Sen. Wendell Ford, (D-Ky.), has called for the resignation of Consumer Product Safety Commission chairman S. John Byington because of several "personnel abuses" cited in a report about the CPSC just released by the Civil Service Commission.
In a related development, the CPSC Director of Personnel David Dunn resigned his post on Thursday, the same day the Civil Service Report was sent to the CPSC.
If Byinton doesn't resign, Ford said in a telephone interview from Kentucky last night, "I am going to ask the president to fire him."
The Civl Service report detailed in The Washington Post yesterday, accuses Byington and other CPSC officials of favoritism in at least 30 personnel decisions. In one case, Byington was accused of hiring a former associate in his old law firm as a highly paid consultant to the CPSC.
"I have always alluded to the possibility of getting rid of Byington," Ford said. As chairman of Senate Commerce Consumer subcommittee hearings last April, Ford heard testimony alleging several improver hiring practices, and charges of favoritism.
"It is obvious that he is a blatant, glib-tongued individual," Ford said. Ford also said he would try to communicate with President Carter over the weekend.
Calling the Civil Service Commission report "a thorough and well-documented investigation that confirms my earlier suspicions that Mr. Byington and his immediate employees have engaged in a systematic effort to subvert the merit and promotion principles that are essential to the proper functioning of this important regulations agency."
Meanwhile, Byington reiterated his earlier charges that the Civil Service Report was "political harrassment," because he was one of two remaining Republicans heading an agency.
He also sent a letter to Civil Service Commission chairman Alan K. Campbell asking Campbell to approve the hiring, on a temporary basis, "of an accomplished expert in the federal personnel system to assist us in addressing the allegations and concerns raised in the Civil Service report." Byington has suggested the creation of a "blue-ribbon" panel to stdy the matters.
Byington sent still another letter to Sen. Ford, Senator William Proxmire, (D-Wisc.) and other senators asking that they meet with him to discuss the report. The move was an apparent attempt by Byington to head off another congressional investigation into the practices charged in the Civil Service report.
Two California Democratic congressmen who had a major part in getting the Civil Service Commission to look into the CPSC, John Moss and Henry Waxman, were pleased with the thoroughness of hthe report, with Waxman calling it "timely and meticulously documented."
The release of the Civil Service Report rekindled some animosity between several staff and Byington.
The rift stems back to several public statements by Byington about the incompetance of many of his Civil Service employees.
During a recent radio show, Byington said one third of the employees in the government "would be a success in anything they went into. Another third of the people give you a good solid day's work. But the other third of the people are a distaster and the sooner that they were gone the better off everybody would be."
In response, an anonymous employee wrote a poem that was makihg the rounds at the commission yesterday. It said, in part:
"And then there's our leader, the provider of Esprit De Corps.,
"Who said that one third of us aren't worth much anymore.
"Of course it's obvious and very plain to see . . .
"Which third is he of the commissioners three."