It happened again. This time, it’s a convicted child molester who’s been earning a salary for years, despite the fact that officials at the EPA knew about his unforgiveable crime. To finally get him to retire, the agency paid him an additional $55,000 to retire.
This case—one of more than 90 pending EPA employee misconduct cases—was detailed in the EPA inspector general’s report and discussed Wednesday at the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. EPA officials tried to fire the molester, but the Merit Systems Protection Board stepped in and overturned the decision.
Committee Chair, Jason Chaffetz, (R-UT), said, “It's just pretty stunning. How do...we need to change the Merit Systems Protection Board, because we're not protecting the American taxpayer and we're not protecting the employees who have to sit next to this freak of a pervert."
It's been clear for years that it’s almost impossible to fire a federal employee, no matter how egregious the behavior or the performance. Once you’re in, you’re in for life.
The EPA has been accused of having systemic personnel problems. In one case, Allan Williams, deputy assistant inspector general for investigations, said that an EPA manager allowed an employee to stay home and not report to work for 20 years. The auditor said it started as an accommodation to work at home due to a medical condition, but then apparently escalated into full-blown fraud. The doctored records showing the worker was on the job cost taxpayers a cool $500,000. (The Department of Justice declined to prosecute.)
Then there was the employee who confessed to spending two to six hours a day viewing pornography while working. He, too, was paid during his tenure at the EPA.
One of the more bizarre stories belongs to John Beale, who swindled the EPA out of nearly $900,000. Beale was a highly paid senior policy adviser in the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation who claimed he was doing “intelligence work for the CIA in Pakistan.”
He would be gone for months on his missions when in fact, he was in at his vacation home in Cape Cod. His $200,000 a year salary allowed him to defraud the government out of more than $900,000. You’d think his boss would look into an 18 month lapse and question why her agency was paying his salary when the CIA should have picked up the tab. But no questions were asked.
Beale was convicted of fraud on December 18, 2013, and sentenced to 32 months in prison, two years of supervised release, and 100 hours of community service for each of those two years. He also paid back $886,186 and was fined an additional $507,207.