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BOBB v. ANDRUS

March 31, 1977

Raymond BOBB, Plaintiff,
v.
Cecil D. ANDRUS, Secretary of the Interior, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: PARKER

 PARKER, District Judge.

 Mr. Raymond Bobb, an Indian employee of the Department of the Interior (Interior) alleges in his complaint that while serving with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (Bureau or BIA), he was the target of racial discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. (1972). Specifically, he claims that during the three-year period he served as a management intern as well as during the subsequent reorganization and reduction-in-force (RIF) at the Bureau, he was unlawfully discriminated against because of his Indian background. In addition, he asserts that during the entire period he served at Interior he was denied the benefits of the Indian Preference Act, 25 U.S.C. § 472, et seq. A trial de novo on the complaint was concluded on February 28, 1977. The testimony of the several witnesses has been considered and their credibility determined. The submitted depositions, documentary evidence and exhibits have also been considered.

 Plaintiff's counsel has presented evidence which he contends demonstrates a total lack of commitment on the part of the top staff and line officials of Interior and the Bureau to the Indian preference and equal employment opportunity laws. In addition, several recent studies *fn1" analyzing the management and personnel system at the Bureau have been relied upon to demonstrate the Bureau's lack of a well-defined policy, the insensitivity of its administrators and the mismanagement of its personnel functions. In addition, statistical evidence has been presented to support a claim of systemic and institutionalized discrimination at the Bureau, and testimony has been proffered as to internal factionalism and indifference on the part of its officials to the mission and purposes of the Bureau and the Indian Preference Act.

 If this matter had been designated as a class action, such evidence would have been most relevant and convincing. No class claim is involved in this proceeding, however, and the Court has before it only the individual complaint of Mr. Bobb. Notwithstanding this, the Court has considered and reviewed the entire testimony and evidence presented within the purview of the plaintiff's Title VII complaint and concludes that entry of judgment in favor of the plaintiff is not warranted and that this proceeding should be dismissed. Pursuant to Rule 52, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court enters the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

 I

 Plaintiff's Participation In The Management Intern Program

 Plaintiff Raymond Bobb is an American Indian citizen of the United States. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sacramento State College, Sacramento, California, and at all times relevant to this proceeding was employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the United States Department of the Interior. Defendants Cecil D. Andrus and Raymond V. Butler are respectively the Secretary of the Interior and the Acting Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

 In October of 1971, plaintiff was hired by BIA as a management intern, GS-7/1, and selected, along with eleven other persons, for admission to its Indian Administrator Development Program (Program or IADP). IADP was a program developed by the Bureau which contemplated a three to five year course in which Indians with recognized potential received special training and were encouraged to assume greater responsibility in BIA operations. Under the Program, enrollees would, in close consultation with their supervisors, develop career objectives with the expectation that successful participants would achieve a GS-12 rating upon its completion. Enrollees were told and were aware that they were participants in an "up or out" program. Unsuccessful participants were to be removed without stigma and assigned to appropriate positions. Mr. Bobb participated in the Program until May 9, 1974, when he was dropped as a consequence of poor performance evaluations.

 While enrolled, Bobb participated in a variety of work, training and orientation experiences in different sections of both the Bureau and Interior. Along with other participants, he received periodic written training evaluations from the supervisory personnel to whom he was assigned. These evaluations were not considered to be the regular ratings periodically given to civil service employees, and they were not placed in his personnel folder. They were designed solely to evaluate the participants' progress in the Program and toward that end, considered productiveness, academic course progress, attitude, growth, originality, ability to function without close supervision and other relevant factors. Plaintiff does not dispute that he received a total of six such evaluations during his internship.

 Bobb's first evaluation covering the period from June, 1971 to December, 1972, was generally satisfactory although his supervisor commented unfavorably on his lack of confidence on new assignments. By the time of his next evaluation, plaintiff had been promoted to a GS-9/1 level and had begun to present serious problems. He was rated "inadequate" in five of the seven areas measured and "average" in two. In addition, the evaluation report stated that "[unless] there is a drastic change for the better in Ray Bobb's performance, [the supervisor] . . . could not recommend his continuing in the program." *fn2" Soon thereafter, the author of that report wrote that plaintiff had "very little potential for managerial positions" and was an "employee [who] cannot be depended upon to produce accurate work." *fn3" It was at this point, in late May to early June of 1973, that plaintiff's supervisors and other managers began to document his performance errors.

 On May 18, 1973, plaintiff met with certain training and personnel supervisors of the Bureau to discuss his "unsatisfactory" performance evaluations. On this occasion, Bobb indicated his desire to receive contract compliance officer training at Interior's Office for Equal Opportunity. The supervisors felt that a transfer at that time was inadvisable, however, and arranged for plaintiff to undertake staff personnel management training from June to August, 1973. *fn4" Despite this, Bobb's evaluation reports remained unfavorable. A supervisor's evaluation of August 16, 1973, for example, stated that plaintiff was "too diffident and has shown little initiative, . . . needs close direction, . . . [and] has not demonstrated [a] capacity to perform at the GS-11 level yet." *fn5"

 The plaintiff had an earnest desire to get into contract compliance work and from August, 1973, through approximately mid-April, 1973, he received training at Interior's Office of Equal Opportunity. He understood that this training could not be utilized at the Bureau since BIA had no contract compliance officer positions. Plaintiff's initial evaluation as a trainee in this new assignment was favorable and stated that he had "completed all technical requirements" on given assignments. Indeed, he was recommended for promotions to a Grade GS-11 level. *fn6" This February 13, 1974, evaluation was questioned by Bobb's Training Coordinator at the Bureau, however, because it did not coincide with other information he had received concerning plaintiff's performance on his new assignment. *fn7" A second evaluation was then requested and submitted to the BIA by Interior's Office of Equal Opportunity on April 19, 1974. This evaluation reported an unsatisfactory rating for the plaintiff. *fn8" Both evaluations were prepared by Harold Snegawski, and at trial, by way of explanation, he stated that the latter report reflected new information brought to his attention subsequent to February, 1974. The Court rejects this explanation and finds it unworthy of belief. The Court also finds that the February, 1974, evaluation was overly charitable and did not accurately measure Bobb's performance.

 Despite the contradictions presented by the 1974 evaluation, the preponderance of the credible testimony demonstrates that as a trainee in the IADP, plaintiff fell short of expected standards and was not considered by his supervisors as a good management prospect. This Court finds that the evidence and testimony clearly support that judgment. This Court also finds that there is no credible evidence to support Bobb's contention ...


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