THE COALITION FOR CHANGE (C4C) FIGHTS FOR CHANGE FOR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES: LAUNCHES “UNLEASH NO FEAR” CAMPAIGN

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Article by Dennis Moore

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle.”   --Frederick Douglass

March 6, 2013 (San Diego)--Thousands of federal employees in the San Diego area are soon to be impacted by sequestration, automatic budget cuts mandated by the federal government.  These cuts may have a larger impact on San Diego County than anywhere else in the U.S., since our region is home to wide-ranging naval operations, a bustling border and vibrant biotech and drone sectors. About $37 billion flows into the County each year, including billions of dollars for defense contracts and millions more for research efforts.

The Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C) is a Washington, DC based organization that promotes equality as well as exposes retaliation and racism in the federal government. “Civil servants (i.e., agents, air marshals, food inspectors, investigators, corrections officers, firefighters) function as America’s first line of defense against domestic threats. Therefore, we must protect our federal workforce against managerial abuse and reprisal in order to better protect our citizens.” That is what Tanya Ward Jordan, the founder of C4C, believes and espouses in her daily activities and advocacy on behalf of this organization. Now C4C is ramping up to strengthen its fight for federal workers.

Jordan, a native Washingtonian, began a career in civil service with the U.S. Department of Treasury in 1978. After serving with Treasury, she later worked for the U.S. Department of Interior, the Government Accountability office and the U.S. Department of Commerce. Her encounters and observations of inequity within these federal agencies, especially the Commerce Department, led to her activism, prompted her volunteerism, and fueled her desire to help others subjected to unfair treatment and retaliation in the workplace.

In 2009, an employment complaint Jordan filed was settled after a decade of administrative proceedings and litigation. Consequently, Ms. Jordan decided to give the immense pain she endured from several years of workplace injustice – “a purpose.”  She formed The Coalition For Change, Inc., (C4C). The volunteer civil rights advocacy group serves primarily as a “support network” for federal workers who face race discrimination and reprisal. However, a key objective of the group is to expose ill-treatment within the federal sector that impacts government’s ability to efficiently render services to the American public and that also jeopardizes the livelihood of U.S. citizens.

See the No Fear video here: http://youtu.be/Cq4A6i09uhw

A key aspect of The Coalition For Change is the identifying and exposing Responsible Management Officials, or “RMO” within the government. Within its website, www.coalition4change.org, the organization profiles and exposes these RMO’s that have made life miserable for honest and hard working government employees. Two of the most prominent RMO’s on this list are Craig Littlejohn, the white Chief Information Officer (CIO) in the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Solicitor’s Office, and Anne M. Wagner, the white Vice-Chairman of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), among many others.

Richard W. Furcolo, the administrative judge in the racial discrimination case against Littlejohn, the  (CIO) in the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Solicitor’s Office, said that Littlejohn called black staffers “monkeys” and improperly interfered with the selection process for a job sought by Adam Pierre, a black man. The judge said Pierre was significantly better qualified than the person given the job.

Furcolo ordered the Department of Interior to retroactively place Pierre in the position of Supervisory IT Specialist and pay him $100,000.00 in damages, plus legal fees. The Judge said Littlejohn’s admitted monkey comment “was intentional, deliberate and simply deplorable.” According to Furcolo, “Littlejohn’s discriminatory animus toward the African-American employees he supervised is palpable. He is on record as commenting that, in his opinion, they – as a group – were not skillful and incompetent.”

Incredulously, the Department of Interior appealed the judge’s order and has refused to implement it. Moreover, sources report that Littlejohn has not been disciplined for the alleged racist behavior. C4C did a FOIA request and learned that Littlejohn received a pay increase roughly two weeks after being found guilty by the EEOC. Clearly, there is a need for C4C. If a government worker or department can flaunt the rule of law and the courts, our country will be in chaos. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan said it best in her written Opinion recently in Kloeckner v. Solis, Secretary of Labor, No. 11-184, when she referred to and characterized the “Alternate Universe” of the Government.

Anne M. Wagner, Vice-Chairman of the MSPB was put on the Coalition For Change (C4C) Responsible Management Official’s (RMO) list after she allegedly kept from the Senate Committee that was considering her confirmation to the MSPB the fact that she was at the time involved in a federal lawsuit of racial and employment discrimination, in which she was the named discriminator. It makes one wonder if President Obama had known that about her at the time would he have nominated her for this crucial and important government agency? When C4C found out about this, the watchdog group questioned the Department of Justice and other entities, as well as legislators.  Wagner is still with the MSPB some three years later, making life-changing opinions and decisions on current and former federal employees' lives. Again, this is the “Alternate Universe” to which Justice Ellen Kagan referred. 

One of those legislators contacted by C4C in regard to exposing and eradicating racism in the federal government was the Honorable Darrell Issa, Chairperson of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Issa, who is based in Vista, California and represents much of the San Diego region, was sent a letter in April of 2011 by the President of C4C, complaining of the disparate treatment of African-Americans in the federal government who were engaging in so-called “protected activity.”

Specifically, the letter contrasted how a white managing director in the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Greg Kutz, was favorably treated for something that blacks would have been fired for. (See link to C4C letter to Issa). Incidentally, the GAO is the office that the aforementioned Anne M. Wagner of the MSPB worked when she was alleged to have discriminated against a black female attorney.

The Coalition For Change, C4C formally introduces its Unleash NO FEAR campaign this week. The campaign serves to educate the public that despite the passage of the Notification and Anti-discrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No FEAR Act), reprisal in the federal workplace continues to negatively impact government’s ability to render its programs and services effective. This certainly would have been effective in the aforementioned Craig Littlejohn case.

The campaign also seeks “mandatory discipline” for managers who are guilty of discrimination and retaliation. (A social media group has been formed to distribute information regarding this initiative to the public).  There is presently no “mandatory discipline” provision in the No FEAR Act, and after recognizing that glitch a.k.a (loophole), Ms. Jordan along with Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo and others, approached Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee to introduce NO FEAR ACT 2008/2009, but unfortunately the “mandatory discipline” aspect was voted down. Back to the drawing board!

In further regard to the No FEAR Act, it should be mentioned that Ms. Jordan, along with Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, was very instrumental in the passing of the Act. As a matter of fact, I was honored to have written the review of Dr. Adebayo’s book; No FEAR: A Whistleblower’s Triumph Over Corruption And Retaliation At The EPA. Ms. Jordan actually received a No FEAR Award from Congressman Sensenbrunner and Dr. Adebayo for her efforts on behalf of other federal employees.

In a recent communication with this humble servant, I referred to Ms. Jordan as the “Rosa Parks” of the federal government, and she responded; “I guess I always saw myself more like --- Harriet Tubman – that is I view myself as an African-American humanitarian who has been subjected to oppression, challenged it, and subsequently made it my mission to ‘rescue’ others by offering a vehicle to transmit useful information and to offer spiritual support via the ‘virtual’ network, a.k.a. INTERNET  RAILROAD.” That is essentially how C4C came about, additionally through her trials and challenges with the U.S. Department of Commerce.

These are challenging times for our country, particularly as it regards an upcoming issue regarding our federal government; Sequestration. You can bet that the Coalition of Change, C4C, will be in the forefront of this issue, fighting for federal employees.

In a historic time and setting, Tanya Ward Jordan appears in this photo at the Supreme Court alongside Anthony Perry, in Perry's potentially groundbreaking case of Anthony W. Perry vs. Merit Systems Protection Board (No. 16 - 399) on April 17, 2017. This case before the Supreme Court has far reaching implications for many past and present federal goverment employees. Ironically, it was the heard before Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch on his first day after his contentious nomination process. What is most interesting and encouraging is what Chief Justice Roberts says or indications at the end of the Supreme Court transcript here.

Also pictured here are photos of the attorneys representing Anthony (Tony) Perry. From the way I read the aforementioned transcript I see the Supreme Court remanding this case back to a lower court for further instructions as to how they should rule. Tony should be thanked for his courage and perserverance.

Dennis Moore is a writer and book reviewer with the East County Magazine in San Diego and the book review editor for SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine, as well as a freelance contributor to EURweb based out of Los Angeles. He is also the author of a book about Chicago politics: “The City That Works: Power, Politics and Corruption in Chicago.” Mr. Moore can be contacted at contractsagency@gmail.com or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8. 


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Comments

Congressman Darryl Issa

As the Coalition for Change (C4C) has reached out to Congressman Darryl Issa on this matter, it would be interesting to know where he stands.

Anne Wagner: Vice-Chairman of MSPB named in Discrimination

Anne Wagner: Vice-Chairman of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board Named in Discrimination Suit. Before President Obama named Anne M. Wagner as Vice-Chairman of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) in July 2009, and before the Senate confirmed her in November 2009, Ms. Wagner was identified as a "responsible management official" in an employment discrimination complaint. Prior to coming to the MSPB, Wagner served as General Counsel of the U.S. Government Accountability Office's Personnel Appeals Board. Today, Wagner is both MSPB's Vice-Chairman and a principal character in a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The case, Williams v. Dodaro (Civil Action No. 1:07-CV-1452), is now before U.S. District Judge John Bates.

 

Members of the Coalition for Change, Inc. (C4C), an advocacy support group for present and former federal employees injured due to workplace discrimination, are most concerned. They have called for the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) to conduct an investigation. They want the OGE, which serves to foster high ethical standards for executive branch employees and to strengthen the public's confidence that the Government's business is conducted with impartiality, to discern if Wagner's presence as MSPB Vice-Chairman constitutes a conflict of interest. The MSPB exists to protect the rights of federal civil service employees. It is designed to provide federal employees with an opportunity to appeal adverse and unfair personnel decisions.

 

C4C requests an OGE investigation as to whether Ms. Wagner was forthcoming and/or misled the White House and Congress about her role role in the pending case Williams v. Dodaro. In a letter dated October 20, 2011 to the OGE, Mr. Philip Taylor, C4C's President states, "Ms. Wagner's continued service on the Board is troubling and problematic in light of serious allegations against her in Williams v. Dodaro and the fact that a federal judge has denied the Government's motion for Summary Judgement." Wagner's term as MSPB's Vice Chairman is scheduled to run until March 2014.

 

This opednews.com source was written on 10/21/2011 in regard to Anne M. Wagner, and now almost 2 years since, Ms. Wagner is embroiled in another federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, Moore v. Susan Tsui Grundmann and Anne M. Wagner, challenging her very right to be in the position that she is currently in. 

 

EQUAL LEGAL RIGHTS HELP BRING JUSTICE!

Laury Duffy, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California, wrote this article on Friday. March 22, 2013 as an Opinion in the U-T San Diego: EQUAL LEGAL RIGHTS HELP BRING JUSTICE. Clarence Earl Gideon, a penniless drifter with a scant education, a long rap sheet and a penchant for drinking and gambling, was arrested in 1961 and accused of stealing about $100 worth of coins, beer and soda from a Florida pool room. The court refused his request for a defense lawyer, so Gideon was forced to represent himself. It took a jury one hour to convict him.

 

From his prison cell, Gideon launched a legal revolution with a pencil and prison stationary. His handwritten five-page petition to the U.S. Supreme Court was peppered with misspellings and awkward attempts at legal decorum, but his argument was unmistakable: He'd asked for a lawyer and didn't get one. This was unfair. Unfair. Un-American. And unconstitutional. It was an argument that would - in the words of Attorney General Robert Kennedy - change "the whole course of American legal history."

 

Against all odds, the high court agreed to hear his appeal and ultimately granted him a new trial - this time with a court-appointed lawyer. And this time, it took a new jury just one hour to acquit. And with that unanimous, landmark Supreme Court decision - which gave all individuals the right to legal representation in felony criminal cases - Gideon won a major legal victory and did, indeed, change the American justice system forever. Monday was the 50th anniversary of that remarkable case, known as Gideon v. Wainwright. In the decades since, our nation has made significant strides in fulfilling the promise of Gideon. For instance, many states have created public defender systems for those who can't afford a lawyer. Yet despite half a century of progress, far too many Americans struggle to gain access to the legal representation they need. Far too many public defenders are underfunded and overworked.

 

This precedent-setting decision-glorious though it is - is far from enough. The reality is, here in California and so many states through the country, indigent defense providers are hampered by insufficient resources, inadequate oversight and caseloads so overwhelming they can reach 700 felony cases a year per attorney. As a result, the pressure to get defendants to plead guilty - and avoid costly investigation and evaluation - is tremendous. And that means for many people, "equal justice under the law" is merely a slogan, not the foundation of our justice system. In short, as my boss, Attorney General Eric Holder said last week at a ceremony marking this important anniversary: "America's indigent defense systems exist in a state of crisis." And as he said, it's time to declare, once again, that this is unacceptable - and unworthy of a legal system that stands as an example for all the world. It's time to reclaim Gideon's petition - and resolve to confront the obstacles facing indigent defense providers. The integrity of our criminal justice system depends on effective representation for both the prosecution and defense. Our justice system is adversarial, but the prosecutor is a unique adversary - for his or her interest is is not in winning, but in achieving justice. The Justice Department is rising to this challenge. Last Friday, at a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of Gideon, Attorney General Holder announced $1.8 million in new resources to improve access to criminal legal services and strengthen indigent defense across the nation.

 

At the center of our efforts is the department's Access to Justice Initiative, launched in 2010 by Attorney General Holder to help ensure that basic legal services are available, affordable, and accessible to everyone. We're engaging with leaders like the American Bar Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, state government official, nonprofits and many others to improve representation for the indigent. For more information about what the Department of Justice is doing to protect the rights of the indigent, please see http://www.justice.gov/atj/gideon/. After his legal victory, Gideon settled into a quiet life and never tangled with the law again. According to press reports, he died of cancer in 1972. He was just 61 years old. His family buried him in an unmarked grade.

 

In 1984, the American Civil Liberties Union placed a granite headstone on his grave, the Hannibal Courier-Post reported. The headstone was engraved with a quote from a letter Gideon had written to his lawyer in 1962: "I believe that each era finds an improvement in law for  the benefit of mankind." On this 50th anniversary of Gideon, the Justice Department is pursuing Gideon's ideal by reaffirming its commitment to supporting the highest standards in criminal defense.     

The need for Change...

This is a great article by Mr. Moore, bringing attention to an issue that is, unfortunately, not new but that definitely needs to be eradicated.

Change doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen without action.  I am thankful for the great work that the Coalition for Change (C4C) is doing to bring about change and to educate the public about bullying, harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in the federal sector.

Not only is a change in the law necessary, but also a change in the mindset of these discriminating officials.

C4C’s “Unleash No Fear” campaign is exactly what is needed to bring this message to the attention of the public, as these issues impact all of us in one way or another.

Hearings are currently being held in Congress asking for accountability in the military sector of our government.  This occurred because victims of sexual harassment and abuse in the military organized and let their voices be heard.  Accountability for military officials appears to be on the horizon.  Accountability for perpetrators in the rest of our government cannot be far behind!

I think I can speak for all Americans that this unsavory behavior against its civil servants is not the kind of government that we want or that we can be proud of.  Our government is supposed to serve as a model for democracies around the world.  Federal officials acting with impunity against innocent civil servants, disproportionately minority employees, is definitely a black eye on an otherwise well-meaning democracy. 

Onward!

Vice-Chairman Anne M. Wagner of the MSPB

Thank you for your comments, but unfortunately your comments and actions should begin and end with Anne M. Wagner, Vice-Chairman of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. Before being appointed to this board by President Obama, Ms. Wagner was embroiled and charged in a federal lawsuit against another agency attorney, and Ms. Wagner kept that revelation from the oversight of the U.S. Committee on Homeland Security. Notably, on march 5, 2010, a Federal district court judge concluded that genuine issues of material fact existed concerning Ms. Wagner's motive for terminating the employment of a Black Senior Trial Attorney employed at GAO's PAB. In deciding the case the Court ruled: "the record also shows evidence on which a reasonable jury could find that defendant's proffered reasons for the termination were a pretext for retaliation" (Williams vs. Dodaro). Although Anne M. Williams has somehow escaped the tentacles of that federal lawsuit, she is still accountable in another lawsuit in San Diego. 

Expose Injustice By Public Officials

Thank you for covering this topic of abuse by federal officials and the failure of our government to ensure the safety of Americans.   Many people are not aware that EEOC cannot mandate discipline to be imposed on public officials who break civil rights laws.  I am glad to see The Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C) members unite to bring attention to this very important topic.  After viewing the video produced by the group,  I was inspired to sign the petition calling for President Obama to establish order within the executive branch of government by ensuring that managers who set public policy over programs and who engage in discrimination/retaliation are held accountable.  I encourage others to sign the petition which can be found at  https://www.change.org/petitions/president-obama-sign-executive-order-ma...

Anthony W. Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Board (16-399)

Question: Is a Merit Systems Proection Board decision disposing of an employment discrimination case on jurisdictional grounds subjet to judicial review in district court or in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit? This case before the Supreme Court argued on April 17, 2017 represents one of the first cases heard by new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, and his questions can actually be read in the Supreme Court trial transcript here.

No Fear Act

It is about time that someone saw the true reflection in the mirror and had the guts to do a story about it. I have written for magazines and newspapers where a story like this. Good work Dennis!

I truly do believe that this new law will be of a benefit to your community as well as the rest of the country!

R.e. Taylor

"Craig Littlejohn"

It is absolutely amazing that a Craig Littlejohn referenced in this article as referring to African-Americans as "monkeys" and questioning their abilities to work in the U.S. Department of the Interior, and then being accused of discrimination, is still working there. Beyond that, after he had been accused and found guilty, he received a raise.

"Office of Special Counsel"

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel has implemented provisions for the President to involve himself in federal whistleblower protection situations.

Addressing Inquality

Thank you for covering this very critical issue of abuse by federal officials.  Retaliation in the federal workplace is a form of domestic terrorism that undermines America’s homeland security, impairs the safety and efficiency of service delivery, harms the health of civil servants entrusted with upholding the public good; and costs taxpayers millions annually.  

Addressing Inquality

Thank you for covering this very critical issue of abuse by federal officials.  Retaliation in the federal workplace is a form of domestic terrorism that undermines America’s homeland security, impairs the safety and efficiency of service delivery, harms the health of civil servants entrusted with upholding the public good; and costs taxpayers millions annually.    Read more at https://www.change.org/organizations/the_coalition_for_change_inc_c4c

Memorandum Opinion in Case involving Anne M. Wagner of MSPB

In a Memorandum Opinion written by United States District Judge John D. Bates on March 5, 2010 in the United States District Court for The District of Columbia, the Court stated in Civil Action No. 07-1452 (JDB): "Drawing all inferences in favor of Williams, a jury could reasonably conclude that the characterization of the Jones brief filed with the PAB as a 'deliberate misrepresentation' was manufactured by Wagner, in light of the explanation of the background circumstances provided by Williams which, if believed, show a miscommunication rather than falsification." Additionally, Judge Bates states on page 5 of this Memorandum Opinion in regard to the current Vice-Chairman of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board Anne M. Wagner; "Additionally, Wagner -- who was the focus of William's original discrimination and retaliation claims -- admits that she drafted the proposed termination on November 18, 2008 (see Def.'s Reply at 3), only eight days after the parties appeared in Court for the initial scheduling conference and the Court issued an order allowing discovery to proceed. See Scheduling Order (filed Nov. 10, 2008). Considering plaintiff's repeated protected activity, and the very close temporal proximity of Wagner's initiation of this adverse action, this evidence could very well end the the Court's inquiry. But the record also shows evidence on which a reseasonable jury could find that the defendant's proffered reasons for the termination were a pretext for retaliation." This is highly unlikely when one considers that Anne M. Wagner is yet involved in another federal lawsuit in San Diego involving discrimination when she was actually nominated by President Obama to fight for federal employees. 

Addressing Inequality

Thank you for covering this very critical issue of abuse by federal officials.  Retaliation in the federal workplace is a form of domestic terrorism that undermines America’s homeland security, impairs the safety and efficiency of service delivery, harms the health of civil servants entrusted with upholding the public good; and costs taxpayers millions annually.  

Unleash No FEAR: Addressing Retaliation & Inequality

Thank you for covering this very critical issue of abuse by federal officials.  Retaliation in the federal workplace is a form of domestic terrorism that undermines America’s homeland security.  It impairs the safety and efficiency of service delivery, harms the health of civil servants entrusted with upholding the public good; and costs taxpayers millions annually.    As your article discussed, The Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C) launched its  Unleash No FEAR campaign this month.  Unleash No FEAR is a social media initiative launched to raise public awareness about the dangers within the federal government that that impacts federal programs and services.  We are hoping that the public will support efforts to hold public officials accountable for discriminating and retaliating against civil servants as well as the public they serve.   See petition  https://www.change.org/organizations/the_coalition_for_change_inc_c4c

ANNE M. WAGNER - VICE-CHAIRMAN OF THE MSPB

Anne M. Wagner, Vice-Chairman of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, has been charged with lying to Congress in regard to her appointment to the MSPB. At the time of her hearing before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security she was embroiled in a federal lawsuit of employment discrimination, in which she was a named defendant in Williams v. Dodaro (Civil Action No. 1:07-CV-1452), before and during her appointment to the MSPB.

"Office of Special Counsel and the U.S. MSPB"

This is a very revealing commentary, as it indicates that throughout our federal government there are efforts at minimizing acts of Whistle Blowing, particularly as it pertains to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel and the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), which actually has the OSC putting a muzzle on MSPB to get them to do there job. It further indicates that to the extent that the agencies responsible for protecting and enforcing discrimination and retaliation do not do there job, they are co-conspirators in the crimes. EEOC, MSPB and OSC, Enforce the law! And do it swiftly as victims sit languishing in the injustice and most often are unemployed as well. This is really what this C4C article is about.