Library of Congress has a History of Unsupervised Supervisors

Remember the Librarian of Congress’ “reassignment memo” to Maria Pallante where she essentially informed Pallante that she would effectively be reporting to one David Mao?

Please consult with David Mao about deadlines. Each week, please provide David and me with a report on the activities you’ve undertaken on these assignments. If you need research assistance, contact David or me before tasking anyone. I do not anticipate that this assignment will require any communications with Members of Congress or congressional staff. I am arranging suitable officespace for you and will arrange for you to complete the move from you’re your current office to the new space by Oct. 31, 2016.

Please let me know if you have any questions about these assignments. cc:

David Mao, Deputy Librarian of Congress

Mr. Mao has a bit of a history with hostile work environments himself.

Roll Call, the insider news outlet in Washington, wrote this story in 2015:  Library of Congress Case Highlights Questions of Oversight

The case of a fired Library of Congress staffer is prompting questions about whether the institution is being properly overseen by Congress and whether library employees have a fair process to appeal personnel decisions — including from members of Congress. Suzanne Hogan, 58, who worked as a special assistant to former Librarian of Congress James H. Billington for 11 years, was officially terminated in August. She is in the process of appealing her decision via a discrimination complaint, but is calling on Congress’ own independent agency, the Office of Compliance, to intervene, alleging she does not have an avenue for due process.

“There is no pathway for me to have a fair and just hearing.” Hogan said in an Oct. 23 interview.

A spokesperson for the Library declined to comment on the case. But according to Mao’s letter, Hogan’s alleged misconduct involved receiving tickets to attend music events [in connection with the Gershwin Prize]; including an outside contractor on internal emails, and sharing internal communications “in an attempt to damage the chief of staff [Robert Newlen]’s reputation,” among others.

Hogan refuted those claims, noting that she attended the events and emailed the contractor as part of her role in promoting and producing the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. She also pointed to positive performance reviews and a cash award in February for her work with the Gershwin Prize.

Mr. Mao doesn’t seem to like people going to concerts, or maybe he just doesn’t like Gershwin.  But it doesn’t really matter much because Roll Call points out that Library of Congress employees are not able to appeal their case to the Merit Systems Protection Board because the LOC is exempted from that civil service oversight system.

In fact, there isn’t really much oversight over the Library of Congress, the Librarian or Mr. Mao at all.  In fact, the only oversight authority that we have been able to find is within the House of Representatives itself–the House Committee on Administration.  The Administration Committee is a little known committee in the House of Representatives with six Republicans and three Democrats, relatively small by House standards.

But guess who is a member of the Committee?  Zoe Lofgren, the Member from Google.  Now why would a member that represents such a lobbying powerhouse want to spend her valuable time on a committee that has a relatively limited brief?  Aside from the fact that it essentially controls employment matters at the Copyright Office, that is.

According to Roll Call, the Office of Compliance in the Congress may have day to day jurisdiction to examine the treatment of employees at the Library of Congress.  The question is just how much control does the Member from Google have over employment practices at the Library of Congress.  From the outside, the facts and history suggest that no supervision is good supervision for an essentially rogue agency that treats employees very poorly, particularly if they have the temerity to point out that the law doesn’t support Big Tech’s greedy little fingers.