The NTEU73 Executive Board was having a meeting, (on our own time.) My phone started buzzing. A Steward was letting me know Inspector Shelton was in the office staring at a female steward making both stewards very uncomfortable. He had been there for 15 minutes and she wanted someone to come get him to leave. Her telling him we were in a meeting hadn’t been enough.

Vice President, Chris Pierce left our meeting and went to the office to investigate. Inspector Shelton claimed to have stopped by to greet the new administration. Chris brought him to our meeting and he stayed for an hour. He spent that hour explaining that the IRS doesn’t have the authority to hire a guard service so he will soon be in charge and when he is, our contract will mean nothing because he has the law on his side and he has them all memorized, even the most minute.

Inspector Shelton is that special kind of law enforcement that frightens even law-abiding citizens. If he chooses to, he will find an infraction. I am not suggesting he makes them up, however, if a police officer follows you around all day, every day, sooner or later, you will make a mistake and he will be there to catch you. Inspector Shelton works for the Federal Protective Service, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security. It is his responsibility to protect federal employees, the facility, equipment and information. He believes the biggest risk to all of that, is the employees, themselves.

NTEU73 has had to pay the attorney fees for a steward who, in the course of her steward duties, was involved in a workplace disruption. The steward didn’t cause the disruption, nor was she loud or disruptive in the workplace.   Inspector Shelton was so determined to get his man, he was willing to force the issue.  He heard about the situation. He wasn’t there. He called the manager involved into his office for an interview on her scheduled day off. He didn’t bother to interview anyone else. Based on that one perspective of a tense situation, he wrote tickets to the steward and the employee. This should have been an administrative issue, at most.  Instead, it was a court proceeding.  The charges were dropped in court but it was expensive. Inspector Shelton’s interest in the employee was the employee’s political activity, off duty and off site. I know this because of his last comment when he finally left our meeting. He said he would bet I didn’t know the employee was involved with a particular political group.

I believe that federal employees do not give up their right to free speech on their own time. Inspector Shelton does not feel the same way. This is why I believe Inspector Shelton is dangerous to his employer, Federal Protective Service, Department of Homeland Security, to IRS employees and to the United States of America.

Inspector Shelton’s brand of extreme policing is the type of law enforcement that envelopes the innocent and slides down that slippery slope to a police state. It starts with keeping federal employees from driving 11 miles per hour in the parking lot and works its way to harassing private citizens about their politics, religion, race, ethnicity or whatever he can fit in a box and check off.

As chilling as all that was, 15 minutes of his conversation was about risks to children. He believes children are safer in institutions than at home. He proceeded to explain his interest in legal history and that it wasn’t illegal to have sex with a child anywhere in the world until the 1800s when Great Britain’s Parliament passed a law.

I disagree that children should be institutionalized from an early age for their own safety. But that theory has been floated before by a dictator in a police state.

I hope Inspector Shelton’s reign of terror doesn’t happen. I believe his visit to our office, and our meeting, was intended to have a chilling effect on our administration. Possibly, he intended to intimidate us, But NTEU73 will be here doing what we can to stop him in his war against federal employees.

If you are not a member, we hope you will join us in our fight to keep your workplace fair and equitable.

If you are a member, we thank you.

United We Bargain, Divided We Beg.

In Solidarity,