Ex-Official: Labor Union Bias at Root of Prejudice Claims

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 11, 2013 | Go to article overview

Ex-Official: Labor Union Bias at Root of Prejudice Claims


Byline: Jeffrey Anderson, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The D.C. board that adjudicates public employee disputes has been accused of discriminating against whites and conservatives, but city officials also have questioned whether claims of prejudice are rooted in a labor union bias on the part of the board's members, according to the board's former executive director.

Documents obtained by The Washington Times also show that the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) offered Ondray T. Harris $30,000 to refrain from airing such views in his resignation letter, first obtained by The Times, which has sparked conservative outrage.

And while the board's general counsel, Keturah D. Harley, says Mr. Harris failed to formally notify the board of his concerns when they arose, documents and Mr. Harris' accounts of key conversations suggest city labor officials and legislators alike have been questioning PERB's collective judgment for some time.

In response to Mr. Harris' allegations, a spokesman for Mayor Vincent C. Gray said, An investigation [by an independent body] is underway and we look forward to receiving results and taking any appropriate action.

Mr. Harris resigned May 24 after being asked by the board to explain why he resides in Virginia and not the District, as D.C. law requires. In his resignation letter, Mr. Harris said his residency was known to the board and he was resigning because board members Ann Hoffman and Don Wasserman rebuked him for hiring an attorney who had worked for conservative organizations and that he was urged not to hire more white males.

In a statement last week, Ms. Harley wrote that Mr. Harris' residency status only came on PERB's radar as of April 30, and that prior to his resignation, he had failed to file a formal complaint or officially notify the board of his discrimination concerns, which arose during a Nov. 8 executive session of the board.

After the Nov. 8 meeting, Mr. Harris asked Ms. Harley for a legal memo regarding the alleged statements by Ms.

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