The CBC is reporting that staff of Governor General Julie Payette are revolting against what has been termed as extreme bullying, temper tantrums and demeaning comments. One staff member said her job “has gone from being one of the most collegial and enjoyable work environments for many of the staff to being a house of horrors,” It’s bullying and harassment at its worst.”
Part of the trouble seems to centre around the person Payette chose to act as her secretary, long-time friend, Assunta Di Lorenzo, A former lawyer and executive in Montreal, Di Lorenzo is supposed to keep Payette’s office running smoothly and effectively. Multiple sources said Di Lorenzo is struggling more than two years into the job — which is typically filled by a seasoned public servant — and still doesn’t understand how the public service works.
But staff also reported that Payette herself is prone to temper tantrums, dressing down employees in front of each other to the point where some broke down and several have quit. Employees have been accused of being lazy and stupid.
Di Lorenzo has sent a memo to Rideau Hall employees promising to improve the working environment following reports of a toxic climate within the Governor General’s office.
“I want you to know that I, along with the Governor General and the entire management team, am deeply committed to fostering a healthy work environment,” says the memo, obtained by CBC News. “Please rest assured that the well-being of our employees remains our priority.”
Payette was appointed to the Vice-regal post in 2017 and by 2018 there were already reports of dissent in the office. Her term has two more years to run. When Governors-General retire they get a fully indexed pension, and get to continue to charge various travel and office expenses to the government apparently for life.. That came to light when it was discovered that former GG Adrienne Clarkson claimed $100,000 in expenses in 2017– a full 12 years after she left office.