The Daily Caller has obtained an internal “report of violence in the workplace” notifying top officials at the Environmental Protection Agency about the abusive behavior of a political appointee close to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
The report and call for an independent investigation and action highlights the behavior of Stephanie Owens, an EPA deputy associate administrator in the Office of the Administrator’s Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education. It details a March 14 incident in which Owens, a political appointee, verbally attacked a bargaining unit employee to the point that the union member was afraid to return to her office — for the second time in two weeks.
The memo is dated March 15 and was penned by Steve Shapiro, the executive vice-president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 3331 — the largest bargaining unit at EPA. It goes on to explain that this is just one of many incidents involving Owens that have created a “climate of fear” in the department.
The document calls on the EPA to launch an “immediate, independent, credible, outside investigation” into the incident and the “climate of fear” staff has been reporting to their union. AFGE further notes that the moment the incident is corroborated, Owens should be immediately removed from the OEAEE premises — if not the entire EPA campus — until an investigation is completed.
According to a former EPA official who served under the Bush administration and is familiar with the situation, the incident has been par for the course under Lisa Jackson.
“That’s the way this administration, this management team, has been running things over at the agency,” the former official told TheDC. “Lisa Jackson has a coterie of people around her who are very arrogant, and think they know how the place should be run and do not include very many other folks in the process, and just seem to kind of run roughshod over everybody. And so when folks heard this, yeah that’s just in keeping with how Lisa Jackson has been running EPA since she came on board.”
While the document describes the inner wranglings at EPA, Bonner Cohen, senior fellow at the conservative National Center for Public Policy Research, noted that the administration’s aggressive tactics have extended past their union staff and into the agency’s work.