A Federal Election Commission manager allegedly duped the agency’s inspector general into releasing hundreds of confidential employee comments that have lambasted poor leadership there as part of a morale study.
Four current FEC staffers and one former employee with knowledge of the situation tell the Center for Public Integrity that the senior manager in question is Patricia Orrock, the FEC’s chief compliance officer and deputy staff director. The FEC staffers asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing their jobs.
FEC Inspector General Lynne McFarland told agency staffers in an Oct. 6 email that a “senior management leader” — Orrock, apparently — asked her office for the employees comments on behalf of a joint labor-management working group that’s attempting to boost morale among agency staffers, who consistently rank among the federal government’s most bedraggled.
One problem: The union representing FEC employees says it is "absolutely false" that its side of the labor-management group had ever been involved in the request. McFarland likewise said the senior manager "misled" her "as to the reason for the request" for confidential employee comments.
Morale sinks even deeper
The revelation has worsened already dismal relations between workers and management at the agency that regulates and enforces the nation’s election laws.
“I thought our office was assisting in building trust and cohesiveness between management and staff in order to move forward in a positive direction,” wrote McFarland, who did not return requests for comment. “Instead, I am sorry to say the action taken by Management solidifies the issues presented in the Morale Study, and I too am saddened and disappointed.”
McFarland added: “My office will take these acts very seriously and will be committed to investigating your concerns to the fullest.”