DATE:        11/15/04

TO:               President Bush
                     White House
                      Washington, DC

FROM;            Herb Hoffman
                        3817 W. Granville
                        Chicago, IL 60659

Mr. President:

I am writing to ask your help in an employment matter because my supervisor is continuing to threaten me with more reprimands, and will not tell me or the union what there are for. I hope that you will be able to assist me.  I am a disabled government employee with over 30 years of services with the National Weather Service (please see my resume of my awards and my achievements on a web site at ). During the last 4 years, NOAA, NWS and the Dept. of Commerce has gone the wrong direction in terms of hiring disabled persons.  Under your leadership, many military retirees have taken high positions in DOC, NOAA, and NWS.  These people have no understanding of disabled people and of diversity (please see ). Under the leadership of Secretary Daley, the Department of Commerce set up a diversity committee which was empowered to train supervisors (the founder of VID, Herb Hoffman, was on the board and developed a training program for supervisors).  In 2000, Secretary Evans,  discontinued the committee.  Because of this, many officials act as if they are on a mission from God, developing policies that help themselves.  They do not even hire disabled vets who return from the war seeking employment.  When Jack Kelly visited our office a few years ago, I hired a driver to drive me to the office on my own time (30 miles from Chicago --- I don't know why its still called the Chicago Weather Service).  Dr. Kelly will not even talk to me.  He only waved at me on his way out.  I feel he should at least talk to me since I am the only disabled employee at the office and he was the new director.  How can he hire other disabled persons if he is not concerned about the employees he already has.  Furthermore, this office is isolated from the public and has no public transportation that runs by the office.

Two years ago I got a new supervisor, and I feel that he is causing me trouble to make me retire.  He says that I do not do enough work to support my grade (GS-9) --- I had to fight for every promotion I ever got and because of my disability they told me that I could never be promoted above a grade 9.  Under my old supervisor, I was able to find new climate information which made us able to do more research.  I even received cash awards for my efforts; however, under my new supervisor, I had to abandon my project and do some work that he wants done.  My new supervisor has given me a reprimand because I did not complete my project as he wanted.  He does not understand that because I type with my foot, I type slow.  Even though I try to make deadlines, I was unable to have completed my work at the deadline. He told me that my work had to be completed for his web site. However, after 4 months, he still has not put my work on his web site. The regional director now says that he will close my small accessible office in Chicago (the only office in Chicago that can give climate information to the public). GSA now charges $5,000 for my office space (under the former President it was free at the FEB office, but they took it away under your leadership).  The regional director told me that I must travel to the Romeoville office twice a week now, and 5 days a week starting May 1,  2004 (I have to travel 30 miles by bus and train which takes 5 hours).  The director suggested that I move by the office, but so far I have not found an affordable, accessible house with the PA support that I need.  I am thinking about building a house in the area; however, seven years ago, LaSalle Bank made an error in my bank account and they took all my money (please see the information on the web at ).  Besides that, they sued me causing me some of the worst times of my life.  In fact, my mother and my brother tried to take away my half of the house where I live because of this.  Therefore, I do not have the money to build a house unless my mother lets me sell the house where I now live.  I was thinking about rehabbing an old house and possibly getting funds from the Olmstead mandate to rehab a house.  We are about to rehab some homes in the Chicago area with the Olmstead mandate.

Under my old supervisor, I was allowed to work on an Olmstead project as you outlined in your executive order.  I feel very strongly about the Olmstead issue, and I commend you on your foresight.  However, my supervisor along with the regional director do not share the same views as my old supervisor.  I was even able to have some disabled foundations support the web site that we founded at , and .  I also hope you will take time to take a look at the web site and give me some direction as how I can go about obtaining funds to build accessible housing for the elderly and the disabled.  One of the ideas is to train homeless people to act as personal assistants to the disabled and the elderly.  Some of the companies even donate some of their profits so we are able to build accessible housing.  My new supervisor makes  me feel that I have done something wrong.  He has even tried to break into my office to spy on me.  Please see attached memo (see  He even copied the CASHE memory in my computer in order to give me two more reprimands (he put my hard drive in his pocket instead of filling out the proper paper work for the building management).  Please see memos attached in mailing.

During the last eight years, I have been involved with the FEB program in my area.  We were able to set up a diversity day every year; however, the director of the FEB decided that I was becoming too popular so she took it upon herself to spy on me during the worst years I have lived thus far.  During this time, I was trying to set up my own business with Able Home Aides.  One of my bank accounts received a large wire from someone I did not know.  When I asked the bank where the money came from, they told me that it was my money and I was able to use the money any way that I see fit.  In the past, I occupied an office space with the FEB.  I called people about my bank problem during my lunch hour.  This is what the FEB director did not like; however, I felt she had no right to spy on me.  She would go back and tell things to my old supervisor.  Now after seven years, she is telling my new supervisor all about my past employment positions and my personal business.  She does not understand about Olmstead and how having an accessible home would enable me to keep my job. I wish she would allow the FEB Diversity Committee to address the Olmstead issues, and I wish that I could once again be on the committee. Maybe you can direct your FEB staff to work on these issues.

At one point in my career with the National Weather Service, I was allowed to set up a climate office at Northeastern Illinois University which is in the Chicago area.  I found many people like to stop by to ask questions about the climate of Chicago and to get information.  The students of NEIU were able to develop research projects and we were about to ask NOAA for some grant money; however, the National Weather Service allowed the project to be terminated.  While I was there Ii help set up a "weather law" department which is now at the Midwest Climate center in Urbana, IL (they make more than $70,000 per year from attorneys because of my idea. I even asked the attorney general in 1993 if it was a conflict of interest if I wok for Weather Law department during my off hours from NWS. A waiver was granted because of my low position at NWS. They even agreed to donate part of their profit to the Olmstead project. Last year I also help found the Institute on Energy, Climate and Weather with the idea of conducting research into the harnessing of different types of energy. This would allow me to prove to everyone that I am able to do higher levels or work once I retire from NWS. Several months ago I had  talked to the president of NEIU and she expresses a desire to develop another project with the Weather Service.  This would allow me to have an office close to my house and it would also allow me to hire students to help me. 

At one stage in my life, my mother decided that I would be better off in a nursing home.  If I did not have the "know how" to hire a personal assistant, I would probably be wasting away in a nursing home.  This is why the Olmstead issue has a such deep meaning in my life.  In the past 55 years, I have seen many disabled and elderly people waste away and die in nursing homes because no one wants them.  I feel this is the most selfish act that our society justifies.  I sincerely hope that  in your next four years as president you will be able to allow elderly and disabled people to live where they choose and not waste away in a nursing home.  Nursing home facilities only want to make a profit and appear not to not care about the well being of their clients.  When I retire from the National Weather Service, I want to devote the rest of my life to seeing that the elderly and the disabled are able to live out the rest of their lives with dignity.  I would like to ask your Department of Human Services if any grant money is available for rehabbing houses.  We are trying to work with Mayor Daley to buy abandoned buildings, rehab them and turn them into housing for the elderly and disabled.  This would contribute to helping the neighborhoods and the city come alive. 

Below are some questions that I would like to ask you: 

I appreciate your time and consideration, and I would appreciate any suggestions you might have. 

Yours Sincerely,

Herbert Hoffrman