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That other huge news this morning and we've got an announcement to bring -- to Cilic erratic with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his -- -- that -- -- Let's listen and see what's out there that.
Who is the assistant secretary for administration.
We had a far and good conversation.
Surely disinterested in the progress that we're trying to make in terms of selling lawsuits.
Have been filed against the department.
For civil rights violations.
Commonly referred to as -- Pickford case which Shirley unfortunately knows far too much about as a as a plaintiff in the case early in the process.
And I think it's fair to say that we both feel it's appropriate and necessary for the senate to take action.
As quickly as possible to make sure that the appropriations for those cases are made.
And that we get those cases settled as quickly as possible as well as the cases that have been filed against the department by Americans and Hispanic farmers.
We also talked about the fact that in previous -- years -- its administration.
There had been a number of claims that it for whatever reason we're not fully look at investigated.
We have -- -- those cases but we need congressional action.
The statue of limitations to make sure that we do justice to those folks who treated fairly by.
By the department.
I'm sure it was also very interested in the work that we're doing with an independent consultant.
The Jackson Lewis group which has been hired by process sometime ago.
Prior two it's incident.
In which we asked the -- this group to go out into a number of states to take -- real hard look at our current procedures and policies.
In terms of how we deal with the folks come into the Farm Service Agency offices general of office.
Odyssey -- there ways in which we can make sure that we don't have these problems discrimination in the future.
That -- will be completed.
Some time this year.
And that becomes relevant two.
Next steps for the department -- and surely.
I did my best I think it's fair to say it my best to try to.
Try to get her to come to UST -- UST.
Full time basis.
We talked about the offices at -- outreach and what her unique skills could bring to that office.
We also talked about the opportunity that would be made available if that was not something issues interest in doing to return to Georgia in her position as a state director.
For reasons that surely will get into.
That's doesn't fit what she needs what she wants and which she deserves.
And so we talked about the possibility of utilizing -- unique characteristics and experiences.
And her passion her her her her undying passion.
Discrimination routed from this country.
So that when we get the report from the consult.
That tells us the steps that we need to take to improve.
Our processes procedures.
At all levels.
It's my intent hope that we can asked for surely to assist justice in some sort of consulting -- Four full implementation and proper implementation of those recommendations.
I think there's no one in the country better suited to assist us in an effort that surely.
Having been a victim of discrimination.
Having had a family.
-- suffered painful loss answers -- combination.
Having served in as a director of rural development and knowing full well these programs.
And having worked in Georgia to begin changing things in that state.
So there was fairness -- opportunity.
There's no one that can help us better in that position that your.
So we're looking forward to later in the year -- connecting.
Once -- report is concluded and we also talked very briefly about the steps we've taken internally -- USDA following our study of what circumstances.
And some steps we're taking to -- To improve decision making us.
Was that -- Good morning.
I want to say thank you.
To the secretary.
For the updates -- pictures then and and the discussion we've -- this morning about.
And the steps that well be taken.
In the future is so that hopefully no one else will have to -- that that what I have to do.
All of -- that's for -- weeks.
I enjoy my work at the USDA.
As most of you know didn't work in government.
-- to about a year ago now I only have been eleven months.
But I did enjoy that work and would want to see that -- continue.
I just don't think at this point with -- that -- -- I can do that at in the new positions.
That was offered.
Or as state director.
For rural development and -- -- it it it doesn't mean that I'm not interested and that work because that's certainly am.
I was working.
Many of those inches long before coming to the government and would hope to be able to work -- many of those issues and the future so.
Had lots of support.
From around the country.
Hathead men in many many thousands of pieces of mail.
Many of those that would like to answer.
And even a little time to be eight -- at the -- that.
-- Take a break.
From some love all that have -- -- to do list over the last few.
And that look forward to.
Some type of relationship with the department.
In the future.
We do need to work on the issues discrimination.
And racism in this country.
And I certainly wouldn't like to -- -- And trying to -- it would.
You know it starts with the responsibility that I have to take personally.
For making sure that instructions that are given to staff are clear and complete.
Requires us to take a look at that travel schedules to make sure that we have sufficient staff and various offices.
The time this incident occurred I was on travel.
Chief of staff was on travel certainly do better job Hornish -- schedules.
We always -- have to take a look at the process that was used for political appointees.
In terms of of actions and steps we -- much more collaborative process.
Engaging under secretaries.
And senior staff members before decisions are finalized.
We obviously also have to make sure that everyone has contact information is accurate and complete.
And we have to establish protocols for contacting folks who may be in a situation where there may be the possibility of disciplinary action.
To make sure that their rights are -- protected.
-- political appointees were treated a little differently than if career appointee and we obviously need to make sure that there's more parallel system for political appointees.
So that what actually went through doesn't have -- happen again that's the goal.
Will be and -- in the process of being incorporated into our procedures now.
-- sort Bryant here that.
The afternoon that ms.
-- came out and clarified when it happened and it was became clear that the remarks were taken out of context you still stood by the removal or.
At least in the immediate.
Wanted to do that what changed your mind since that with their pressure from somewhere else outside the department.
No there was -- pressure but because I was -- not necessarily in this office I didn't avail myself of the full range of of advice and counsel.
I was not aware for example that the undersecretary of Roosevelt was attempting to get -- hold me to suggest perhaps we needed to take.
-- it is time to review.
When the full transcript of what -- remarks were.
Where were made known to me it was pretty obvious that this was -- circumstance -- situation where.
Her comments were taken totally -- out of context.
And that the main message which is a message that was very supportive of what we're trying to do -- USDA.
I was not inconsistent as I had originally thought but very consistent with what we're trying to do.
Which surely was trying to point out was that there is.
And has been for some time.
-- issues of discrimination and bias and prejudice in this country.
US TA because of that the enormity of our department has so many opportunities to -- -- people.
That that there was and they're needed to be an effort to make sure that UST it was it was an example.
Administration exemplary department when it comes to civil rights obviously with the claims have been filed against us in the past we have had work to do.
So all of that transpired in a couple day period.
And let me believe that I had made a mistake which -- acknowledged him and certainly contacted Shirley and told her I was sorry for what we've done and ask for forgiveness and she was gracious enough to give it.
-- you know -- from ABC news mister Rogers is this a satisfactory.
To what you have gone through the press that five or six weeks.
Be more -- sense of completion.
If you had stayed in this building and worked on problems of the discrimination rather than.
Taking a break and and not being directly involved in the process.
-- -- -- -- -- -- The secretary.
Pressure really really.
For me to stay.
From the end and the position that is -- -- position.
No look at what happened and that no he's he's apologized and accept that.
At this end his -- that it processes in place and I hope that it works I don't wanna be the one that tested.
-- -- -- You know that's I think fear is.
I think there can be helpful.
To him and an apartment.
If it does take a break and look at how black and can -- Ken you or have fallen in the future.
I guess that's enough to -- Let me I say this I think it's important understand why.
Shirley has unique opportunities here.
In her work in Georgia she was beginning a process of going into.
Counties and areas of her state where there -- -- poverty.
Not much outreach from.
Efforts by UST and she was.
She was that she was making strides to make sure that those counties.
That have been ignored in the process work work work recognized.
And appreciated and helped.
That's the kind of work that I suspect but I I don't know but I suspect will come forward.
With the recommendations from the review that to your -- -- -- place for programs.
At that point.
We -- I think Taylor.
An opportunity if if you will to meet those unique characteristics.
And surely can help us implement those recommendations with a focus.
Where she's not worried about administrative X X issues having to deal with personnel.
Or budgets or things of that nature.
The details stated -- details of they senior position.
She'll be able to focus on what she was doing a good job -- in Georgia.
Be able to spend personal time and also to be able to balance that time.
If she pointed out she and her husband have been struggling -- this for forty.
And she's got to children and more importantly I think -- grandchildren.
She wants to spend time with -- and so it's perfectly understandable.
But I don't want anybody to to think that she cannot be of significant help here.
I believe she can.
That's why offered the opportunities.
And it did but I think this might be a better fit for her and and I think -- devote time attention passion that she wants.
How much time are you looking to take off and any thought or vision of what you want your future collaboration to be.
You know as as far as that I wrote with the department -- of these substantially up to the secretary and I think he's looking at getting that report in before weekend.
Discuss this I have no idea how long.
That would take take I don't know the timetable for that.
But it doesn't mean that -- will be.
Speaking out had met a minute requests from around the country.
For people from people who.
Who want to hear from me.
I'd like to hear from them because -- -- like to know I'd like to hear about.
Efforts that have been made in communities that that dealing with is -- of racism.
And that really like to highlight them because I know they are people out there.
Who who care.
Who want to work on the dishes who are working on the issues and I think we need more -- I think we need to hear those dollars.
As we move for -- that's that's what this country -- you know we are great country.
And they are people who care we -- and too much from those who.
Would want to point out the negative right now and I really would like to concentrate on the positive.
What was the exact roll the exact position and the duties therein and and where he attempted to take it.
Yes I was tempted to take it.
And that share of the total -- -- and that secretary can speak more to that then I can at this point.
I was stepped.
Yeah the -- -- -- was created by the congress to do.
Work that needs to be done in US -- make sure that people understand and appreciate.
What programs US -- offers.
And how to access them.
As I think surely -- in Georgia pointed out there -- awful lot of people have no idea how broad the the scope of this department is and are often because of poverty or the difficulties of of managing governments at the local level oftentimes are overwhelmed by the application process.
By by the complexity of the federal bureaucracy that they have to work through.
So the idea of this office -- working with our civil rights office was to.
Listed do a better job of integrating into those communities making sure that they understood what was available and making sure that they had access to the programs because they're probably counties that have not accessed.
US TA programs -- precisely the reason why we created these programs.
Which surely would have done in that position is she would have.
If you will that effort to make sure that we were are penetrating.
In that position that I'm thinking of in terms of the study that's gonna come for I think she'll be able to also do that.
But maybe be able to focus.
More -- time and dig deeper.
That you would if she had administrative responsibilities which is what you would have had seniors.
White House right before mr.
-- stepped down and if you.
If you did speak -- some -- -- what has he told who.
Colts who was.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- as I said earlier.
This was my responsibility.
And I had to take full responsibility for.
And I continue to take full responsibility for -- I'll take it for as long as I live.
This was you know I pride myself on the work that I do.
I know that I.
I disappointed the president disappointed this administration disappointed country disappointed -- I have to live with that.
And I accept that responsibility that's what happens when you have this kind of position my only hope is.
In my belief is that despite this difficulty despite the challenges and problems we've seen and -- -- surely had to go through.
Maybe just maybe this is an opportunity for the country to have the kind of conversation surely thinks we ought to have.
And maybe just maybe this will put a spotlight not necessarily on this incident.
What all of this media attention maybe there will be a spotlight on the efforts that US TA is making.
In the areas -- it's.
Is trying to solve and settle cases that have been outstanding for how many years when he went almost thirty years.
Is trying to reopen cases that -- show tonight access and review in previous years.
Is trying to engagement cultural transformation.
So their workforce is modernized and as diverse as the country's.
And is engaged in an effort to try to get the programs US TA to the people were most in need.
Not necessarily the best connected people but the people -- most in need.
So it to me.
If we're going to make anything out of this.
Apart from Charlie's circumstances.
And that's what I have to do.
And that's what I'm committed to doing I am very serious about this I came into this office committed to trying to to close the chapter civil rights that has been.
A difficult chapter for US TA and has very -- -- We want to create a new chapter and that's of this unfortunate circumstances at least give us the opportunity to have a conversation with the nation.
Which you know if if it's personal pain I have to or for that I'm happy to take that if we get that message -- -- first surely a few weeks ago you said you're going to see you blogger Andrew Wright are what's the status of that lawsuit and do you still think that you're going to see you.
I really don't want to discuss spent right now.
Act act to think as soon before common but that don't want -- discussion.
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