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Department of Defense (DoD) Business Transformation Agency (BTA) EP&I Title 5 violations – part two

From the Government Business Examiner

Continued from part one-Department of Defense (DoD) Business Transformation Agency (BTA) EP&I Title 5 violations – part one

Continued from part one

Not only were tax dollars wasted, but the waste was sanctioned by leadership. And, with the mission of the warfighter a main BTA proclamation, it has occurred to me, “Is anyone thinking of the warfighter?”

Being the Polly Anna I am, I think of the warfighter throughout the day while working on government projects or products. I think of my daughter who serves in the United States Air Force (USAF) and my father who was a USAF retiree that worked on the Presidential flight line at Andrews Air Force Base as well. I think about the fellow who returned from Iraq without legs and the girl who was injured by a roadside bomb with a resultant traumatic brain injury (TBI).

At the Business Transformation Agency (BTA), as the days passed, during this brief but revealing glimpse of life at EP&I and BTA, the Acting Division Head and SAIC’s Project Manager incited numerous and repetitive hostile sessions that turned in to deliverable delays. During these sessions outright lies were presented concerning not only a Division Head, but also a human being all the while with the claims that the activities were sanctioned by the EP&I Acting Director.

Jumping in during meetings with proactive ideas and potential remedies remained worthless attempts. New ideals were met with “you just don’t know yet how things are done here” and then under the breathe chuckles by Senior Management (both SAIC and BTA). This underscored the reality that the spirit management desired the team to demonstrate was despair, animosity and hatred. What a waste of money and lack of managerial oversight. What an abuse of power.

Further complicating matters, the Acting Division Head had continuously felt at liberty to touch on my shoulders, back, spine and arm when standing behind me in my cubicle and giving instructions or discussing work. As a woman in the marketplace, even if the Acting Division Head thought he was being kind, rubbing on my shoulders, back, spine and arm felt anything but kind. Each time I froze in place and thought to myself, why is this man touching on me? And, that question continued throughout my time on site and continues at the present time.

The Acting Director of EP&I and the Acting Division Head of Planning with SAIC’s Senior Project Manager seemingly working in cahoots to orchestrate the Division Head’s demise, they instructed the team to say “no” to the Division Head’s oversight. The consistent undermining of her authority was shocking. When her instructions were followed, arrangements were made to disenfranchise results through deliverable delays unbeknown to her, but blamed on her. Whenever the Division Head gave instructions for the “team” to perform, the Acting Division Head immediately pulled everyone aside while she was out of ear shot to proclaim,

“I don’t know what she is thinking we can’t possibly do what she is asking. You know she’s going to be crazy mad when she returns and we haven’t done what she wants.”

He followed with supposed insults he claimed the Division Head shared with him privately regarding the team’s response to her last instruction, which of course upset and angered the team.

Undelivered task requirements were typically routine aspects of the deliverable process. The active consistent undermining of leadership was all it would take for SAIC’s team of professional adults to denigrate into a mutinous mob that blindly followed the Acting Director and Senior Project Manager who also stated the Acting Director of EP&I was on board with their thinking. And, how could any team question that?

Each of these occurrences resulted in yet another tailspin and the who’s who of one-upmanship. And, none of these denials of service support ever resulted in the Division Head being hostile, angry or mean to anyone and I never heard her say anything derogative about the team. Throughout the entire time I was on site the Division Head never raised her voice, yelled, or conveyed anything harsh in conversation, tone or characterizations. Even though it was obvious deliverables were willfully held up by subordinates to suggest poor oversight against the Division Head’s instructions.

The Division Head’s birthday arrived and her Acting Division Head had instructed that “no one” was to celebrate her birthday to demonstrate the extent that her team disliked her in order to secure further political footing. A couple of teammates decided to bring in muffins and fruit to celebrate and as a newcomer who hadn’t heard this instruction by the Acting Division Head – I offered to “pitch in” and bring balloons. Being the mom I am when I got in the dollar store I went a little overboard and rather than spend $2.00 on balloons I spent $8.00, buying ‘over the hill’ gag gifts, a tablecloth and plates/napkins.

When the festivities occurred on the following a.m., the Acting Division Head peered in the office and just shook his head. He was looking directly at me. Afterwords the Division Head departed for her previously scheduled “birthday vacation” and her Acting Division Head requested a meeting with SAIC’s Senior Program Manager suggesting:

“Donna instigated a political advantage for Teri by having a birthday celebration for her”

he suggested

“Now she has a political stronghold in EP&I because she invited others on the floor to share the muffins and fruit and it looks as though the team likes her.”

When I asked what was going on, SAIC’s Project Manager told me,

“Well I had to go into a meeting about the party and Jerry said you have upset the apple cart and set things back by months towards removing the Division Head because she brought friends over to her office and said look what my team did for my birthday.”

He added,

“I told Jerry, if I was new I would have done the same thing.”

I explained that others on the team planned the celebration and in trying to be helpful I volunteered the balloons, but that it was an absurd notion to suggest a ten minute birthday congratulations made that much impact and he stated,

“Well, it was said you have betrayed the cause and the team by supporting her birthday. I wanted no part of her birthday because I can’t stand the woman.”

Throughout this process I believed something wasn’t quite right – that there must be a law or procedure or protocol that would usurp these events so we could focus on the product. Certainly these shenanigans had to illegal and for a surety these proceedings didn’t represent the BTA’s ideology of transformative business for the DoD and the federal government in the 21st Century?

A trip to the library and research resulted in U.S. Code Title V as well as U.S. Code Title VII violations. Title 5 references “Prohibited Personnel Practices” with almost every element (inciting hostility, insubordination, and actively engaging activities to undermine career employment while attempting to empower a political footing) were all representative of activities taking place in EP&I at the BTA.

The defamation of character and ridicule or chiding that took place routinely among teammates and Senior Management (where “confidential” human resource information was openly presented – most of which were fabrications and lies) presented extreme Title V violations and as a newcomer were outright embarrassing to have to overhear. Then accounting for the $2000.00 per hour and even $30 a second waste of taxpayer dollars made it extremely annoying.

In the end, though, what suffered was the Enterprise Transition Plan (ETP) in an online format as a representative tool that the United States Congress awaits to convey how effectively the DoD is being transformed through the BTA as well as the federal government as a whole. Delivered in a baseline beta format without a table of contents and a genuine lack of web “flair,” the resultant ETP instrument could have been engineered in a small team environment off-site in half the time or less for a third of the costs. This glorious facade in all probability cost the taxpayer at least $2,288,000.00 million in labor alone and that isn’t taking in to account overtime, materials, office expenditures (heating, air, lighting, desks, etc.) or the salaries of government personnel and their benefits.

The BTA logo contains the colors silver for coinage (they’ve got that right) and gallantry, blue for vigilance and perseverance, white for loyalty, and red for valor. The flowing red and white stripes represent their heritage and agility and flexibility necessary to lead change. Their shield represents protection for the warfighter. In one talon is an olive branch, representing accountability in peacetime business systems and processes; in the other, a bundle of thirteen arrows to represent agility for business systems and processes in response to contingency operations. The thirteen stars represent the core business missions and business enterprise priorities established to achieve the goals and objectives of the BTA.

As an observer of the obvious – the best thing the BTA had going in EP&I is the logo.

Again, throughout this brief, but revealing episode at BTA, I have to admit the dreaded Medusa never once reared her ugly head. Rather, the Division Head of Planning in EP&I at the BTA remained the utmost professional. And, the Acting Director of EP&I in reaction to my filing a grievance, made post-hoc Administrative adjustments to ensure the political alignments he had been working towards with the Acting Division Head and the Program Manager from SAIC.

Within two hours of receipt of my initial grievance a request was presented for “all work to cease” until the Administrative changes were finalized. Following that – task areas were restructured so that SAIC’s “team that cooperated in undermining the Division Head” remained intact. Before the grievance was forwarded most of SAIC’s folks in the Planning Division roles and responsibilities were ending 30 September 2009. And the new redistribution of the task orders required re-engineering of the task requirements.

The role I was filling was for fiscal year 2010. The eleven folks who spent at least $100K in nay saying and defaming the character of the Division Head while refusing to provide service support fulfillment and even refused to burn CDs saying they did not know how to – were rewarded with a new year of service support. SAIC called a meeting of the team and instructed them that any further vile or unprofessional conversation would be subject to dismissal – and as an SAIC subcontractor I attended their meeting while they were reprimanded. My role of course, was revoked due to Whistle Blower Retaliation as the resultant edict. And, Kforce, my subcontract authority would not disclose a reason for the cessation of my contract other than “recent events,” clearly due to Whistle Blowing and filing a grievance. All of this “disservice” under the proclamation that the BTA is transforming the federal government as a 21st Century oversight agency.

There is an active U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) investigation and Department of Defense Inspector General (DoDIG) complaint regarding these issues – if you are interested in learning more or have additional information for the OSC File – feel free to contact Ms. Quesinberry for further information at [email protected] to request the case file information. Former and current EP&I employees have come forward with similar experiences (including sexual harassment of the exact same nature by the exact same individual) within EP&I at the BTA and it is furthered that these same activities have also been brought to Senior BTA Management Professionals attention previously. The ongoing complaint to the OSC and DoDIG is expanding to include additional parties who have experienced these same events both federal and contract personnel alike while working on site at the BTA. Some of which have requested to not be mentioned for political reasons – others willing to participate – all stating that these are “needed to be aired” matters.

The Government Business Examiner welcomes questions, ideas and interviews or event announcements – through the comments section below, or by e-mailing Donna Quesinberry.

For the completion of this article read Department of Defense (DoD) Business Transformation Agency (BTA) EP&I Title 5 violations – part one

If you have experienced any illegal practices on a federal site you should review and then contact any of the following: Defense Hotline – Mr. Leonard Trahan, Jr., Director, Defense Hotline Anyone, whether a service member, civilian employee, defense contractor, or private citizen, who witnesses what he or she believes to be a violation of ethical standards and/or the law, including but not limited to fraud, waste, or abuse of authority, potential leaks of classified information, or potential acts of terrorism, should report such conduct through his or her chain of command, respective service Inspector General, or directly to his or her respective service Inspector General or directly to the Inspector General of the Department of Defense Hotline at 800-424-9098 (e-mail: [email protected])

Office of Special Counsel

On this day in history: 1971 Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, Fla.

Famous birthday on this day in history: Vladimir Horowitz 10/1/1903 – 11/5/1989
Ukraine-born American pianist

For the first half of this two part article read Department of Defense (DoD) Business Transformation Agency (BTA) EP&I Title 5 violations – part one

About the Author: Ms. Donna Quesinberry, is President of DonnaInk Publications (DP) a small woman-owned sole proprietor government (federal and state) and commercial consultant business. A published technical non-fiction and fiction author she is also a university courseware developer | instructor and recognized poetess. Donna has interviewed on CNBC and is a single parent of 5 adult children with 7 grandchildren. With over 18 years of professional expertise DP features high 90% performance measurements and an 85% win ratio for multiple | diverse genres.

Disclaimer: Due to the fact that Ms. Quesinberry experienced these events “first-hand” and filed subsequent grievance(s). There may appear to be a certain rant | vent aspect to this expose’, Ms. Quesinberry feels while emotional exchange isn’t normally ascribed to journalism, it does express the anguish experiences such as these represent when someone has to suffer such atrocities.

Other than minor editorial adjustments for the ease of reading, this article remains true to the emotionally charged original.

These facts are not intended to harm or cause personal injury to any of the aforementioned parties as individuals, these are facts regarding BTA, SAIC, and Kforce contracts performance in light of fact-driven illegal activities – the author harbors no ill will toward anyone and found the need to write this expose’ to be unfortunate at the very least.

The Company wishes to take advantage of the “safe harbor” provisions as necessary.

Copyright © Donna L. Quesinberry-2009

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Amanda Blount

WOW. What a mess. I also do not think it a compliment when co-worker men (or women) think they can touch me at random times. A hand shake or a one armed hug for someone special, ok. But, the lower back, across shoulders, or hand touching that some people feel they can do when “instructing” or just talking, is so wrong, it is uncomfortable. I feel like moving away when people do this. Or my abolute worse pet peeve about touching, when someone reaches around you to show you how to do something on the computer. That is just uncalled for. Yes, people get mad when you report them for these actions, but it is them who need to grow up. The work place is not high school. Trying to touch everyone for the sake of touching is not professional. As for the rest of the story. I am sorry to say that I have seen this type of thing before. It sucks royally.

Scott Bryan

I’m grateful you posted that here Donna. I wouldn’t have read it anywhere else. For some reason it’s very hard for me to read a story like that. I just don’t like thinking about that stuff. I suppose it’s because it reminds me of what a hostile world we’ve managed to engineer for ourselves. But it’s actually a very important story because it forces us to confront the shortcomings of our nature and try to understand them.

Being forced into situations where there is no alternative but to compromise your integrity is really what kept me out of the workforce most of my life. (It’s what I hate most about driving too–the only way to be an asset in traffic is to avoid being a part of it.) I thought you conveyed that angst perhaps too well–hence it left me very anxious to explain the many things I think it is telling us.

The most noteworthy for me is that it suggests that collaborating online to simultaneously work with others (via something like Google’s WAVE technology) would have prevented the enormous waste and forced that team to focus on the task. It’s hard to believe what you describe could take place anywhere except a closed room where people felt safe enough to be outrageous. I’m guessing studies will show that the online collaboration is simply vastly more productive and fulfilling for people. So I reckon that scenario is likely to be in decline.

I think it says something else too, that’s far more obvious, but rendered invisible by our ideology: that you can’t buy love. That if we pay people to work, there’s nothing to stop us from creating jobs people don’t want to do. We don’t see any alternatives, nor does a discussion of it belong here, but I can’t help but notice that this consequence of the geometry of our economy is fantastically dysfunctional and hampers practically everything we do. It’s only because the Open Government goal seems so sacred to me that I even bring it up.

I loved that aspect of what you wrote to most–that you pointed out how irresponsible it is to dishonor roles that were purchased at so high a price and for such great purpose. Its why I think the best way to pay for the work done on Open Government is with a new kind of currency that has no actual value today, but could at some future date, if the folks who inherit the government we’re building today are grateful enough. I wonder whether that might keep people more focused on what an incredible privilege they’ve landed.

Hopefully the DoD will realize that they’ve got an infrastructure that’s physically antithetical to the mission they’re trying to use it to accomplish before they waste too much more of our money. But I’m not going to hold my breath.

Donna L. Quesinberry

Excellent commentary Amanda – that reach around tactic “is” sexual harassment, we just have had it occur so often we tend to overlook it, when it is repeated behavior with every occasion an increased rubbing on the employee taking it a step or two further accompanied by a potentially hostile work environment where the perpetrator also is perpetuating the demise or realignment of “senior” personnel (successfully) – everyone who says, “oh just tell him not to do it again” – doesn’t realize how difficult that is – especially as a subcontractor.

I mean I knew saying, “hey Jerry stop touching on me I don’t need you rubbing on my back, spine and arm – focus on the work we are here to do” would have ended the touching, but it would also have resulted in my walking papers. More women need to stand up and say stop that – as these men are chuckling on the inside and don’t deserve entitlements they hold as supervisors for doing something so wrong, but it is obvious most often saying something will result in harmful situations for the female employee and after all we have families to feed.

Second, you know Scott, it is horrible to go through a story like this one. I actually called family who have worked for years in varied federal arenas (White House, FBI, Department of Education, USAF, etc.) and inquired what would they do as I was really uncertain of how to handle matters. To be asked to join in and to actively observe people orchestrating the undermining of someone’s career and knowing lies are being told continuously that not only ruin a person’s career life, but border on potentially creating harm that could result from such lies in order for others to fulfill an “agenda” where no regard for the individual is extended is beyond comprehension to me. I asked them what if this woman gets depressed and commits suicide? People do –

The woman in question wasn’t bi-polar or even hostile, but everyone was being told she was. These men in wanted to do something with her position regardless of the potential harm it could create in her life and the lives of those within her family. At what cost were these two “acting” Director and Division Head going to expend to reach their personal agenda in unloading the Division Head? And, why on earth didn’t anyone else mind the ridicule, taunting conjecture, chiding, sneers, irreverent commentaries and continued nastiness to the point of making work unbearable for all involved? I mean these folks actually sulk into meeting rooms – and then it is just another gripe session – so why didn’t someone else say, “hey this isn’t getting us anywhere?”

It was very interesting though to note – and I guess I was there really three weeks – but in observation I realized that most of the disenfranchising of the Division Head’s “team” that these men very proficiently worked a story from both ends and the “team” never would go back to the woman in question to inquire about what she was saying in reality. They just believed the hype, but then if you have men rubbing on your back and shoulders and arms when you’d rather they not – keeping quiet may keep them at bay…

At any rate, the largest share of dissatisfaction was “arranged misinformation” and that is what is truly the Title 5 violations as that is plotting and definitely illegal. So trust was being placed where trust should not be placed and on multiple occasions I watched as information was manipulated to incite hostility thereby achieving the goals of disenfranchisement.

I’m glad I decided to write these articles as other former and current members of EP&I and the BTA have written me stating mine was not a unique situation. Much to my chagrin others have also submitted complaints to the Department of Defense Inspector General (DoDIG) about the abuse and misuse of both authority and funds.

I think the bizarre aspect of this is that so many folks within Agencies such as BTA are petrified to say anything about everything. There is a mentality that you don’t comment on blogs or social networks or in meetings. That you keep your mouth shut – otherwise you are disloyal. They give an appearance of modernity, while in the background they are actually lingering in the early 1900 mentalities regarding behavioral oversight. The federal arena workers seem fearful to leap toward the future, they’ll talk in private about the absurdities and actually laugh at the reality when they know the behaviorisms are inappropriate, but they won’t take a stand because it will result in poor performance reviews and career demise. After seeing a Division Head’s demise – taking a stand as a worker bee seems idiotic at best. Even though it is sad – I can understand why they don’t speak up.

While we are all aware that many aspects of governing can’t be “Open Government” there are many others that can and should. This disenfranchising the majority of federal workers as worker bees while a few run the hive with abandon requiring underlings to suck up to them because they are in charge – with the few women who shatter the federal glass ceiling having to serve as ultra personas to maintain their roles is as if the woman’s rights movement never occurred.

As far as money to time lines factoring – I believe all teammates should consider their professional team at roundtable sessions and determine costs per second, per minute, per quarter, per half and per full hour of combined costs. Because while we all require normal human communications in the intercourse of our workday the fact is – and for some reason largely in federal facilities – the rumor mill runs rampant at the office with idle and unnecessary chatter. Allowing these figurative measurements to pop in to our thoughts from time to time may be just what the doctor ordered to get us to focus on the tasks at hand rather than what that guy Nick is doing after work or what Donna was wearing at the company party or whether the two of them are carpooling every day. It really detracts from the mission at hand and that is after all why we are at the federal work center.

Donna L. Quesinberry

Also Scott – the Google Wave technology really seems quite on the mark I concur. In review of the site I requested an invitation – waiting to participate now.

My greatest hampering in the work arena too – is that I can’t lower my integrity to continue the effort. It is just beyond me how people can sell out and participate in “wrong” behavior. And, I don’t mean we need to have a perfect world with active bliss states in order to work – but when I’m asked to lie, to create ill will, observe obvious illegal practices or I’m asked to “overlook” illegal activities in order to be part of the “team” I have to say no. I just can’t do it.

My clients know I tell them – if you will ask me to say something that is not true – we will have an ethical dilemma and before you consider working with me – I’m providing you this knowledge because I do report unethical behavior. Some clients thank me – others don’t let the dust settle. I told these folks this prior to coming on board – apparently someone didn’t pay it forward.

Like you – while the DoDIG and Office of the Special Counsel have active complaints (mine and others I’ve since learned about) regarding these situations and the three men as well as team involved – I’m hopeful action will be taken, but I won’t hold my breathe. And, from here, there’s really no place else to go – because that’s the top of the barrel in as far as abuse of power and gross mismanagement as well as Title 5 violations – I don’t think there’s anyone higher to file a meritable complaint with.