(Washington, DC) – Most employees find performance reviews to be nerve-wracking, unfair or skewed, and often demeaning. In fact, some would rather die than go through a performance review.
And then there are Federal employees at the independent Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) who would contemplate killing to avoid one. Literally.
The FHFA is a little-known agency that’s only about three years old. It was created to oversee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at the height of the 2008 housing meltdown.
A senior employee at the FHFA was apparently so distraught over the results of his performance review that he made “troubling” comments, which have led to a legal case against him.
According to an anonymous FHFA employee, speaking on condition of anonymity, Richard Hornsby was “extremely agitated” over the ratings given on his April 3 performance by his supervisor, Edward DeMarco. In fact, he was so unhappy that he threatened to “blow [DeMarco’s] brains out.”
Another option was to come to work, armed with a gun, and “shoot [DeMarco] in the kneecap” and then kill himself.
“He could have been a little more creative,” said a lawyer for DeMarco, speaking on condition of anonymity. “I mean, his kneecap? Really? Why not just shoot him in the head? Or the heart? Or the spleen? Next time, make it count, buddy! Aiming for just the kneecap shows he’s an amateur – and how truly disturbed this guy is.”
A third option was to send DeMarco to foreclose on a house in Detroit, MI, without any armed escort, “but that seemed cruel – even to Hornsby,” said the anonymous employee, speaking on condition of anonymity.
This is not the first time Hornsby has made such outrageous threats. According to the anonymous FHFA employee, speaking on condition of anonymity, Hornsby not only threatened to blow DeMarco’s brains out, but to do personal harm to himself as well.
“He threatened to jump out of windows,” said the anonymous FHHA employee, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He threatened to foreclose on his own house. He threatened to arrange for a mandatory screening of Gigli for all FHFA employees. We’re talking seriously deranged behavior here.”
A lawyer for Hornsby predicted he would be found innocent. “He will be cleared of these unfounded charges and his smeared reputation will be cleansed,” said Hornsby’s lawyer, speaking on condition of anonymity. I mean, yes, he may have said those things about Mr. DeMarco, but he certainly mean to do any of those things. He just likes to say things like that.”
The case is apparently even more shocking and noteworthy because it involves a high-level employee threatening a superior. “We see employees threatening, maiming, and killing their superiors all the time,” said a spokesman for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), speaking on condition of anonymity. “But it’s highly unusual for someone in authority to threaten someone who’s in even higher authority. That’s just disrespectful.”
OPM doesn’t seem overly concerned about the incident. “These things happen so often that we consider it the ‘new normal’ when dealing with whiny Federal employees,” said an OPM spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Plus, members of Congress want to shrink the Federal workforce, so this fits right in with our attrition program.”