EPA: Hey, it's not our place to keep sex offenders away from the public

I won’t go through our ongoing coverage of the sordid history of the EPA’s personnel problems here yet again, but there’s been an interesting twist to the story this week. Congress has been looking into the ongoing problems posed by the US Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) and their ability to stop government agencies from terminating the employment of “problem” workers. In a recent meeting of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Chairman Jason Chaffetz asked EPA Deputy Administrator Stanley Meiburg some rather uncomfortable questions about government employees who managed to avoid the ax even though their transgressions had been particularly egregious. The one which really caught the chairman’s attention was a convicted sex offender who actually received a hefty payday courtesy of your tax dollars when the Board ruled that he had been improperly denied his government job. (Government Executive)

The chairman and several committee members highlighted repeated investigations revealing EPA employees watching pornography at work and other sexual misconduct. Chaffetz was especially taken aback when Meiburg told him the Merit Systems Protection Board reversed EPA’s attempted firing of a “convicted child molester.”

“How do you lose that case?” Chaffetz asked, with Meiburg informing him MSPB found the “basis for the removal was not sustained.” The chairman was further angered when Sullivan told him the employee eventually received a $55,000 cash settlement to separate from the agency. The committee chairman vowed to call in MSPB officials to answer how this decision was “in the best interest of America.”

“We’re not protecting American people and the taxpayers, we’re not protecting the employees who have to sit by this freak of a pervert,” Chaffetz said.

Meiburg’s answer seemed to defend the decision of the MSPB and may prove to be one of the low points of government accountability. He went on record telling Chaffetz that, “the EPA does not have the authority to, as a policy, prevent registered sex offenders from interacting with the public.”

I don’t think Caffetz or anyone else was implying that it’s the job of the EPA to monitor sex offenders when they leave the office and follow them around town. But when you know you have a convicted child molesting pedophile in your midst, might it be completely unreasonable to say that they should stop showing up for work? In the mind of the MSPB, obviously so. I mean, you wouldn’t want a little thing like that to stand in the way of somebody receiving their Christmas bonus, would you?

It’s the Theater of the Bizarre at the Environmental Protection Agency, folks. If it weren’t so tragic it would almost be funny. And just as a reminder… you’re paying for all of this.