IG: OPM’s chief financial officer created offensive work environment while at DoD

The Defense Department’s former number-two financial official created an offensive work environment by using sexually suggestive and racially insensitive language and violated the Pentagon’s policies against alcohol in the workplace, according to a DoD inspector general report released Thursday.

Douglas Glenn served in top positions in the DoD comptroller’s office from December 2018 through November 2021, when he took his current job as the chief financial officer at the Office of Personnel Management. Since Glenn...

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The Defense Department’s former number-two financial official created an offensive work environment by using sexually suggestive and racially insensitive language and violated the Pentagon’s policies against alcohol in the workplace, according to a DoD inspector general report released Thursday.

Douglas Glenn served in top positions in the DoD comptroller’s office from December 2018 through November 2021, when he took his current job as the chief financial officer at the Office of Personnel Management. Since Glenn is no longer a DoD employee, the IG forwarded its findings to the OPM administrator for “appropriate action.”

An OPM spokesman said the agency was currently reviewing the report, adding only that OPM is committed to upholding a professional and respectful workplace. Glenn, reached by email Thursday evening, declined to comment.

But according to the report, investigators from the IG’s administrative investigations unit were able to substantiate several instances, initially reported by an anonymous whistleblower, of Glenn “failing to treat subordinates with dignity and respect.”

For instance, the IG concluded he violated DoD’s Joint Ethics Regulation when he allegedly made sexually-charged comments to and in front of subordinates, including by telling one subordinate she was a “hot blonde” — among other comments about the attractiveness of female employees — and using the phrase “all balls, no bush” during an office meeting.

In another case, according to a witness the IG found credible, Glenn was reported to have told another subordinate, presumably on vacation, that he “hoped some studly guy would be rubbing oil on her back at the beach.”

Asked by investigators about the comments, Glenn denied making them, and said they “did not sound like anything he would say.”

The IG also faulted Glenn for several instances of what investigators characterized as racially insensitive encounters with staff.

Employees investigators interviewed reported they were “appalled, surprised, betrayed, stunned and very confused” by remarks Glenn made on racial issues.

During one particular encounter, in a February 2021 all-hands meeting, Glenn appears to have attempted to discuss about how people can view circumstances differently. He chose to illustrate his point by referencing remarks Barack Obama had made eight years earlier, when the former president noted that black Americans experience racial discrimination on a daily basis, like being followed around in department stores or hearing the sound of vehicle doors’ locks clicking when they walk by on city streets.

Glenn appeared to disagree with Obama’s characterization of those sorts of experiences, however, and later defended his remarks to investigators.

“There’s two ways to look at that,” he said. “Who are the people in the car that are locking their doors? Maybe they’re racists. Maybe they’re looking at a black man and assuming that there’s a high potential for being robbed. Or maybe they’re just following National Highway Administration [sic] guidelines to lock your doors when you drive. It could be either.”

The report also notes at least one instance in which Glenn used the “N-word” in the workplace. The term wasn’t directed toward specific individuals, but employees found it offensive and inappropriate that a senior leader would ever use the full word in any workplace setting. Investigators agreed.

The IG also found Glenn violated the department’s policies on alcohol in the workplace. There, the IG concluded he’d kept wine and distilled spirits in his office, and occasionally drank with co-workers after business hours.

Federal regulations forbid alcoholic beverages anywhere in the Pentagon without explicit, written authorization from Washington Headquarters Services or the heads of the Army, Navy or Air Force. Glenn told investigators he eliminated alcohol from his office once he became aware of those regulations, but explained that his understanding up until that point was that it was “not uncommon to drink alcohol in your office after hours.”

The DoD IG first began its investigation into Glenn in March 2021 when the DoD general counsel forwarded anonymous whistleblower complaints to the inspector general. Several of those claims turned out to be unsubstantiated, or not violative of any specific policy, according to the report.

To reach its conclusions, the IG interviewed 18 subordinates who had day-to-day interactions with Glenn during his tenure as a senior DoD official.

Of those, eight employees variously described him as “professional, caring, approachable, straightforward, easygoing, friendly, honest and personable.” Another said he was a “good listener and great mentor.”

But even among his admirers, at least one told investigators that his remarks caused them to lose “a little bit of respect for him as a leader.”

 

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