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In a leaked email shared with the Otago Daily Times last week, Doc Southern South Island operations director Aaron Fleming announced the recent resignation of Central Otago operations manager Mike Tubbs.
In the email, Mr Fleming shared a message from Mr Tubbs, which included the following:
"It is with sadness I advise you that the department has accepted my resignation after 30 years of service.
"As staff of [Doc], responsibility sits with each of us to uphold its values at all times.
"I did not do this and so compromised my ability to represent both you and the department. I sincerely regret this."
Mr Fleming said he would prioritise supporting the Central Otago district through a leadership transition.
"I acknowledge that this news may have come as a surprise and has happened quickly."
The source of the email, a Doc employee who did not wish to be named, said he believed Mr Tubbs’ behaviour had affected staff morale and led to a high turnover in recent years.
The source also voiced further concerns regarding Doc’s handling of the resignation.
"All we’ve heard is he didn’t uphold values. What does that mean? And then we were told in the email to say nothing about the resignation, other than the fact it had occurred."
Doc responded to questions posed by the ODT with a statement from deputy director-general Mike Slater.
"As this is an employment matter, in the interests of natural justice we cannot provide comment other than to reinforce that the Department of Conservation has robust processes in place for our employees and our staff are very clear about what is expected of them professionally."
A PSA spokesman also declined to comment on the situation, citing confidentiality.
Mr Tubbs thanked the Otago Daily Times for the opportunity to respond but said he had no comment to make.