HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Hill Air Force Base officials say the employee who was recently removed as the head of the base’s Equal Opportunity Office has been reassigned at the same pay, but will not hold supervisory authority.
Late last year, then director of the base’s EO Office was removed after failing to take complaints of sexual harassment seriously. According to documents released by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, an Air Force investigation found that the director had actively discouraged employees at Hill from filing EOO complaints, illegally modified complaints, gave false or misleading information to complainants seeking to report harassment, and failed to properly identify conflicts of interest.
The employee was not named in publicly available documents and the Air Force has not released the person’s name either.
The probe was instigated by five whistleblowers, including three who consented to the release of their names and two who chose to remain anonymous. The director told one complainant that a report of sexual harassment by a supervisor wouldn’t “go anywhere” or “carry any weight.” The Air Force investigation also concluded the EOO director illegally modified 10 of 11 complaints made by one of the whistleblowers and erroneously eliminated language in the other complaint, essentially rendering the charge meaningless.
The director was also found to have incorrectly informed one complainant that they were not entitled to remain anonymous during the filing process.
Tom Mullican, director of public affairs with Hill’s 75th Air Base Wing, said the individual now holds a non-supervisory position on base, at the same pay grade, assigned as a management analyst in the Ogden Air Logistics Complex. The Ogden ALC is made up of approximately 8,100 personnel who perform repair, overhaul, and modification on planes like the F-35, F-16, F-22, A-10, C-130 and T-38. The complex also performs work on the Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile system and other items like rocket motors, air munitions and guided bombs, software, electronics and other aerospace components.
After running a story on the initial action taken against the employee, the Standard-Examiner received word from another base employee who was concerned that the reassigned former EO director was working for Hill’s Labor Relations Office, which theoretically could also involve sensitive employment issues.
Mullican said the individual has not been assigned to the Labor Relations Office, but does support the office when contacted by persons with labor relations questions or concerns. Specifically, the employee provides administrative support for the Labor Relations Office regarding notification to the office of changes to working conditions and coordination of meetings involving the negotiated grievance process, as well as processing responses to grievances.
Mullican said the employee has been barred from handling any EO-specific complaints.
“Based upon the entirety of evidence from the investigation, the actions taken were appropriate for this case,” Mullican said.
After the investigation, the Air Force also mandated a revised annual training for all EOO staff at Hill and instituted a new set of policies for fielding complaints in the office.
A pair of base attorneys who were found to have failed to identify conflicts of interest were referred to the Professional Responsibility Program for the Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps. That office has initiated a separate inquiry into the allegations of unprofessional conduct.