According to the trade magazine Government Executive, which is distributed to senior government managers at the state, federal, and local level, personnel at the Environmental Protection Agency have set a new standard when it comes to government waste. Deputy Regional Administrator Howard Cantor, manager for the EPA’s Region 8 office in Denver, issued an email to office staff earlier this year threatening serious sanctions if employees do not stop engaging in untoward bathroom antics, ranging from jamming up the toilets with paper towels to defecating in the hallways outside of the bathroom.
In fact, the threat of restroom hijinks has gotten so serious at the Colorado-area EPA office that a workplace violence consultant, John Nicoletti, has been brought in to deal with the situation. Nicoletti characterized the hallway defecation incidents as dangerous and likely to escalate.
EPA management has asked employees to report any information about the identity of the individual or individuals responsible for leaving feces in the hallway to higher-ups. The activity is being treated as a crime. EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Howard Cantor said in his email to staff, “Management is taking this situation very seriously and will take whatever actions are necessary to identify and prosecute these individuals.”
The Environmental Protection Agency has been suffering from administrative problems for quite some time, as employees throughout the bureaucracy have been caught up in a series of high-profile scandals. Government Executive also exposed several additional abuses. In one, EPA attorney John Beale was sentenced to a 32-month prison term after it was discovered that he lied about being a CIA agent as an excuse for chronically skipping work. In another, an unnamed EPA official was caught in the act looking at pornographic material at work and was found in a subsequent investigation to be viewing adult content on the job for several hours each day. In yet another shocking case, the EPA’s inspector general found that a group of contractors working in one of the agency’s warehouses were caught constructing secret entertainment rooms, equipped with televisions, couches, and exercise equipment. The warehouse also suffered from hazardous conditions, with corrosion, mold, and rat feces littered throughout the facility. Officials also discovered an open box of passports on-site.
When asked about the agency’s struggles with employees defecating in the hallway, EPA spokesperson Richard Mylott told Government Executive, “EPA cannot comment on ongoing personnel matters. EPA’s actions in response to recent workplace issues have been deliberate and have focused on ensuring a safe work environment for our employees. Our brief consultation with Dr. Nicoletti on this matter, a resource who regularly provides our office with training and expertise on workplace issues, reflects our commitment to securing a safe workplace.”
The Environmental Protection Agency’s website indicates that its mission is to “protect human health and the environment.”