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Critic of U.S. contract in Iraq gets demotion


Critic of U.S. contract in Iraq gets demotion
By Eric Eckholm The New York Times

MONDAY, AUGUST 29, 2005
NEW YORK A top U.S. Army contracting official who criticized a large, noncompetitive Iraq contract with the Halliburton Company was demoted for what the army called a poor job performance.

The official, Bunnatine Greenhouse, is a 20-year veteran of military procurement and for the last several years had been the chief overseer of contracts at the Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that has managed much of the reconstruction work in Iraq.

The demotion on Saturday removed her from the elite Senior Executive Service and reassigned her to a lesser job in the corps' civil works division.

Greenhouse's lawyer, Michael Kohn, called the action "obvious reprisal" for the strong objections she raised in 2003 to a series of corps decisions involving the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown Root, which has garnered more than $10 billion for work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"She is being demoted because of her strict adherence to procurement requirements and the army's preference to sidestep them when it suits their needs," he said in an interview Sunday

Carol Sanders, spokeswoman for the Army Corps of Engineers, said Sunday that the action against Greenhouse had been approved by the Department of the Army. And in a memorandum dated June 3, 2005, as the demotion was being arranged, the commander of the corps, Lieutenant General Carl Strock, said the administrative record "clearly demonstrates that Ms. Greenhouse's removal from the SES is based on her performance and not in retaliation for any disclosures of alleged improprieties that she may have made."

Known as a stickler for the rules on competition, Greenhouse initially received stellar performance ratings. But her reviews grew critical after she began objecting to decisions she saw as improperly favoring KBR. Often she hand-wrote her concerns on the contract documents, a practice that corps leaders called unprofessional and confusing.

In October 2003, Strock, citing two consecutive performance reviews that called Greenhouse an uncooperative manager, informed her that she would be demoted.

Greenhouse fought the demotion through official channels, and publicly Greenhouse's lawyer, Michael Kohn, called the action "obvious reprisal" for described her clashes with corps leaders over a five-year, $7 billion oil-repair contract that had been awarded - in secret - to KBR. She had argued that if urgency required a no-bid contract, its duration should be brief.

Greenhouse had also fought the granting of a waiver to KBR in December 2003, approving the high prices it had paid for fuel imports for Iraq, and had objected to the automatic extension of a large contract to the company for logistical support in the Balkans. Her demotion was delayed when the army's senior legal officials said they would first seek an independent review of her reprisal complaint. "The army has reviewed this matter to the Department of Defense Inspector General for their review and action, as appropriate," said an Oct. 22, 2004, letter to her lawyer from Robert Fano, chief of civilian personnel law.

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"You are either with us or against us." Yes, that's how it went and the rest of it is "if you're against us, we are going to hurt you." What do you think it will take for America to wake up to the evil cabal that is running this country?

It saddens me to know that so many people that oppose this administration and how it operates, are either outright fired or demoted.

But, if you fix the facts to pave the way for their lies and deceptions you are promoted or given medals.

Someone who has passed computers 101 should do a story on promotions and demotions and plaster it on the front pages of every newspaper. Not that it would do any good. repubs still can't tell the difference.

A press with a semblance of integrity would help

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