WASHINGTON—American Federation of Government Employees Local 4060–representing employees at the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)–today announced that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has joined an investigation into reports of racial bias in hiring and staffing at the agency. According to Local 4060 President Leo Bosner, the NAACP has assigned an attorney to help investigate the allegations.
Local 4060 requested that the NAACP investigate the issue after the union received no response to a March 4 memo to the FEMA director alleging what appeared to be a pattern of racial discrimination against African-American employees at the agency. Copies of that memo also were sent to the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and to members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
The union’s memo cites numerous instances of alleged discrimination at FEMA. In one case, a FEMA-issued memo declared “there is currently no existing staff that has the level of expertise necessary [to fill a vacant position]” before any potential internal candidates were even allowed to apply. But according to Bosner, the office in question has nine GS-13 employees who might have applied for the GS-14 job. Bosner noted that all nine of the GS-13 employees are African-American while nearly all the GS-14 personnel in the same office are white.
“It is outrageous that a federal official would have such little regard for the skills of his own staff that he could conclude in advance that none of them were qualified for a promotion in this case. It is highly suspicious that all of the supposedly unqualified staff are black, while those who are qualified for jobs just one grade higher are nearly all white,” Bosner said.