When James A. Gouryeb, director of the Farmers Home Administration in New Jersey, also was put in charge of the FmHA offices in the U.S. Virgin Islands earlier this year, he did not like what he found there.
"The present state of Virgin Islands' operations is shockingly appalling and revoltingly deficient," Gouryeb wrote in a Feb. 14 memo. "As a group, Virgin Islands FmHA employes are a disgrace to Farmers Home. Their collective performance has defiled every Farmers Home tradition and principle. Without question, Virgin Islands FmHA personnel have become an agency humiliation."
Ten days later, in a memo to Virgin Islands' employes, Gouryeb described the St. Thomas office as "utterly disgraceful, disgusting and putrid. Without reservation, without hesitation, without even a scintilla of doubt, it is shockingly evident that the St. Thomas office is a wretched abomination and a loathsome humiliation . . . and it is about to swirl down an annihilating whirlpool."
After an FmHA Virgin Islands employe complained that this was "slander in the most provocative manner," he and his co-workers were reassured in a March 30 memo from FmHA Administrator Charles W. Shuman that "while I believe improvements can be made . . . I do not agree with Mr. Gouryeb's assessment of FmHA Virgin Islands employes."
Shuman also transferred responsibility for operations in the Virgin Islands from Gouryeb to another state director "effective immediately."