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2 NTSB Managers Investigated in Noose Incident

By Ed O'Keefe

By Ashley Halsey III:

Two top managers at the National Transportation Safety Board are under investigation after they left a noose behind when a senior staff meeting ended at the agency's Washington headquarters three weeks ago, an NTSB spokesman said.

The two executives fashioned the noose out of piece of soft rope used for crowd control. They placed it around a name plate bearing the name of a career NTSB executive who recently left the agency and hung it from a wall fixture, according to Peter Knudson of the NTSB.

The action occurred as the meeting after the Aug. 6 meeting of about a dozen NTSB managers broke up. The noose was discovered later by an employee who turned it over to a supervisor. Knudson said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman, who was not present at the meeting, ordered an investigation and sent an e-mail to all agency employees.

"The display was ... very disturbing because of the nature of the image used," Hersman said in the e-mail. "At a minimum, this behavior exhibited insensitivity and lack of judgment, and has no place in our organization."

She said the two managers -- one who held a GS-15 rating and the other a higher Senior Executive Service rating -- would be relieved of their duties until her inquiry was completed.

Continue reading this story >>>

By Ed O'Keefe  | August 21, 2009; 3:10 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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The act of hanging a noose is beyond a joke. The two managers that reportedly left the noose should be fired. It is a symbol of hate that has long been used to intimidate and terrorize Black Americans. It is unfathomable to think that two managers at the GS-15 and SES level are naive enough to perceive that the horrid act had no racial or ethnic intent. Sadly enough, African-American employees in the public sector are too often the subject of such "acts". Accountability is lacking. Such acts must be addressed for what they are --- a symbol of hate. Hopefully, NTSB has not been given flexible pay authority. Too many Federal Agencies with a compromised workforce culture have already been afforded such freedom to the detriment of African-American employees. The hanging noose merely demonstrates how deep racism still lies within the fabric of government. While some may find it difficult to believe, those of us at C4C, Inc. recognize that such oppressive acts have become too common in the Federal government. Moreover, such deplorable acts are frequently dismissed under the heading of "lack of sensitivity". The government is to serve as a model employer; yet it is failing to address such acts by its' own Federal officials that directly and/or indirectly spill into decisions impacting public policy and programs.

Posted by: c4c123 | August 22, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Unless these two folks can produce some sort of 'real' explanation as to the reason for making the noose, I simply agree they must find another place to work. If they are so very skilled at their jobs the NTSB feels they can ill afford to lose these two folks, then some real pain must be exacted in some other fashion. I suggest they be allowed to spend so quality time in sensitivity and diversity lectures. They can learn and suffer the seminar numbness.

Posted by: jumpDOG | August 24, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I once heard that a noose left in a conspicuous spot in the Captain's quarters on a ship is an old sailor's message that there is talk of mutiny brewing amid the crew... it was a way for the sailor who left the noose as a message to the captain to remain anonymous.

I am not sure these guys knew that lore, So it would more likely hold racist connotation in this context.

Posted by: misterdillon | August 24, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I agree that these two individuals need to feel the pain for their actions. I'm sure if they were lower ranking employees they would already be walking the street looking for a job.

I do not agree with the racial aspects of previous posts. Although a noose, was used in racil hangings, it was also used to hang many other races of people.

Additionally, neither of the employees who did this, nor the employee they were mocking were black. So race has absolutely nothing to do with this at all. The posts regarding all this race stuff was nothing but an oppurtunity to wave the race flag as most of your post was more your stance on racism. Quite frankly, I took your post as an opputunity to justify a racial ranting when it obviously had nothing to do with race, nor is a noose "only" a synbol of race hate. This type of grand standing is so typical anymore and it just intensifies the division of people by race and serves no helpful or legitamate purpose.

Stick to the facts of the case. Bringing in all this racial commentary when it has nothing to do with the case in point only continues to raise tensions and demonstrate the universal "its a race thing" to almost everything even when it obviously has absolutely nothing to do with it.

A noose is a noose, and just that. By itself says nothing of race, plenty of whites have been hung as well. Maybe they were simply indicating that the targeted employee hung himself by his actions? Maybe he was fired or forced to resign? We don't know all the facts since the NTSB is not sharing that part. As a government agency they should share it.

Ethier way, its a shame and unprofessional and that's the real issue here.

Posted by: nosvet | August 25, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

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