Skip to comments.Civil rights led amiss
Posted on 12/13/2004 10:27:42 PM PST by Former Military Chick
Mary Frances Berry, U.S. Civil Rights Commission chairman, is resigning. Those scratch marks on the floor may be from her fingernails as they dragged her from the building by her feet. Miss Berry has been a member of the commission for 24 of its 47 years -- a record probably unmatched even in Washington, a city of sinecures.
She isn't exactly going quietly. Until a few days ago, Miss Berry was preparing for a legal fight with the Bush administration over the duration of her term. She insisted her tenure did not end until Jan. 21, though her contract specifically has her last day as Dec. 5. She now acknowledges a legal battle over a six-week stint might be a little much.
Miss Berry departs with mismanagement accusations swirling about her. The commission is small potatoes, Washington-wise, with a budget of only $9 million and a staff of 70. But no one knows how that money has been spent over the last 12 years, while Miss Berry presided with an iron hand.
Peter Kirsanow, a black conservative commission member, says the agency management is "completely dysfunctional." Recordkeeping is called "indecipherable," and there has been no independent audit (required by law) for 12 years.
The mismanagement was not limited to money. Miss Berry ran the place like a Soviet commissar, holding all the levers of power and ruthlessly stifling dissent. Miss Berry made sure her personal stamp was on every document issued by the panel. Even when in the minority of commission members, she would suppress the majority view and publish her own.
(Excerpt) Read more at insider.washingtontimes.com ...
Contrary Mary Berry is finally gone. No one has been around in Washington as long as she was. With a conservative majority on the Civil Rights Commission, hopefully things will begin to turn around in an area marked by political grandstanding, strife, and division.
When I read of audits required by federal law that have never been made, I ask, "Why isn't somebody going to jail?"