Bunnatine Greenhouse, after 20 years of exemplary service at the procurement department of the Army Corps of Engineers, is being demoted for - what the Army calls - poor performance. It seems Bunny (that’s what her friends call her) is uppity when is comes to doing her job. Always a stickler for the rules, when the Army wanted to sidestep long-established procedures to allow a Haliburton subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root, access to no-bid contracts, She tried to stop it. She even wrote her misgivings on the official documents involved in the dealmaking.
Ms. Greenhouse fought the demotion through official channels, and publicly described her clashes with Corps of Engineers leaders over a five-year, $7 billion oil-repair contract awarded to Kellogg Brown & Root. She had argued that if urgency required a no-bid contract, its duration should be brief.
Ms. Greenhouse had also fought the granting of a waiver to Kellogg Brown & Root in December 2003, approving the high prices it had paid for fuel imports for Iraq, and had objected to extending its five-year contract for logistical support in the Balkans for 11 months and $165 million without competitive bidding. In late June, ignoring warnings from her superiors, Ms. Greenhouse appeared before a Congressional panel, calling the Kellogg Brown & Root oil contract “the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career.” She also said the defense secretary’s office had improperly interfered in the awarding of the contract.
The nerve! Who does this woman think she is - a Senior Executive Service-rank employee? Oh, right. She was just that - when she testified in court over her concerns of questionable practices. Since that time the Army began a papertrail of negative performance review in anticipation of today’s official demotion. The connection is obvious when viewed on a timeline, yet the Army typically asserts otherwise.
Lt. Gen. Carl A. Strock, said the administrative record “clearly demonstrates that Ms. Greenhouse’s removal from the S.E.S. is based on her performance and not in retaliation for any disclosures of alleged improprieties that she may have made.”
The Army secretary’s office was investigation Bunny’s case, but her promotion went through despite an order to delay action:
Her demotion was delayed when the Army’s senior legal officials said they would first seek an independent investigation of her reprisal complaint. “The Army has referred this matter to the Department of Defense inspector general for their review and action, as appropriate,” said an Oct. 22, 2004, letter to Ms. Greenhouse’s lawyer from Robert M. Fano, the Army’s chief of civilian personnel law. The acting secretary of the Army, Mr. Fano wrote, had also directed the Corps of Engineers to “suspend any adverse personnel action so that Ms. Greenhouse remains in her current position until a sufficient record is available to address the specific matters you raised.”
But on July 14, the Army secretary approved Ms. Greenhouse’s demotion, effective Aug. 27. With his request to proceed, General Strock had provided an unsigned nine-page memorandum, reviewing Ms. Greenhouse’s recent performance ratings and responding to her allegations of impropriety.
Mr. Kohn said Sunday that the inspector general had not finished investigating the matter and that the demotion violated the Army secretary’s commitment to wait on any action.
Mr. Kohn said that when he telephoned Dan Meyer, director of civilian reprisal investigations in the inspector general’s office, on Aug. 24, Mr. Meyer was “shocked” to learn that the corps had proceeded against Ms. Greenhouse. Mr. Meyer said that he was immediately opening a “civilian reprisal” investigation and faxed forms to Mr. Kohn to initiate the process, Mr. Kohn said.
A Pentagon spokesman said Sunday that the inspector general’s office could not be reached for comment.
This is just smoke-and-mirrors, folks; this is a “Done Deal.” If Mr. Meyer was “shocked” its because he was smoking something handmade. Bunnatine Greenhouse is just the latest victim of BushCo’s abortion of an administration. Nothing is sacred in our national leadership, only the All-Mighty Dollar. I would take solace in the eventuality that Messrs. Bush and Cheney will rot in a Hell of their own making but for one small detail: They’re taking the rest of the world with them.