The Dishonorable Response












December 17, 2008

Two weeks ago Deputy Secretary of the Department of Labor Cinta Kaipat put out an interim report on PL 15-108. Rep. Tina Sablan politely requested some additional information in an email to Kaipat. Her response was received in the form of an email from "volunteer" Deanne Siemer who mistakenly sent an email intended for Cinta Kaipat to Tina. I published both the email and Tina's response in the post, Before you hit the send button....

I also said that it would be interesting to see if Deanne Siemer would take the right and honorable action and apologize to the congresswoman. Well, no she did not. In fact she lied, took more unjustified digs at Tina, and finished her email in a self-serving crescendo.  

Here is Deanne Siemer's response to Rep. Sablan's email:

Date: Sun, Dec 7, 2008 at 6:55 AM
Subject: Greetings!
To: Tina Sablan

Dear Representative Sablan:

We have finally reached the weekend, and I have some time to get to accumulated e-mails. Presidential transitions are always an exciting, fun, and busy time in Washington, and this time my work load seems especially large.

You wrote about an e-mail I sent to you. This is my response: You are mistaken; there was no mistake.

I have a few suggestions for your consideration in this regard:

First: A sense of humor is useful in public service: In the past, you have accused me (wrongly) of ghost-writing certain documents. You sent me an e-mail (to be more accurate, a copy of an e-mail) demanding information from the Labor Department. My immediate reaction was to draft a mock ghost-written response and send it to you as a matter of humor. Every sentence was a parody of statements you have made to me in the past. I thought it was amusing; you did not. So be it. I should have remembered the incident when you visited the Department of Labor, Barry Hirshbein made a joke about the termites in the attic of the Department's rather old building, and you immediately sent out a demand that the Department produce a complete accounting as to termite activity in the attic. I can assure you that I did not send this e-mail to Cinta Kaipat. It was intended for you and sent to you.

Second: A sense of collegiality is important in public service: I have said to you in the past that continually throwing stones at your colleagues in the Legislature is not productive. They were elected, just like you were (some of them by many more votes), and working with them collegially is the best way to get important things done for the Commonwealth. I have the same suggestion with respect to the Labor Department. Constant criticism and demands with respect to relatively minor matters is probably unproductive. The leadership and the employees at the Department are doing an outstanding job, given the limited funding for their activities, the aged building in which they work, and the amount of work to be done every week of the year. The Department is one of the busiest and best-performing departments in the government, and it is certainly one of the most transparent. The Deputy Secretary sends the Legislature quite a lot of information on a regular basis. I recall that your response to my suggestion with respect to your colleagues in the Legislature was that you intended to "have more than half of them replaced in the next election." And you could well have the same view of the leadership of the Labor Department. But I still think that working with people gets more done.

Third: A sense of priorities is essential in public service: The Commonwealth is in a serious economic depression. As a member of the Legislature, it would be most valuable to the Commonwealth if you had a plan for economic recovery, drafts of legislation that could help achieve recovery, and a coalition that could pass that legislation. Your e-mail inquiry to the Department of Labor about a possible change in policy with respect to TWAs issued in NLRB cases is a matter that affects very few foreign workers, is not currently an issue with anyone, and might better be put lower on a list of priorities. In any case, any concerns you might have could be dealt with quickly and efficiently by a phone call to the Deputy Secretary.

Fourth: Volunteers who do community service without compensation make valuable contributions, especially during an economic depression of the length and breadth of the one gripping the Commonwealth right now. I work at various tasks for the Commonwealth, without compensation, for three reasons. First, I believe in the vision that the Commonwealth's "great generation" had when they negotiated the Covenant. They did something that had never been done before in the history of the United States, and they were successful because they were careful, thoughtful, and courageous. Second, I have always liked the people of the Commonwealth. I find them to be smart, capable, kind, generous, and (for the most part) possessed of a good sense of humor. I believe that the people of the Commonwealth can solve their own problems. Thirty years is not a long time in the history of governments. People should expect that there would be false starts and mistaken judgments along the way. But the Commonwealth's citizens can be relied on to make the right choices over the long run. Third, there is no one else available to do this work that urgently needs to be done.

I recently returned from a week-long business trip to India where I stayed in the Taj Hotel, departing only three days before the terrorists arrived. Seeing the images on television of the floor on which my room was located go up in flames was certainly a good reminder that these are extraordinarily difficult times, not just in the Commonwealth, but around the world.

In terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.

Regards,

Deanne

Deanne Siemer
Managing Director Wilsie Co. LLC
4242 Mathewson Dr. NW Washington, D.C. 20011
Office: 202 726-6269 Fax: 202 829-7598 Cell: 202 --- -----
______________________________

Many words and phrases come to mind after reading that email: arrogance, audacity, self-serving, untruthful, jealousy, delusional, sad, impolite, odd, shameful, embarrassing, out of line, dishonorable, self-righteous,  and unprofessional are among them.  Who does she think she is addressing? Does Ms. Siemer not understand that she is speaking to an elected official, a member of the Legislature, and one of the most loved and respected people in the CNMI? 

A simple, "I am so sorry I sent that inappropriate email to you.  Please accept my humble apology," would have been an honorable and proper response. This was not, and it reflects very poorly on the writer.  

In contrast, here is the response to that email from Rep. Tina Sablan:

From: Tina Sablan
Date: Wed, Dec 17, 2008 at 1:09 PM
Subject: Re: Greetings!
To: Deanne Siemer

Dear Ms. Siemer,

Your latest email has only heightened my concerns about the legitimacy and propriety of your role in the CNMI government, and the services you provide as a government "volunteer."

I agree that volunteers can offer invaluable contributions, especially during times of economic difficulty. But when the "services" of government volunteers include, among other things: 1) sending grossly unprofessional emails to legislators in response to serious inquiries, and then claiming these emails were "jokes"; 2) offering unsolicited political advice to elected officials, and totally inflammatory and inappropriate advice to Department of Labor officials; 3) drafting statutes and regulations that together result in a labor program that is plagued with inconsistencies and ambiguities; 4) handling confidential documents; 5) writing official correspondence and reports; 6) serving as a labor hearing officer; 7) serving as special legal counsel for the governor; 8) representing the local government in meetings with federal officials; and 9) goading our bankrupt local government into an imprudent and costly lawsuit against the federal government --then critical questions about accountability naturally arise. Who exactly holds such "volunteers" accountable, and by what standards? What liabilities might such "volunteers" incur for the government? As you have plainly stated to me on several occasions, as a volunteer you answer to no one, not even the Governor, and you do as you please.

Second, my questions regarding potential policy changes at the Department in handling requests for Temporary Work Authorizations by foreign workers with pending cases, was not only with respect to the "few" workers who have filed cases with NLRB, but with respect to all workers who have filed cases with EEOC, NLRB, U.S. Department of Labor, etc. I understand there are many such workers who might be affected, although exactly how many is difficult to say at this time because the Department apparently does not keep such records. According to the Department's letter to Rep. Salas and myself dated August 22, 2008, in response to our inquiries, the Department does not "extract from its data any statistics with respect to the number of EEOC, NLRB, and U.S. Department of Labor cases involving foreign national workers" (p.2). If your response to my previous email to the Deputy Secretary regarding TWAs for workers with pending cases with EEOC, NLRB, and U.S. Department of Labor, was truly a "joke," then I continue to hope for a serious answer from the Department.

Third, just to clarify -- I did not send a letter demanding "a complete accounting as to termite activity in the attic" at the Department. During a legislative tour of the department in July, I inquired about recordkeeping procedures at the Department, particularly with respect to administrative orders, and was informed by the Director of Labor that files that are older than two years are virtually inaccessible, locked away on the termite infested third floor of the building, and in disarray. At no point did the Director indicate to me that he was "joking," and I did not find his statement to be amusing. Rather, I was seriously concerned, as was Rep. Ed Salas, who was then chair of the Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Labor and also present at that tour, and we sent a joint letter to the Department that expressed these and other concerns and requested clarification. The Department's response, much like your latest email, indicated that the statement had been "a joke."

The Department recently began referring workers with unpaid labor awards to Small Claims Court, claiming that it is unable to enforce its own orders. Questions were raised not only about this new policy but also about the Department's recordkeeping procedures when the Department began asking workers to bring in copies of their unpaid judgments. These unpaid claims collectively amount to over six million dollars, and are now the subject of a class action lawsuit against the Department. Does the Department take these claims, and the lawsuit seriously? Or are these also "relatively minor matters?" Are these also "jokes" to you, and to the Department? For my part, I am more troubled than ever.

Finally, there is no denying that the Commonwealth is in dire need of leaders with a plan, a vision, a sense of priorities, etc. Your unprofessional conduct, joking or not, is a distracting waste of time and a poor demonstration of any sense of priorities and direction in the Department, and the Administration, that you sometimes represent.

Sincerely,



Tina Sablan


--
Tina Sablan
House of Representatives
16th CNMI Legislature
PO Box 500586
Saipan, MP 96950
Tel: (670) 664-8931
Cel: (670) 285-3935
Email: tinasablan@gmail.com or
rep.sablanc@cnmileg.gov.mp

Visit the Commonwealth Dialogues at www.tinasablan.com/forum

Please feel free to share this information. To be removed from this list, please email tinasablan@gmail.com .

"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so must we think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country." -- Abraham Lincoln

___________________________
  

Who would you want to be representing you to federal officials? Tina has class, dignity, and character.  

Read the initial email exchange here.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

What does this mean? In terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis

chamberonomics...broken arrow said...

Is the Governor so old and weak that he could be led astray by a couple old lawyers?

Tina is the peoples champion here and the sooner the freak show running our administration is out of business, the better off needy citizens here will be.

If I were a CGW, I would not appear before our corrupt and bias DOL. That department is a lame duck and so is their administration.

Anonymous said...

What was Siemer's business in India? Collecting more poison venom?

Anonymous said...

GO TINA!!!!

lost in the pacific rim said...

tina, wendy, and chamberonomics are correct, there is no such thing as santa or free lawyers jetting around.

locals could boot them outta here but they are either afraid or don't know what to do

locals have been told what to do forever. first the spanish told'em what to do and what name to call god, then the japs, then the americans in the trust territory days, then willie tan and the garment industry, and lastly ben fitial's failed administration. hard to believe the ttt or local house and senate are still looking for heroes to rescue them and tell them what to do

hard to imagine siemer and willens running the show here now in post textile industry saipan

we would be better off managed by the philippines than those old arrogant hoales

cactus said...

"In terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis" is a Latin phrase from the Christmas story in the Gospel of Luke. It is most commonly translated "peace on earth, good will to men."

Other translations, however, render it as "peace on earth to men of good will" and "peace on earth among men with whom he [i.e. God] is pleased."

Take your pick, but I have always preferred the first, as being the most expansive with its gift of peace, bestowing it on everyone, whether of good will or not.

-- in which spirit, I now extend my own Christmas greetings of peace and good will, even to the imperialists.

wendy said...

Cactus

Happy holidays to you.

Anonymous said...

cactus:
Did you google that?

Anonymous said...

Goes to show the difference between Tina Sablan and Deanne Siemer. Tina speaks from her heart and has the best intwntions for the CNMI. Deanne, on the other hand....

Why should I waste my breath. You all know the difference between good and evil and humility and arrogance.

The day Deanne leaves the CNMI is the day I throw a huge party.

Marianas Pride said...

Actually, In terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis means, "I'm a sophisticated aristocrat who is not capable of admitting when I screw up."

Deanne has reached an all-time low. Congratulations Deanne!

I'm counting the days when Governor Fitial loses by a landslide and Deanne and Howard are out of their "volunteer" roles.

November 2009 will call for a major celebration! Woo hoo! No matter what, Governor Fitial will NOT be re-elected.

I GUARANTEE this. There are three things in life that are guaranteed: Death, Taxes, and that Governor Fitial will not be re-elected...

Anonymous said...

Why is Tina sending her emails to the media? Is this her version of political gamesmanship?

captain said...

Cactus probably went to perochial school at a time when we all had to learn Latin, a dead language at a time when the church was still useing it at mass.If so that is dating him.(us)

Seems like Tina even writes better than that witch.

wendy said...

Anonymous asked, "Why is Tina sending her emails to the media? "

Tina sent an email requesting clarification on a report that DOL sent to the legislature. She did not receive a response and sent another request. She received the email that Siemer was sending to Cinta, complete with a response Siemer wrote for Cinta to send to Tina (after 7-10 days). Tina is a public official who believes in open government. Siemer is a volunteer in DOL who acts like a public official and speaks for the CNMI gvt. to the detriment of many.

These emails need to be public so the people of the CNMI know what's going on in their offices, in their government. Sending an email to Kaipat telling her not to send the letter for 7-10 days to make Tina wait for a response is a game. Sending an email pretending that the first inappropriate email was not a mistake is a game.

However, letting the public know what is happening in their government is an act of courage. Exposing corruption is an act of honor. Contributing to it is not. That goes for any attorney, not just Siemer. Every single one who played games with Abramoff and other "consultants" and lobbyists, hurting the people of the CNMI and denying the guest workers basic human rights.

Who is playing games? Siemer, Kaipat, Fitial, DOL, those who will not provide the information that Tina requested under the Open Government Act, those pushing a futile federal lawsuit when the government is broke.

Lil' Hammerhead said...

Wow.. Congresswoman Sablan handed Siemer her "idiot award" with her response. Right on the money.

Siemer is obviously a whole lot dumber than alot of us thought she was.

What's sad is, these are folks who were actually once respected by the "intelligencia".. now they're either the brunt of a joke, or simply despised. Don't get me wrong.. they have their cheering section. Unfortunately that section has the accumulative I.Q. of a dyslexic baboon.

noobab cixelsyd said...

Everyone in the CNMI has known she had no itegrity for some time.

Her hook in and spin close was a borrowed writing style.

Remind me not to tick off Tina, Lil, Jane, or Wendy.

Anonymous said...

A sign of old age is the ability to speak Latin and ineffectiveness on a computer.