An outside team of investigators has cleared Civil Service Commission officials of charges that they interfered with or failed to take corrective action in recent discrimination cases.
The investigative team, led by Washington attorney Mitchell Rogovin, also dismissed charges by the commission's director of equal employment opportunity, Clinton Smith, that commission employes subjected him to reprisals and intimidation as a result of decisions he had made.
After charting the labyrinthine procedural and psychological channels of the decision-making process, the investigators concluded instead that the charges were sparked by inter-office "bickering . . . a lack of communication, personality clashes, understaffing," and other burautic handicaps.
Smith's charges had steemed in part from a celebrated discrimination case involving Peggy Griffiths, a black commission lawyer. Griffins had charge commission officials with discrimination on the basis of race and sex and eventually won, in a court-approved settlement, a $43,592-a-year job as chairman of the commission's appeal review board.
Smith had ruled in her favor at the administrative level.
Although the Rogovin report finds that Smith "correctly identified violations" by commission employes in the case, it says that he apparently "mispercieved" some aspects that led him mistakenly to suspect a conspiracy.
Smith declined yesterday to comment on the findings until he has had a chance to review them. He said only that he has accepted an offer to stay on and expand his EEO duties at the commission in a belief that the present commissioners share his desire for "a strong EEO program that can serve as a model for other agencies."
The discrimination findings were contained in documents released yesterday concerning a range of allegations, some dating to the late 1960s, that top political officials and career bureaucrats had conspired to manipulate the civil service rules for political or personal ends. Among those accused were commission officials who were supposed to be watchdogs against such activities.
On the older allegations, as The Washington Post reported yesterday, the Rogovin team concluded that the evidence did not warrant legal or other action against any current officials.
Critics in Congress and elsewhere have pressured the Carter administration to take some action against commission employes held over from the Nixon era who were the targets of the allegations.
The allegations have been the subject of a long series of investigations, including one by an arm of the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee and another by the commission itself. The Justice Department also found insufficient evidence for prosecution in cases it looked into.
Carter's commission chairman Alan K. Campbell hired the Rogovin firm last November in an effort to resolve the charges once and for all. The investigation cost nearly $300,000.
Campbell also released yesterday a controversial document known as the Lyle report. It was prepared by attorney Edward Lyle for the Carter transition team as a possible basis for further investigation into the range of charges ultimately covered by the Rogovin report.