Clinton calls for ‘more leeway’ in disciplining employees

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said her hands were tied by federal regulations as she contemplated disciplinary actions for department officials who were negligent in preventing attacks on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, according to congressional testimony.

At the House hearings on the Sept. 11, 2012 attack that left four Americans dead, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stephens, Clinton said four State employees were punished but not fired after an investigation. They are all currently on administrative leave. To dismiss an employee, Clinton said, the report would have had to show a “breach of duty.”

“Under federal statute and regulations, unsatisfactory leadership is not grounds for finding a breach of duty," she said. "And the [report] did not find that these four individuals breached their duty."

One of the four employees -- Assistant Secretary of State Eric Boswell -- resigned from his position but not from the department entirely, according to Fox News.

Clinton called the personnel restriction a “problem” and said she has submitted legislation to fix it.

“There ought to be more leeway,” she told the House Foreign Relations Committee.

Committee member Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said she thought the State employees got off easy.

“I'm sure that Congress will work on this important issue so that those held responsible for ignoring repeated requests for more security will not continue to enjoy their paid vacations, which is what administrative leave with salary is," Ros-Lehtinen said.

The House passed legislation late in the last Congress to suspend pay for any federal employee under investigation, but the bill was never picked up in the Senate. It defined wrongdoing as an employee accused of misappropriation of funds or other job-related misconduct. 
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.