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The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), whose mission is to “protect and manage the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage”, employs over 70,000 bureaucrats and spends over $12 billion per year. According to a recent ABC News report, the federal government department has a problem with a number of its managers creating a negative work environment for its employees, which has just resulted in the firings of a number of senior managers.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke revealed today he has fired four senior managers at the Interior Department for inappropriate conduct, including sexual harassment.
“I’ve already removed four senior leaders that were guilty of inappropriate behavior and I will remove four hundred more if necessary. Intimidation, harassment and discrimination is a cancer to any organization. However deep it goes, we will remove it from Interior,” Zinke said in a video posted on the agency’s website today.
Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift said in an email the department could not provide any specific information on the people who were fired but said they generally “abused their authority to intimidate or harass fellow employees. This includes but is not limited to sexual harassment.”
The firings have come after the Interior Department released the results of an internal survey of its employees. ABC News describes the survey’s results:
The department released the results of a workplace survey Thursday where 35 percent of employees said they were harassed in the last year, with 8 percent saying they were sexually harassed. More than 200 employees who responded to that survey also reported experiencing sexual assault. About 28,300 employees responded to the survey which is 44 percent of the agency’s workforce, according to the release.
The survey was primarily conducted during the first two months of 2017 among employees who were on the DOI’s payroll as of December 10, 2016. According to the Interior Department’s press release announcing the full survey’s results, is “the first of its scope done across the federal government”. As such, it is largely capturing bad behavior on the part of the department’s bureaucrats that was tolerated by previous DOI leaders and White House administrations.
And this is just the Interior Department. What will similar large-scale workplace surveys find for other federal agencies that have long track records of bad and abusive behavior on the part of their own bureaucrats, such as the EPA, the IRS and the VA?