PSC responds to Chiefs' call for Dr Leodoro's reinstatement

Dr Leodoro fail to comply with lawful instruction. This is the letter from DG Taleo instruction him to apply for leave without pay, which he did not. PSC says his behavior is unacceptable

The calls by chiefs, politicians and other people to influence the Public Service Commission (PSC) over Dr. Basil Leodoro reinstatement will not advance his case.

PSC Chairman, Martin Mahe, made the response to the request from Maewo chiefs for the PSC to reinstate the suspended medical professional at the Northern District Hospital.

The PSC chairman says Dr. Leodoro's suspension was not politically motivated and the doctor was instructed to respond to allegations against him that came in writing, but he did not.

He said PSC regulates independently and will not be influence by others in such matters.

"There are procedures to follow when dealing disciplinary matters, the PSC Chairman stated. 

"It’s up to the doctor to make up his mind to give in his Employment Disciplinary Report (ETR) for PSC Board to deliberate on and consider reinstating him.

"Dr. Leodoro is one of the most senior doctor in the health workforce who should be leading by example-his attitude should shine through to junior employees.

"He was suspended for not complying with the PSC Staff Manual and PSC Act.

"Suspending him sends a clear message to all government employees that matters are taken seriously therefore, any actions they are intending to do must not be against national interest".

Mr. Mahe said Dr Leodoro failed to comply with lawful instructions.

"He travelled to South Korea last year with the Under 20 World Cup football team without authorisation, knowing very well that his supervisor has advised him to apply for leave without pay," he said. 

This behavior is unacceptable."

The PSC Act states that: "An employee commits a disciplinary offence if he/she absents himself/herself from office or from official duties during hours of work without leave or valid excuse...

"All employees must comply with reasonable direction given by a director general, director or the commission".

Another reason for Leodoro's suspension is that he publicly commented on social media about government funds spend on the Ambae disaster.

Asked if suspending Mr Leodoro infringed his right to freedom of expression and opinion, Chairman Mahe replied that it is wrong for Dr Leodoro to disseminate information gained while in service, confusing the public.

According to Mahe, the PSC states clearly that: "Every employee must maintain confidentiality about dealings that the employee has with any minister or members of staff of a ministry" and

"Not make improper use of information or his or her duty, status, power or authority in order to gain or seek to gain a benefit or advantage for himself or herself or for any other person".

Regarding the request to solve this issue through the PSC and Labor Union process, Mahe said PSC has nothing to do with the union.

"He (the doctor) should be clear that he is employed by PSC, not the union," he added.

Dr. Leodoro responded to the accusations on the South Korea travel last year, saying the Vanuatu Football Federation wrote to the Ministry of Health requesting that Dr. Leodoro and Physio Therapist, Albert Kaiapam to be part of the medical team accompanying the Vanuatu Under 20 World Cup team to South Korea.

According to Leodoro, VFF requested that the two medical personnel follow the team to New Zealand, Singapore and then South Korea which would take approximately three months.

The Director General to the Ministry of Health rejected VFF's request and suggested that Dr. Leodoro and Mr. Kaiapam apply for leave without pay, if they wished to assist the soccer team. 

Subsequently, Dr. Leodoro sought permission from his superior at the Northern Provincial Hospital, applied for 21 days annual leave and left for Korea.

He did not spend three months with the team but only 21 days' and went to the extent of organizing for a doctor to be his substitute during his absence.

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