order non hybrid seeds LandRightsNFarming: USDA Civil Rights in 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

USDA Civil Rights in 2013

 February 19, 2013

USDA Civil Rights in 2013
There are serious problems with the leadership of USDA Office of Civil Rights under the leadership of Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack & Dr. Joe Leonard. 
Quid Pro Quo Contracting
The USDA Office of Civil Rights (OCR) uses millions of American tax payer dollars to fund a quid pro quo scheme with multiple contractors.  Their friends run the Procurement Division and are pushing through multi-million dollar contracts for friends. It is being said that these friends include Innovative Management Strategists, Management Solutions Consulting Group, Inc., US Postal Service, and other contracts.  They fund these groups to ensure that the reports of investigation and the final agency decisions are developed in a way that no discrimination will be reported. They pay off friends outside USDA in exchange for their support.  It is being said that there are illegal contracts being awarded.
Unreported Backlog of Complaints 
The backlog of EEO complaints is not counted in the numbers and reports issued by Dr. Leonard.  Findings of discrimination are not processed and some investigations have stalled for 1000 days or more.   Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) complaints where the statute of limitations (SOL) for compensatory damage claims have expired; have remained unprocessed during the Vilsack/Leonard administration.  There are a number of cases over 180 days just sitting, because these cases are not being counted in totals --- violation of the civil rights laws, rules and regulations. There are only a few program FADs that have been written under this Administration, because hardly any program investigations have been conducted.
The Chief of the Employment Complaints Division is safe under Joe Leonard because she has consistently maintained a secret and separate database in iComplaints; of all of the Joe Leonard and other ASCR management complaints.  The complaints in this "secret database" are not counted in the 462 Report, the Farm Bill Report, or any other reports. In addition, these complaints remain unprocessed.
The Lean Six Sigma Project reports show the way data is manipulated to hide the truth about processing times and to reinforce the false claims regarding reducing processing time.  USDA OCR wasted tax dollars to pay contractors for the lean Six Sigma Project which lasted three years. Where is the final report?
USDA Civil Rights performance standards state that in order to successfully maintain a position in the office of civil rights you are not supposed to have more than two valid complaints filed against you.  Because these complaints are hidden in the system by the Chief of the Employment Complaints Division, they are not counted and the perpetrators of a variety of civil rights violations are not held accountable. 
African American Farmer's Land Loss
Under this Administration the number of African American Farmers that lost their land to foreclosure has increased.  USDA is calling in loans too soon, causing farmers to lose their land and go out of business, like Black farmer Harry Young, Kentucky.
GS-15 and SES Black females and males maligned, harassed, displaced and marginalized by political appointees
The USDA OCR has seriously abused the competent, educated Black women under its supervision.  They smear, lash out, humiliate, and constantly move the women who will not lie to help them.  As soon as they file complaints to seek relief, they are maligned and moved out of their positions in retaliation.  Careers are ruined and families are destroyed because of the terror and tyranny suffered.  Resolution is not an option under Dr. Leonard's abusive leadership. If you want to be treated well, you must be willing (to go along to get along) by helping the ASCR misrepresent the true numbers (of complaints), the processing times, and engage in other prohibited personnel and EEO practices.
Sent: 12/11/2012 2:48:53 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
Subj: Dysfunctional Civil Rights Under Tom Vilsack & Dr. Joe Leonard's Leasdership

Respectfully submitted is background information regarding the dysfunctional civil rights process at the US Department of Agriculture under the leadership of Tom Vilsack and Dr. Joe Leonard. What must be remembered is that it was Secretary Vilsack that fired Shirley Sherrod.
Lawrence Lucas, President
USDA Coalition of Minority Employees
856/ 910-2399
Subject: Dysfunctional Civil Rights Under Tom Vilsack & Dr. Joe Leonard's Leasdership

The time has come for those outside of USDA to learn what those inside of USDA already know. Joe Leonard was sent to the Office of Civil Rights (USDA) to clean up the civil rights mess, and the problems still exists. He has failed to meet this challenge. The chaos that has been the cornerstone of USDA Civil Rights still exists, and he as the leader. along with Secretary Tom Vilsack, has only made it worst.
To be successful in the civil rights arena, one has to have a background in civil rights. Joe Leonard's background is as a History major at Howard University. Receiving a passing mark in history requires merely memorizing facts, data and other information and regurgitating what you have memorized onto a test. He has no other concrete civil rights background except for working with Jesse Jackson in Push and the Rainbow Coalition. That is not enough. The job of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights requires the ability to analyze facts, the issues and the laws and make solid determinations – on a daily basis. He has relied on his favored staff to advise him, often times incorrectly and his decisions have sometimes been colored based on his personal preferences. The position of Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights also requires the ability to get along with others, reach across party lines and to be a bridge for warring factions. Instead, Joe Leonard has been unable to broker deals and move civil rights along because he is rude, arrogant and argumentative and has made fierce enemies unnecessarily.
Falsifying Government Reports to Congress, Office of Inspector General, the Government Accountability Office and the Secretary
Joe Leonard from the beginning of his tenure has engaged in deception by falsifying federal government reports to show a reduction of the number of complaints filed during his tenure, and to show faster processing time of the complaints than actually exists. He has accomplished this by on the program side, enlisting the aid of those managers who were willing to lie about the numbers. The numbers have been greatly exaggerated on the program side from the very beginning of his tenure. There was never the amount of program complaints in the tracking system as he has reported.
On the employment side, Joe Leonard has very loyal contractors whose job it is to enter complaints into the employment tracking system, and they have not. Especially the complaints where Joe Leonard is named as the responding management official. Joe Leonard has also allegedly convinced his two employment managers (Vi Hall and Kirk Perry) to report down the number of complaints on the employment side.

Mishandling of the Budget
Joe Leonard hired a contractor named Rob Desaultels to conduct a Lean Six Sigma review of program and employment complaints. Mr. Desaultels was supposed to be at Civil Rights no longer than six months. Mr. Desaultels has been at the OASCR for almost three years now, with no visible results. The contract cost is currently in excess of $300,000, and is still continuing, which only further drains resources and money away from the areas of civil rights where it is sorely needed.
Civil Rights Complaints Resolution
Joe Leonard refuses to enforce the civil rights laws pertaining to sexual harassment, and by continuously turning a blind eye to the sexually charged environment that exists in USDA, he has kept this sexually charged atmosphere alive. He was tasked with resolving the cases of the numerous female Forest Service employees after the White House ordered an investigation. Joe Leonard sent a group of employees with no investigative experience to investigate: Jeff Knishkowy, (former advisor to Joe Leonard), David King, (Special Advisor to Joe Leonard), and Geraldine Herring (Chief, Compliance Division) among others. No investigative report or compliance review report was ever prepared for this "investigation". These long standing Forest Service cases have not been resolved and this has resulted in the complainants filing a law suit in Federal Court against Tom Vilsack (who is equally as inept as Joe Leonard) and President Obama. Just as surprisingly, in addition, for whatever reason, Joe Leonard has also refused to resolve several program and employment complaints where there is obvious, clear cut, smoking gun sexual discrimination.
Treatment of Civil Rights Staff
Joe Leonard has surrounded himself with "YES" men and women, who will only tell him what he wants to hear and not the facts. The staff learned early on that trying to educate or reason with Joe Leonard would get you sidelined – which is where the true civil rights professionals in the OASCR are. The management team that are flourishing under Joe Leonard are marginal employees (GS-15s) who have historically been failures at their jobs in civil rights. His job was to move them out, and instead they have soared under Joe Leonard's leadership. This management team will do and say anything to curry his favor and operates under a quid pro quo system. Joe Leonard "manages" a $20 million budget and spends an inordinate amount of time steering USDA Office of Civil Rights contracts to his family and friends.
Severe Character Flaws
Joe Leonard has terrible character flaws. He is arrogant, rude, argumentative and sexist. Joe Leonard has no problem yelling at the top of his lungs at his staff and employees, complainants, and farmers. There is no one in the office that does not fear his wrath. He will not listen to reason and employees avoid him since it is impossible to have a calm conversation with him. During his last All Employees meeting, July 31, 2012, Joe Leonard instructed everybody to, "Move up to the front of the auditorium!" When employees did not move up fast enough, he said, "Why do we have to go through this every time we come here?I am beginning to believe what people are saying about you all is true – that you are stupid! How many times do I have to tell you to move up to the front of the auditorium?" In another staff meeting, Joe Leonard announced that he had determined that all employees over 60 needed to be moved out to other parts of the USDA because he had no more use for them.