Florida Employee Says “Climate Change,” Is Sent To Have Head Examined

In case you hadn’t heard the news, Florida Governor Rick Scott has reportedly put the kibosh on anyone in the Florida government, specifically the environmental protection department, so much as uttering the words “climate change” or “global warming.” You know, because that is totally going to make those things not be problems anymore.

Anyway, longtime Department of Environmental Protection employee Barton Bibler did not get the memo, and included the phrase “climate change” in his speech to and notes from a Florida Coastal Managers Forum in February–and now he is getting the full Frances Farmer treatment. Like he has to take a leave of absence and is not allowed to return until he gets a mental health evaluation, because he said the words “climate change,” and insinuated that people at the meeting were talking about “climate change.”

Now, the governor’s office and many at the DEP are denying that such a ban exists, despite the fact that myriad employees have come forward saying that it does, and the fact that Bibler’s reprimand seems to confirm it.

On March 2, 2015, you were asked by me to attend the Coastal Managers Forum. During the meeting you engaged in personal political advocacy related to the Keystone XL pipeline. After the meeting, I asked you to provide a summary of the meeting, but had provided that summary in a document that used the agenda header from Ann Lazar, the meeting moderator, which gave the appearance that this was Ann’s official meeting agenda that included climate change. This was not part of the original agenda developed by ann, and resulted in a complaint of misrepresentation. I then indicated that this was not appropriate and asked you to revise your summary of the meeting. You then emailed what you said was an attached agenda of your notes of agency reports on climate change. The attachment was of the words Keystone XL Pipeline with a red circle and a cross through it. After you sent this email, Marianne indicated that this type of response is not appropriate, and asked you again to provide your summary of the meeting.

Your actions were disrespectful, unprofessional and represent insubordination. Further occurrences of a personal agenda or willingness to perform duties will not be tolerated.

I’m not really sure how discussion of the Keystone XL pipeline, or climate change, is an inappropriate or, as the reprimand later stated– “biased“– thing for an employee of the Department of Environmental Protection to be discussing. What else should they be discussing, if not that? The latest episode of Scandal?

If the whole point of the department is to protect the environment, than one would simply imagine that they would discuss, you know, protecting the environment.

Although I find the attachment thing pretty hilarious, it’s admittedly not super work appropriate. Then again, I can not even begin to imagine Bibler’s frustration with this situation. It’s pretty ridiculous. Still, I would not say that doing something like that, however snarky, is a thing you send someone to get a “mental health evaluation” for.

I mean, I think we are all pretty clear on the fact that talking about climate change is something the Right finds deeply upsetting. Perhaps we could find a happy medium whereby people like Bibler can offer “trigger warnings” to those who might feel uncomfortable with the concept, so that they may prepare or excuse themselves accordingly. Then, that way, those of us who are concerned about it can discuss it without upsetting Rick Scott or whomever.

[The Guardian]