In today's Washington Post, columnist Joe Davidson says, "If the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Civil Rights were a chunk of ground, it would be declared a disaster area." Mr. Davidson recounts the findings made by Deloitte Consulting in a report released last month. He also noted the call made by the National Whistleblowers Center to oust OCR's director, Rafael DeLeon. EPA spokesperson Adora Andy told Mr. Davidson that EPA would look into our allegations about Mr. DeLeon's off-color remarks. EPA said the same thing to POLITICO on Monday. How long does it take to ask Mr. DeLeon if he called Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo and Ms. Susan Morris "pink elephants?" How long does it take to ask him if he chided Dr. Coleman-Adebayo for being a "Rosa Parks of the EPA" or if he referred to a lapdance at a staff party? Or, is EPA unsure if a director of the "Office of Civil Rights" should do any of these things? Joe Davidson's article could give these questions the prominence we need to get some answers soon. Thank you, Mr. Davidson.
Our call to Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to oust her newly appointed director of the EPA's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is gaining new media attention.
Marsha Coleman Adebayo has protested racism within the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Civil Rights -- can you believe it? -- and finally the agency says it's investigating. Have you ever tried to draw attention to a big, bad situation in your workplace? Whistleblowers--how they impact your life and what they risk in coming forward. My guest this morning on Kboo 90.7 FM is Richard Renner, legal director of the National Whistleblowers Center. That's Wednesday morning at 8 am on kboo.fm, Portland.
This episode is now available as an mp3 file through KBOO's podcast. The talk show format gave me an opportunity to talk about many of NWC's activities, and our new book, The Whistleblower's Handbook. Notice in the final quarter of the call-in show how I confused Bradley Manning with Bradley Birkenfeld.
Hopefully, this growing public attention to an OCR director who does the opposite of civil rights will prompt EPA leadership to respond positively to our call, and soon.
POLITICO reporter Robin Bravender released a story on Friday saying that EPA spokesperson Brendan Gilfillan promised that EPA would "look into" the allegations of the open letter the National Whistleblowers Center released last week. Gilfillan told Bravender that Jackson is “deeply committed to issues of environmental justice, civil rights and a healthy workplace for all.” NWC's open letter alleges that Rafael DeLeon, director of EPA's Office of Civil Rights, made a series of offensive remarks. These remarks called Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo and Susan Morris "pink elephants." Bravender reports that this term "was popularized by Sarah Palin, who used it to refer to a stampede of women outraged about policies in Washington." NWC also alleges that DeLeon said Dr. Coleman-Adebayo held herself out like the "Rosa Parks of EPA," and that he referred to a lapdance at an office party.
Dr. Coleman-Adebayo is an environmental whistleblower who raised concerns about the dangers of vanadium mining in South Africa. When her concerns focused on the role of U.S. companies in apartheid South Africa she became the victim of a hostile work environment. Ms. Morris raised concerns about EPA’s compliance with the Civil Rights Act and then suffered a removal from her supervisory position.
Bravender interviewed Dr. Coleman-Adebayo about her experience working for DeLeon. Dr. Coleman-Adebayo reported that her transfer to DeLeon's office was essential a set up to be discharged. Dr. Coleman-Adebayo is writing a book about her experiences at the EPA. Called, “No Fear: A Whistleblower's Triumph Over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA,” it is due in September.
Bravender reports that when Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), released the Deloitte Consulting report which finds problems with OCR, she praised DeLeon for his "energy and experience." Jackson appointed DeLeon to direct OCR last December.Continue Reading...
Today I am writing to Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and asking her to remove Mr. Rafael DeLeon, the Director of the EPA's Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Last month, Deloitte Consulting issued a report on OCR finding that it is essentially dysfunctional. It fails in its core responsibility of protecting civil rights. Moreover, since Deloitte issued its report I have learned that OCR's director, Mr. DeLeon, recently made disparaging remarks about two courageous women whistleblowers "pink elephants." One of these women is, Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, a board member of the National Whistleblowers Center and founder of the No-FEAR Coalition. Mr. DeLeon singled her out for purporting to be "the Rosa Parks of the EPA" in an EPA conference call last week. It was not enough that Mr. DeLeon fired Dr. Coleman-Adebayo from the EPA. Finally, we received a report of Mr. DeLeon referring to a "lap dance" at a party with EPA employees. This behavior is incompatible with EPA's civil rights obligations. Accordingly, I have issued an open letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson calling on her to remove Mr. DeLeon. In the continuation of this blog, you can read NWC's press release, and the full text of my open letter.Continue Reading...