When last we checked in with Jeanette Hanna, a polarizing official at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, she was making waves with an unspecified “personnel matter” and a controversial posting in Washington.
Now we’ve seen an inspector general report revealing that her 775-day detail to Washington, which ended in February 2012, cost taxpayers nearly $178,000 — and oh, what a trip it was.
According to the damning IG findings, Hanna (who is still employed by the Interior Department) spent more than $30,000 to rent an SUV, when rules say she should have gotten a cheaper compact car, and frittered away more than $33,000 renting a hotel room that sat empty while she traveled back to her home in Oklahoma for a whopping 283 days of her detail.
She also tried to get reimbursement for a full per-diem payment during the time she spent in Washington (even though rules say employees should only get 55 percent of the per diem during such extended trips)
When the Loop contacted the Interior Department, which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs, for a comment, a spokeswoman said the report “speaks for itself.”
Money aside, the IG report also paints Hanna as a bit of a nightmare boss. According to a preliminary report into complaints, while a regional director in Oklahoma, Hanna installed 40 extra security cameras for her office “with live feeds, to monitor employees.” Some underlings “were physically shaking” during interviews about her, according to an investigator, “and feared retribution,” the report notes.
(Then there are the findings from a previous investigation, discussed in the report, that she had a “relationship with a contractor” and that she “apparently harassed a BIA employee.”)
Her own boss, though, seemed to like her just fine. Paul Tsosie, chief of staff to the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, granted her waivers to get the SUV and to maintain housing in D.C.while she travelled home — and he even approved her per diem request, though it was ultimately denied, the report states.
When Hanna filed a complaint under the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, Tsosie tried to help her settle it for six figures, even though it was finally dismissed as being without merit.
And in what might be the ultimate lesson for would-be Washington climbers, the report indicated that he put up with her for a single reason. “Tsosie admitted Hanna could be abrasive but said: ‘All I know is she gets my work done.’”
An Interior officials says the agency took the report “seriously and has acted on the issues raised.” They’ve also “put in place additional checks” to avoid any repititions.