General Counsel Algie Lewis of the D.C. Office of Human Rights said last week that most complaints against the city government by its employees are caused by "some little Hitler (in a city agency) abusing his position."
Lewis made his comment to the City Council Committee on Government Operations, which is holding a series of public hearings on three proposals for a new District government personnel system.
"Ninety-eight per cent of the charges of discrimination in the District government are attributable to abuse of already existing regulations by an agency head," said Lewis.
"Usually it is a case of someone being denied a promotion because the boss doesn't like somthing about them - some typist who won't date socially with her supervisors, some guy who won't play by the rules of the little Hitler's fiefdom or some old lady who someone decides is too old," Lewis said.
Lewis later said he did not mean to infer by "date socially" that any female city workers had been fired or not promoted because they refused to have sex with their supervisors.
Frank Anderson, assistant director of the office, said that he knows of only one case of sexual harassment that was brought by a city worker against her supervisors.
That complaint was registered by a policewoman in 1975 but was dismissed because the office's investigators and judges could not find evidence or probably cause for the complaint, he said.
The Office of Human Rights hears all employee grievances against the city.
Anderson said city workers presently have 60 grievance cases pending against their supervisors. Most cases are resolved within a few months, he said.
Lewis, who also testified that some city agency administrators are "incompetents who hide their incompetence behind their authority," was one of about 30 witnesses who appeared before the council committee.Former and current city employees, heads of unions that represent city workers and representatives of various branches of the city government testified at the meeting, held at Coolidge High School.
The hearings are focusing on two city council proposals and one mayoral proposal.
The District must have a new personnel system, which is independent of the federal civil service system, by 1980, according to the city's home rule charter.
Simon Banks, a former employee of the Human Rights Commission, told the committee that the current personnel system allows for autocratic decisions by administrators.
Banks said his' job was abolished by James Baldwin, director of the Office of Human Rights, after banks wrote a letter to the mayor criticizing Baldwin for disconnecting the commission's phones for 20 days and repeatedly failing to inform persons involved in cases that they could appeal Baldwin's decisions to the Human Rights Commission.
"It was retaliation, pure and simple," Banks said. "He (Baldwin) surreptitiously, fraudulently and deceitfully abolished my position in retailation for that letter to the mayor."
Banks said Baldwin was able to remove him from his job because Baldwin controlled a grant from the Comprehensive Employment Training Act, which paid Banks' wages. Anderson, Baldwin's assistant, said Banks' job was abolished because Baldwin felt the funds could be better used elsewhere.
Banks said he filed suit against Baldwin last September, asking for $35,000 in damages. Anderson said the superior court ruled against Banks. Banks is appealing.
Also testifying last week was George Harrod, city director of personnel and a supporter of the mayor's prosposal for the new personnel system.
The mayor's plan calls for modeling the city system on the federal system, retaining federal features such as GS levels for the promotion and pay of employees.
The city council's proposal, which was drafted by Arrington Dixon, would divorce the city from the federal system, except for retirement and health and life insurance plans. It calls for the creation of an office of personnel and an office of employment appeals and inspection. The Dixon plan also includes a public employee relations board that would monitor the city and organizations representing city employees for unfair labor practices.
A second city council bill would grant the council veto power over the mayor's appointments of city department heads.
The second bill was proposed separately so that the mayor's expected veto would not wipe out the rest of council's plan for the new personnel system, according to Bruce French, a member of Dixon's legislative staff.
The city council has long attempted to curtail the mayor's power to appoint the heads of city agencies without the council's consent. Most city councils have veto power over high-level appointments by mayors but the District council has consistently failed to in its efforts to affect the mayor's appointments.
Harrod said some provisions of the council proposals are illegal because they fail to protect the current wages and benefits of city employees.
The city charter says employees should not lose any benefits or wages when the city's own perosnnel system is created.
Harrod added that the city council's plan would allow for collective bargaining by city employee unions on pay, leave and work hours. He said this could cripple the city government because each of the 50 unions that represent city workers could ask for different wages, work hours and vacation periods.
Asked how the mayor's plan would handle collective bargaining and residency requirements, Harrod said the mayor's propsoal was still under reviews by the corporation counsel's office.
At that point Dixon threatened to end the meeting because he said the mayor's plan was incomplete and the public did not have a full set of proposals to comment on.
He continued the hearing, however, because he said he did not want to deny persons who had prepared testimony the opportunity to give it.
Most of the testimony, ironically, was opposed to Dixon's proposal, although his plan for an office of employee appeals and inspections was generally applauded.
Unions representing policemen and firemen said a residency requirement in Dixon's plans was unfair and challenged the plan's wage and employee benefit system.
"People are always reluctant to change over to something new, which is what Dixon's bill represents," said one of Dixon's staff members. "What they're saying is what will happen, Arrington? Are you sure we aren't losing anything?"
Hearings next Wednesday and on May 4 will be held in the city council hearing chambers in the District Building.