Seven members of an 11-member committee set up to advise the D.C. Office of Consumer Protection resigned yesterday in protest of they called "mismanagement" by Bettie J. Robinson, director of the office.
The group, led by consumer advocate Ann Browm, called a press conference in front of the mayor's office in the District Building to announce the resignations, and issue a report that said describes how the director "harassed" consumer protection office employes and fired a number of them "unnecessarily."
Archie Richardson, a member of the Advisory Committee to the D.C. Office of Consumer Protection, who was among those who resigned, said the consumer protection office has had "marginal effectiveness in every category . . . Its present leadership is turning it into total shambles-it is in chaos."
Robinson, who later held a press conference in her office to respond to the charges, said: "My reaction is that it is a continuance of a vendetta by Ann Brown and Archie Richardson."
"The advisory commtittee has no authority to call for my resignation or oversee the activity of the office . . . ," Robinson said.
The director said she had "no intention of stepping down," and added, "I am certainly happy that members of the advisory committee have resigned."
Criticism of the Office of Consumer Protection began shortly after Robinson was appointed by Mayor Walter Washington to replace former director Eduth Barksdale-Sloan in Oct. 1977.*tThe criticism has focused on the dismissal of two former top level adninistrators in the consumer protection office as well as those of several CETA employes.
Robinson said she fired those employes in an effort to develop a more "dedicated staff that doesn't complain about working overtime or working on Saturday."
She explained that these CETA workers "were part of the hard-core unemployed" that "had problems doing their jobs adequately."
The report by the advisory committee, however,asserted that members of Robinson's staff had their job assignments reduced by Robinson and were unfairly dismissed.
According to Richardson, "Consumers in the District of Columbia, under the administration of Bettie J. Robinson, are not receiving the protection and services which they are entitled to receive from the office of Consumer Protection." He added that the former director, Barksdale-Sloan. "worked with us."
The committee is composed of representatives of business and consumer groups, and was formed more than two years ago.