Board dismissal earmarked in ‘distressing’ Puffing Billy report

 

News article: Board dismissal earmarked in ‘distressing’ Puffing Billy report

It’s believed board and staff members of the organisation that governs Puffing Billy have been encouraged to hand in their notice or face termination ahead of the release of an Ombudsman’s report.

  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
The use of the word "distressing" is really alarming and I wonder what has been going on down at Puffing Billy,  How can this report be heard in parliament live?  Is it possible?

Board dismissal earmarked in ‘distressing’ Puffing Billy report

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  Carnot Chief Commissioner
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
Lets keep this to the other thread which has been around for a while.

https://www.railpage.com.au/f-p2106733.htm#2106733
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
The Ombudsman's report makes compelling reading. I have just finished reading it through from beginning to end, and the evidence and conclusions are damning.
PBR will probably suffer in the short term from the media reports, and it's future will be fraught with interest.
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

You would think that they were Catholic, there must be a training school they go to, their actions are the same, the cover ups are the same.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Some random thoughts from woodford,

While anything like this is EXTREMELY distressing..........

1: The reason why perpatrators of such acts got away with it for ssssssssssssssooooooooooooo long is that nobody around them wanted to know. If all the people around them dobbed them in they would only have lasted 5 minutes. All that PB's management was doing was carrying on the tradition of everyone else. Thats the way it was particularly pre 1980's the population let a lot of bad stuff happen. I don t think its really fair to judge peoples past actions be the standards of today.

2: Nearly all the evidence is hearsay, in the report even the police said there was no supporting evidence that could be used in court and Victoria still has some rather draconion libel laws.

3 I will admit I found the answers given by a number of PB's management as not really acceptable, to much resembling the testimony of Captain Lord of the Californian (Note 1).

Its a serious double standard when people in the past ignored this sort of thing but now say others should be punished for doing exactly that.

Note 1: The Californian was the ship 5 to 15 miles north of the Titanic when it, the Titanic, was sinking and failed to come to its aid. Captain Lords testimony changed every time he was questioned, he was evasive and could not remember anything.

As I said I find ANYTHING like this VERY DISTRESSING, even so we have make sure we are being fair.

woodford
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Some more thoughts......

Most of the population will run miles rather than get involved in anything, particuarly some thing like this, an example. around about 1996 a member of the PB board sent a questionaire to all PB volunteers who were not members of the society. This questionaire STRONGLY hinted all such people (volunteers not members of the society) would be kicked out UNLESS they joined the society. I found this MOST distressing being a PB volunteer with NO intention of EVER joining the society. I fumed about this for some months, then finally wrote a letter to a board member. He replied back saying PB had NO INTENTION of sacking any volunteers and the board member who submitted the questionaire was known have strange views. He also stated that there were over 200 volunteers who where not society members and judging from past experience the questionaire would cause at least 80 volunteers to leave PB and never com back AND NOT SAY ANYTHING and that i was the ONLY one that raised the issue with PB.

When something distressing happens 99% of people will just run away rather than help by facing the authorities.

It is likely that this is the only thing PB management is guilty of.

A final comment Railpage will need to be carefull here, no PB management have been charged with anything an its STILL innocent until proven Guilty and so much of the talk on this subject around the railway was complete innuendo.

woodford
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

Some more thoughts......



A final comment Railpage will need to be carefull here, no PB management have been charged with anything an its STILL innocent until proven Guilty and so much of the talk on this subject around the railway was complete innuendo.

woodford
woodford
So we should not discuss it in case we are sued, certainly an approach that has been proven to work for the Catholic Church in protecting pedophile priests.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
To address concerns raised by woodford:-
First; are your comments made after reading all of the Ombudsman's report, or not?

The Ombudsman's report is in the public arena and open to anyone to read and comment upon.
It is highly unlikely that any PBR person will be charged with anything.
Their collective lack of action was morally culpable, but almost certainly not legally actionable.
The evidence is there and compelling; PBR management knew of Whitehead's grooming processes at PBR as far back as 1985. They also knew of his conviction and subsequent prison sentence, i.e. a proven record as a paedophile. There was ample reason under the rules for Whitehead to be kicked out.
If we take woodford's idea that we should not judge by today's standards, then logically the Spanish Inquisition and Stalin's purges, to name just two, were probably OK at the time. I do not subscribe to any such theory.

The PBR Board and management were demonstrably derelict in their duty, and innocent children suffered because of it.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
How many of the current Board were in office at the time of Whitehead?
  hbedriver Chief Train Controller

I feel for some of the Board who had to resign. Many of them were not involved with the railway at that time. One member of the (past) Board made a positive difference, shining a light into all sorts of dark places and supporting some of those individuals most offended against; he was one of those who had to resign; I suppose it was important that they could show a clean sweep, irrespective of individual cases. Sometimes it is important that change is seen, even when perhaps not needed.

I was of an age then that made me a potential target. I am blessed that I was kept safe.

While the crimes are horrid, and the actions of the Railway came into question (and rightly so perhaps), don't forget that the overwhelming majority of the railway members and workers were aghast at the revelations. We are talking about a couple of criminals among thousands of decent, honest people. I urge people to maintain some perspective; the crimes were truly awful, but the offenders were a tiny portion of us. Don't blame everyone who is a member or works there.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
The board of AMP were mostly absent when the various issues highlighted by the Royal Commission happened.

I think it is hard to hold a director or board member responsible for affairs which pre-date the incident(s) concerned.  But those members surely knew post the incident and what measures were put in place to ensure this did not happen again?

How is the new board going to be appointed?
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
The board of AMP were mostly absent when the various issues highlighted by the Royal Commission happened.

I think it is hard to hold a director or board member responsible for affairs which pre-date the incident(s) concerned.  But those members surely knew post the incident and what measures were put in place to ensure this did not happen again?

How is the new board going to be appointed?
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
How many of the current Board were in office at the time of Whitehead?
YM-Mundrabilla
I think one of them. Also, John Robinson the (until April) CEO of Puff was president of the Puffing Billy Preservation Society during 'the Whitehead years'. You will also find that nearly half of the now sacked Emerald Tourist Railway Board were active volunteers during that era as well.
But the point of sacking the ETRB and CEO of Puff is to draw a line in the sand. Whitehead & Hutchins were allowed to offend for all those years at Puff through their positions and influence within the organisation. They helped shape a permissive culture - one that was somehow utterly draconian when it came to accusations of petty theft and yet 'looked the other way' when it came to their offending. While I can't speak personally as to whether the culture has changed already, sacking the ETRB is a good way of demonstrating that those who have not changed their ways will have to. The change has to be driven from the top down.

How is the new board going to be appointed?
x31
By the State Government, explicitly without the input of the Puffing Billy Preservation Society.

The reason why perpetrators of such acts got away with it for ssssssssssssssooooooooooooo long is that nobody around them wanted to know. If all the people around them dobbed them in they would only have lasted 5 minutes. All that PB's management was doing was carrying on the tradition of everyone else. Thats the way it was particularly pre 1980's the population let a lot of bad stuff happen. I don t think its really fair to judge peoples past actions be the standards of today.
woodford
And yet the Scouts kicked Whitehead out back in 1960 as soon as they had heard of his conviction.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
Yeah, definitely not a good week for Puff:
https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/manager-who-knew-about-puffing-billy-paedophile-charged-with-sex-offences-20180626-p4znuq.html
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

But those members surely knew post the incident and what measures were put in place to ensure this did not happen again?
x31
In my option, the key factor for demanding the resignation of any current board members who weren't around earlier would be whether they did anything to improve the way things operate in 2015 once Whitehead's crimes were brought out into the light.

Things there should already be at least as well handled as they are now at public schools, no? Those reforms should have been started no later than the first board meeting after they became aware of the police investigations into Whitehead, and the mere surfacing of a serious allegation should have been enough to prompt action without waiting for the verdict of Whitehead's trial, and certainly well before the Ombudsman's report three years later.

The first act of the new board should be to join the National Redress Scheme.
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

Yeah, definitely not a good week for Puff:
https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/manager-who-knew-about-puffing-billy-paedophile-charged-with-sex-offences-20180626-p4znuq.html
LancedDendrite
Do you not think your concerns are a trifle misplaced, I put it to you that for the children abused and then ignored by the organisation that enabled the abuse, they have had 50 years awaiting vindication?
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Do you not think your concerns are a trifle misplaced, I put it to you that for the children abused and then ignored by the organisation that enabled the abuse, they have had 50 years awaiting vindication?
"theanimal"

I don't think LancedDendrite was concerned for PBR's sake; all he's doing is stating a pretty obvious fact, i.e. Puff is not quite smelling of roses. His previous posts have shown me that he is concerned about the events that happened, and those who suffered.
  Radioman Chief Train Controller

Hello All,

for many members and supporters of PB , the revelations of the endemic cover up by many well respected and long serving office holders over decades within the PBPS , is the most damning indictment on them collectively.

I am a long standing PBPS member and I am now of the view that the PBPS should be liquidated and the proceeds used to compensate the victims.

In my view the most damning aspect is the obsequious letter the PBPS Board gave Whitehead after he resigned from all positions "due to pressure of work" when in actuality it was due to his ongoing predations becoming an embarrassment .

The appalling decision to give him the congratulatory letter instead of expelling him and sending a detailed report to the Police speaks volumes.

The ETRB is now effectively defunct , and the State Government will doubtless establish a new body to run PB , and a Volunteer based "Friends of PB" as a supporting organisation may be a way forward.

In my view any successor body to PBPS should ensure that those adversly named in the Ombudsmen's Report should be "persona non grata".

I feel sorry for all those PBPBS members and volunteers whose reputations are now tarnished by association , their efforts over the years now have a terrible shadow that is not of their doing.

It might also be appropriate that the Ombudsman's office seriously investigate other bodies Whitehead was involved in , and to also take appropriate action in relation to those organisations as well.

Regards, Radioman.
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

Hello All,

for many members and supporters of PB , the revelations of the endemic cover up by many well respected and long serving office holders over decades within the PBPS , is the most damning indictment on them collectively.

I am a long standing PBPS member and I am now of the view that the PBPS should be liquidated and the proceeds used to compensate the victims.

In my view the most damning aspect is the obsequious letter the PBPS Board gave Whitehead after he resigned from all positions "due to pressure of work" when in actuality it was due to his ongoing predations becoming an embarrassment .

The appalling decision to give him the congratulatory letter instead of expelling him and sending a detailed report to the Police speaks volumes.

The ETRB is now effectively defunct , and the State Government will doubtless establish a new body to run PB , and a Volunteer based "Friends of PB" as a supporting organisation may be a way forward.

In my view any successor body to PBPS should ensure that those adversly named in the Ombudsmen's Report should be "persona non grata".

I feel sorry for all those PBPBS members and volunteers whose reputations are now tarnished by association , their efforts over the years now have a terrible shadow that is not of their doing.

It might also be appropriate that the Ombudsman's office seriously investigate other bodies Whitehead was involved in , and to also take appropriate action in relation to those organisations as well.

Regards, Radioman.
Radioman
Well said, too many people are more focused on the rail heritage rather than the human cost.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Hello All,

for many members and supporters of PB , the revelations of the endemic cover up by many well respected and long serving office holders over decades within the PBPS , is the most damning indictment on them collectively.

I am a long standing PBPS member and I am now of the view that the PBPS should be liquidated and the proceeds used to compensate the victims.

In my view the most damning aspect is the obsequious letter the PBPS Board gave Whitehead after he resigned from all positions "due to pressure of work" when in actuality it was due to his ongoing predations becoming an embarrassment .

The appalling decision to give him the congratulatory letter instead of expelling him and sending a detailed report to the Police speaks volumes.

The ETRB is now effectively defunct , and the State Government will doubtless establish a new body to run PB , and a Volunteer based "Friends of PB" as a supporting organisation may be a way forward.

In my view any successor body to PBPS should ensure that those adversly named in the Ombudsmen's Report should be "persona non grata".

I feel sorry for all those PBPBS members and volunteers whose reputations are now tarnished by association , their efforts over the years now have a terrible shadow that is not of their doing.

It might also be appropriate that the Ombudsman's office seriously investigate other bodies Whitehead was involved in , and to also take appropriate action in relation to those organisations as well.

Regards, Radioman.
Well said, too many people are more focused on the rail heritage rather than the human cost.
theanimal
The PB railway, its assets, its heritage, its ongoing operation and its service to the people of Vic should not another victim of what is already a horrible situation.

Do what ever needs to happen to the board or what ever, but the railway need to continue, it cannot be simply "liquidated".
  Boss 2 Station Staff

Hello All,

for many members and supporters of PB , the revelations of the endemic cover up by many well respected and long serving office holders over decades within the PBPS , is the most damning indictment on them collectively.

I am a long standing PBPS member and I am now of the view that the PBPS should be liquidated and the proceeds used to compensate the victims.

In my view the most damning aspect is the obsequious letter the PBPS Board gave Whitehead after he resigned from all positions "due to pressure of work" when in actuality it was due to his ongoing predations becoming an embarrassment .

The appalling decision to give him the congratulatory letter instead of expelling him and sending a detailed report to the Police speaks volumes.

The ETRB is now effectively defunct , and the State Government will doubtless establish a new body to run PB , and a Volunteer based "Friends of PB" as a supporting organisation may be a way forward.

In my view any successor body to PBPS should ensure that those adversly named in the Ombudsmen's Report should be "persona non grata".

I feel sorry for all those PBPBS members and volunteers whose reputations are now tarnished by association , their efforts over the years now have a terrible shadow that is not of their doing.

It might also be appropriate that the Ombudsman's office seriously investigate other bodies Whitehead was involved in , and to also take appropriate action in relation to those organisations as well.

Regards, Radioman.
Well said, too many people are more focused on the rail heritage rather than the human cost.
The PB railway, its assets, its heritage, its ongoing operation and its service to the people of Vic should not another victim of what is already a horrible situation.

Do what ever needs to happen to the board or what ever, but the railway need to continue, it cannot be simply "liquidated".
RTT_Rules
If Victorian Law is similar to that of NSW then it may be that if Members of the two boards and/or CEO knew about Whitehead breaking the law and did not  advise the police then they may be in the same trouble as the ArchBishop of Adelaide.  

See this extract from the Perth Now Sunday Times 22 May 2018.

"ADELAIDE Archbishop Philip Wilson, the most senior Catholic official in the world to be charged with covering up child                     sexual abuse, has been found guilty by a NSW court.Magistrate Robert Stone told Newcastle Local Court on Tuesday Wilson had concealed the abuse of two altar boys in the NSW Hunter region by paedophile priest James Fletcher by failing to report the allegations to police.

Mr Stone said he was satisfied one of the altar boys, Peter Creigh, had been a "truthful and reliable" witness."
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

e PB railway, its assets, its heritage, its ongoing operation and its service to the people of Vic should not another victim of what is already a horrible situation.

Do what ever needs to happen to the board or what ever, but the railway need to continue, it cannot be simply "liquidated".
RTT_Rules
Perhaps a few words of concern for the victims, your focus seems to be more about the organisation, rather than the victims?

Edited to add:

Both the Catholic Church and the Church of England are liquidating assets to pay compensation to their victims. I am sure that if you asked their parishioners, they would not be happy at losing churches and land.

By what stretch of warped logic can the Rail fraternity say that they should be exempted?
  historian Deputy Commissioner

The ETRB is a statutory authority, and the railway per se is owned by the State. (Although I am sure there would be some assets owned by the society.) Neither the ETRB or the preservation society can dispose of the railway.

As a state government agency, the buck stops with the government and they would be liable for the shortcomings of the board. The fact that board members criticised by the Ombudsman were all society members is irrelevant.

The Act gives the society a strong position on the Board. This is, of course, is likely to be one reason why the government moved quickly to dismiss the board and take direct control of the railway.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
e PB railway, its assets, its heritage, its ongoing operation and its service to the people of Vic should not another victim of what is already a horrible situation.

Do what ever needs to happen to the board or what ever, but the railway need to continue, it cannot be simply "liquidated".
Perhaps a few words of concern for the victims, your focus seems to be more about the organisation, rather than the victims?

Edited to add:

Both the Catholic Church and the Church of England are liquidating assets to pay compensation to their victims. I am sure that if you asked their parishioners, they would not be happy at losing churches and land.

By what stretch of warped logic can the Rail fraternity say that they should be exempted?
theanimal
Didn't really want to get into that side of the discussion, I would have thought part would be clear regardless.

Will the community as a whole be better off if PB is dismantled and bits sold off to the highest bidder? PB is not a profit organisation, so cannot be simple sent backrupt and then auctioned off to the highest bidder and continue to operate. Its actual capital value is therefore inherently low as the assets, especially fixed assets have limited reuse value elsewhere. Yes there maybe parts that can be sold that have minimal effect on its operation and in some cases fare enough. Do they even own the land?

The Church's have a longterm history of abuse and coverup and have inherent significant amount of wealth with a contracting congregation. They can sell off land and continue to operate.

There is no warped logic on rail side, PB is not part of a world wide church organisation with significant large non-core parts that can be simply sold, it effectively belongs to the people of Victoria. The assets needs to be removed from the control of the board if the board is indeed found at fault. Perhaps taken over by the govt and a new board/management put in place. Any member of the management/board needs to face the full strength of the law if they protected, participated or simply knew but failed to act All are as evil as each other and I hope they find their just deserts in jail.

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