August 8, 2011
For Immediate Release
The National Whistleblower Center sent you a letter on April 20, 2011 requesting that you respond to allegations that your new Director of the Office of Civil Rights, Mr. Rafael Deleon, contemptuously disparaged me in a national teleconference by referring to me as a “Pink Elephant” and stating that I considered myself the “EPA Rosa Parks.” Further, Mr. DeLeon also denigrated Susan Morris, a senior civil rights employee by referring to her also as a “Pink Elephant,” and bragging that neither she nor I were at EPA any longer – a bow to his dark humor since he was responsible for my termination and participated in the termination of her 30-year outstanding Federal government career. The Washington Post, Politco, Greenwire, Philadelphia Tribune and several national newspapers reported that the Agency would neither confirm nor deny these reports.
Ms. Jackson, the public has a right to know whether Mr. DeLeon made these sexist and racist comments and more importantly whether you condone his behavior. From my 18-year experience at the Agency, the name calling is symptomatic of a culture of intolerance and retaliation. It has also been brought to our attention that Mr. DeLeon is alleged to have made another inappropriate sexist remark to a woman in a meeting about sitting on her and being accused of “lap dancing.” Administrator Jackson, if these accusations are true, why is Mr. DeLeon still representing you and the Obama Administration and why is he the Agency’s Director of Civil Rights?
If Mr. DeLeon’s reported comments were made, these remarks are consistent with the failing grade cited by the April 20, 2011 Deloitte Report on the state of EPA’s Office of Civil Rights. It is apparent to most women that his remarks show utter contempt for women. Perhaps, more importantly, his remarks reflect an arrogance borne from undeserved power disconnected from public accountability. Mr. DeLeon’s serious problems with women at the Agency have resulted in numerous complaints of discrimination, both while serving as an Acting Director of Civil Rights and Director of Human Resources. You ignored this and appointed him anyway.
The agency has an unenviable track record of rewarding discriminating officials and crushing employees who blow the whistle on corruption. Not surprisingly, Mr. DeLeon’s record since assuming the directorship is egregious and EPA will be headed to District Court again in an effort to defend and justify his putrid behavior against women. Four women are currently either in or headed for court with Mr. DeLeon named as a discriminating official. American taxpayers should be outraged with your decision to appoint Mr. DeLeon who has triggered numerous legal complaints that will ultimately cost taxpayers millions of dollars in compensation at a time when citizens are being asked to tighten their belts.
Ms. Jackson, our community cannot substitute black oppressors for white oppressors or women oppressors for male oppressors. Your silence on this matter is being construed as collaboration with elements within the Agency that have historically abused their power. You are endorsing and shielding the worst rogue elements within the agency, the gatekeepers who have fostered a culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation at EPA. This culture has characterized every administration since the time I joined EPA in 1990.
I would urge you to seize this opportunity, this moment, to distinguish yourself as the antidote to that long, unfortunate string of disembodied administrators whose first priority was creating a public relations window dressing over genuine concerns for the public, employee integrity and environmental protection.
I would encourage you to start by releasing the outcome of your investigation. If your investigation reveals that Mr. DeLeon did, in fact, abuse American citizens/women, he does not deserve to hold the position in the Office of Civil Rights. If you have not had the opportunity to consider the seriousness of this situation, we ask that you review the Website http://www.eparafaelmustgo.com/ .
Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, PhD
Cc: President Barrack Obama
Senator Harry Reid
Senator Mitch McConnell
Congressman John Boehner
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi
Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
Ms. Amy Dewey, Office of Public Affairs