Bucking Republican environmental policy
November 22, 2015
To the editor:

Daniel Horowitz is the managing director of the Chemical Safety Board, a small agency charged with investigating refinery, fertilizer plant, and other industrial chemical accidents. For the past five months, however, he has been under virtual house arrest—forbidden to enter the CSB offices or speak with CSB staff and directed to be available by phone from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., waiting for a call that never came.

The reason? He is under investigation for “possible misconduct” primarily raised in an 18-month-old mish-mash of a House Republican committee staff report.

This Monday, [Nov. 16, 2015] his administrative leave was supposed to end, but he was told to stay home for another day and await “clarification” of his status. That clarification came around 5:30 p.m. in the form of a notice of proposed termination. The cited basis is “specifications” of “Conduct Unbecoming a Federal Employee,” including some very bizarre allegations such as:

The real reason for this farce is that congressional GOP members have pressured incoming CSB Board Chair Vanessa Sutherland to oust Dr. Horowitz—and that is precisely what we expect her to do. PEER will be representing Dr. Horowitz in fighting this impermissible politicization of the civil service. Civil servants should not be fired for simply doing their jobs.

The larger issue is that the new leadership at the CSB is scared to death of making political enemies. As a result, it has ceased to function:

Looks like an agency is in need of a managing director.

Jeff Ruch, executive director PEER

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