The head of the union representing employees at the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is seeking the resignation of administrator Robert Listenbee, saying the agency has “spiraled out of control” and morale has plummeted, reports the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. “I just don't see how Mr. Listenbee can legitimately lead OJJDP forward through the crisis that his employees are currently facing,” said Marilyn Moses, president of Local 2830 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
Moses has conducted interviews with 20 unionized workers, about half of those at the agency (among 70 employees) since last summer. She found a climate of fear of retaliation for dissent and a lack of a clear vision from Listenbee and his top aides. Juvenile justice advocates and OJJDP staffers hailed President Obama's appointment of Listenbee in 2013, saying the Philadelphia juvenile defense attorney and juvenile justice reformer would improve morale and bring direction to the agency. One employee asserted that morale has sunk much lower than it was under former administrator Robert Flores, a George W. Bush appointee who resigned in 2009 after 6½ years at the helm amid a scandal over awarding discretionary grants.