Forget toxic waste dumps, the Environmental Protection Agency apparently has a more immediate cleanup problem in its own backyard: An employee defecating in the hallway.
GovernmentExecutive.com, the government’s business news daily and key website for federal managers and executives, reported Wednesday that the EPA management for Region 8 in Denver sent an e-mail earlier this month to staff pleading to stop inappropriate bathroom behavior, including defecating in the hallway.
In the e-mail, obtained by Government Executive, Deputy Regional Administrator Howard Cantor noted “several incidents” in the building, including clogging the toilets with paper towels and “an individual placing feces in the hallway” outside the restroom.
“Management is taking this situation very seriously and will take whatever actions are necessary to identify and prosecute these individuals,” Cantor wrote.
According to the e-mail, a consultant was brought in to address the problems.
That email says “the consultant advised us that this is very dangerous behavior as it includes property destruction and a disregard for the health and safety of others.”
The email goes on to say behavior that includes the destruction of property and disregard for human health is classified as attack-related behavior.
EPA spokesman Richard Mylott told Government Executive in a statement that the agency could not comment on “ongoing personnel matters.”
On Thursday morning, the EPA released the following statement:
Mental illness and destructive behavior in the workplace are serious issues that all large organizations must periodically face. EPA’s actions in response to incidents that occurred months ago have been deliberate and have focused on our responsibility to ensure a safe work environment for our employees. Our brief consultation with Dr. Nicoletti on this matter, a resource who regularly provides our office with training and expertise on workplace issues, reflects that responsibility.
It’s unclear who defecated in the hallway at the EPA, but 9NEWS Psychologist Dr. Max Wachtel says whoever it is might suffer from some sort of mental illness.
“It can be. It can a symptom of cognitive problems. It can be a symptom of psychosis, and it can be a symptom of substance abuse. Sometimes it’s just an extremely immature person,” Wachtel said.