EPA employees still ‘coming to work in tears’

posted at 5:21 pm on January 26, 2017 by John Sexton

ProPublica published a story yesterday on the dark mood at the Environmental Protection Agency. According to one unnamed communications official, people are coming to work in tears:

On Tuesday, the new administration’s efforts to take hold of the EPA continued, this time with a memo from EPA headquarters requiring all regional offices to submit a list of “all external meetings or presentations by employees planned through February 17.” The memo demanded the offices provide a short description of each event and a note explaining “whether it is controversial and why.”…

At EPA headquarters, the mood remains dark. A longtime career communications employee said in a phone interview Tuesday that more than a few friends were “coming to work in tears” each morning as they grappled with balancing the practical need to keep their jobs with their concerns for the issues they work on.

This is not the first time EPA bureaucrats have been caught weeping at work because of their political concerns. A week after the election E&E News published a story on the scene at the EPA and Energy Department. Supervisors were said to be telling distraught employees to take sick leave and go home, something explicitly no allowed by the rules governing sick leave:

U.S. EPA employees were in tears. Worried Energy Department staffers were offered counseling. Some federal employees were so depressed, they took time off. Others might retire early.

And some employees are in downright panic mode in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s victory.

“People are upset. Some people took the day off because they were depressed,” said John O’Grady, president of American Federation of Government Employees Council 238, a union that represents thousands of EPA employees. After Election Day, “people were crying,” added O’Grady, who works in EPA’s Region 5 office in Chicago. “They were recommending that people take sick leave and go home.”

“If you look at the seven stages of grief, I’m still in denial,” one EPA employee told E&E News at the time.


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