High-Paid Government Official Had Second Job While ‘Remote Working’
DC Public Library Director of Human Resources Lauren Graves / LinkedIn
DC Public Library Director of Human Resources Lauren Graves / LinkedIn

The head of human resources for the District of Columbia’s library system, whose six-figure job entails ensuring that fellow government employees followed employment rules, was herself in massive violation of those rules — holding a second full-time job with a private company, which she did while supposedly working for taxpayers.

Lauren Graves lied to government investigators to cover up the fact that she had one full-time job and one part-time job, both of which she focused on while neglecting her government duties, according to the D.C. Board of Ethics and Government Accountability (BEGA). She was forced to pay a fine of $17,500, a small fraction of the money she earned while neglecting her taxpayer-funded job, and has resigned from her government post, according to the Washington Post.

Graves has worked as the DCPL’s Human Resources Director since November 2021, being paid $148,000 a year. Apparently the fact that she continued to work full-time for Blackstone Consulting as Senior Human Resources Manager — where she was paid an additional $144,000 a year — went unnoticed. She also worked part-time delivering babies as a doula, with a website where people could make appointments with her during the workday.

“Witness testimony revealed that the Respondent frequently could not be reached throughout the workday regardless of whether she worked in the office or virtually,” a BEGA document from this month stated. “Our investigation revealed that Respondent misused her District government email by communicating with her outside employers from her District government email address. Respondent also forwarded various internal District government documents to her outside job at Blackstone such as technology agreements.”

Graves told investigators she worked the other jobs outside of her work hours, but this was false, they said. Their evidence included emails, contracts, and presentation schedules.

“Respondent acknowledges that her conduct was an egregious violation of the Code of Conduct. Respondent agrees to pay a fine in the amount of $17,500.00 to resolve this violation… Respondent agrees to payments in the amount of $383 bi-weekly, via automatic deduction from Respondent’s paycheck,” said the agreement, signed by Graves and Director of Government Ethics Ashley D. Cooks.

It would not have been hard to find out about Graves’ other work. The Blackstone job is on her LinkedIn, which says she stopped the job in February 2024. It says she still works as CEO of “Cass & Tree, LLC,” an HR firm, and as a doula.

The $17,000 penalty may amount to only a fraction of the taxpayer money that she squandered. Two-and-a-half years of a $148,000 salary is $370,000.

Her LinkedIn says her speciality is “DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION – Training, facilitation, climate assessments, project and change management; employee engagement. Anti-racism, Anti-bullying, sexual harassment training compliance; Allyship. Gender pay equity. LGBTQ ally training facilitation. Workplace gossip and victim shaming, Retaliation, Labor Relations and Union mediation.”

The case raises questions about how many other government employees are simply AWOL while “working remotely,” and how any of them could reasonably face consequences given the fact that the HR director who was supposed to be enforcing such rules was doing the same thing.

At the federal level, federal agencies have dragged their feet at returning to the office, despite repeated admonishments from President Joe Biden and his chief of staff that they must do so. Last month, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) wrote to the Acting Secretary of the Department of Labor to note that members of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) had finally “showed up to the office… to protest for more telework.”

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