that Kathy had been bullying me by preventing me from attending that conference. They all said that she was bound to let me attend that year. I said I got the feeling she wasn't going to let me go just from her attitude at my appraisal.

Sure enough, I wasn't selected to attend the conference. Kathy had again chosen others to attend conferences, though. Eric and Jackie wrote to the team to inform us that they would be out of the office to attend a conference. I emailed Jackie and copied to the team. I said I wouldn't be out of the office because I hadn't been chosen again. I jokingly asked her what the secret was to making a successful request because each year my request was rejected.

Kathy replied to me and the team pointing out that she is not a mind reader, and that if I wanted to attend a conference, I should have asked. Then she added that I hadn't asked to attend that year or any previous year.

That's what I mean when I say that Kathy is likely to come out with any stupid lie on the spur of the moment. Honesty wasn't at the core of her very being when she sent that email. Kathy had shown her true colours. And this was less than a year after Mark Toole told her that criticism was to be delivered privately and should be evidence based.

I calmly replied to Kathy's email saying that it was not appropriate language and that it was an attempt to publicly humiliate me. I told her that I still had copies of some of my written requests.

She had nowhere to go. She had basically called me a liar publicly. She had tried to publicly humiliate me by suggesting that I was stupid to think that she could read minds. And to top it off, she was lying to the whole team, and I could prove it.

It didn't end there though. It was still simmering away in her head. She came up with a plan to clear her from her own stupidity. Days later, I received an email from her inviting me to meet with her to talk about the appropriate way to request attendance at a conference. At first I didn't understand what she was meaning. It didn't make sense. Then it suddenly hit me. The reason she was inviting me to meet with her was because it made her email visible to team members who regularly looked at her calendar. It was devious bullying. She wanted to give the impression to colleagues, that although I had requested attendance, I had used an inappropriate method. She was trying to get herself off the hook.

I wrote to her and asked her to remove the email from public display. I quoted part of the university's bullying policy to her. She briefly made it private, and then she made it public again.

Eventually, Mark Toole had to tell her to remove the email from public display. He also told her to rephrase her email to make the meeting sound as though it had a more positive purpose. She wrote again and said that the meeting was to find a better procedure for requesting attendance at conferences.

There was no changing Kathy. And now she has got herself in knots.

And, of course, Eileen Schofield didn't consider any of this to be bullying behaviour. Apparently every allegation I made was rejected, yet most of Kathy's vexatious allegations were upheld. Funny that! Is it any wonder that Eileen Schofield receives death threats?

Then that muppet, Kevin Clarke said he saw no flaw in the process.

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