The Interior Department has reprimanded its chief personnel official, John F. McKune, in an outgrowth of a job discrimination complaint filed over a year ago by a former employee of the National Park Service.
McKune, personnel director for five years, said yesterday that he was reprimanded by Richard R. Hiite, deputy assistant secretary of interior for policy, budget and administration, on July 22. Under Secretary of Interior James Alfred Joseph said yesterday that McKune has appealed the reprimand to him.
"I demanded that it be removed," McKune said of the action against him. He is a GS-17 and was executive vice president for operations of Motown Industries, primarily a recording company, prior to becoming the Interior Department's personnel chief.
A spokesman for the Civil Service Commission said yesterday that an official reprimand of a department's top personnel official was "unusual."
A reprimand, the spokesman said, "does not have pocketbook effect . . . It is in a category lower than an appealable action" such as a firing, suspension or downgrading.
However, the spokesman said a reprimand letter in an executive's personnel file could affect promotion.
McKune said yesterday that he appealed the reprimand to Joseph on Tuesday and Joseph said it may be decided next week. If McKine's appeal fails, he said he intends to file a formal grievance.
The controversy involves a job discrimination complaint filed by Jeanne E. Randall, now women's program coordinator for the Defense Department. A government source who requested anonymity said that Randall sought a promotion while working at the National Park Service and that McKune "held it up a year." He said a white male was given the position. Randall is black.
Randall refused to comment on the issue yesterday. "It would not be in my best interests to have a story at this time," she said. Both Under Secretary Joseph and Irving Kator, Randall's attorney, indicated that the dispute may end up in court.
"I will not confirm anything," Randall said. "Until it goes to court I don't think it should be written up and given publicity."
Kator said that "there's been no formal decision from the department" on Randall's discrimination complaint. He said the McKune reprimand is "an outgrowth of this case" and "that was done in their good judgment" on it.
Kator said he had not sought a reprimand of McKune. "There's no way we can force the department to reprimand him," Kator said.