- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
- CIA admits $3 billion intelligence operation was a flop
Ex-official: D.C. labor union bias at root of prejudice claims
The D.C. board that adjudicates public employee disputes has been accused of discriminating against whites and conservatives, but city officials also have questioned whether claims of prejudice are rooted in a labor union bias on the part of the board’s members, according to the board’s former executive director.
Documents obtained by The Washington Times also show that the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) offered Ondray T. Harris $30,000 to refrain from airing such views in his resignation letter, first obtained by The Times, which has sparked conservative outrage.
And while the board’s general counsel, Keturah D. Harley, says Mr. Harris failed to formally notify the board of his concerns when they arose, documents and Mr. Harris‘ accounts of key conversations suggest city labor officials and legislators alike have been questioning PERB’s collective judgment for some time.
In response to Mr. Harris‘ allegations, a spokesman for Mayor Vincent C. Gray said, “An investigation [by an independent body] is underway and we look forward to receiving results and taking any appropriate action.”
Mr. Harris resigned May 24 after being asked by the board to explain why he resides in Virginia and not the District, as D.C. law requires. In his resignation letter, Mr. Harris said his residency was known to the board and he was resigning because board members Ann Hoffman and Don Wasserman “rebuked” him for hiring an attorney who had worked for conservative organizations and that he was urged not to hire more white males.
In a statement last week, Ms. Harley wrote that Mr. Harris‘ residency status only came on PERB’s radar as of April 30, and that prior to his resignation, he had failed to file a formal complaint or officially notify the board of his discrimination concerns, which arose during a Nov. 8 executive session of the board.
After the Nov. 8 meeting, Mr. Harris asked Ms. Harley for a legal memo regarding the alleged statements by Ms. Hoffman and Mr. Wasserman. The memo, delivered on Dec. 19, states the alleged statements violate both the law and the U.S. Constitution; according to Mr. Harris, the request for such a memo triggered a duty on Ms. Harley’s part to inform PERB of the matter.
In an April conference call with Ms. Harley, Office of Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining Director Natasha Campbell asked Mr. Harris for a review of the board members, prompting him to voice concerns of discrimination and a union bias on the part of the board.
The board, which resolves labor-management disputes between D.C. agencies and unionized city employees, consists of one labor seat, one management seat, two members of the public and the chairperson, who votes in the event of a tie.
Kristopher Baumann, chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police, said PERB is not biased, but rather, the city defends bad behavior, poor decisions, and incompetence.
As for Mr. Harris‘ residency, notes from a May 30, 2012, board meeting show he advised the members that a claimant was challenging his fitness to rule on a matter because of his Virginia residency, among other factors.
In response to PERB’s proposed boilerplate settlement language, Mr. Harris asked that three subordinates be protected from adverse action, board members be compelled to attend discrimination training classes, and that he receive a year’s severance.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Jeffrey Anderson is an investigative reporter for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- Tech companies call for an end to NSA online snooping
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- Mike Shanahan says he'd like to return; RG3 might be benched
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
Let’s talk about everything, especially the absurdity of it all
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Never apologetic. Never afraid. Lieutenant Colonel Allen B. West joins Communities to bring tales from the biggest Foxhole of them all, the one inside the Beltway.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow