A home improvement contractor is now working as a special assistant at the Environmental Protection Agency, according to Politico. He’s just another example of nepotism in the Trump administration.
Steve Kopec, whose wife, Dagmara, used to work for President and Melania Trump as a household staffer, ran a contracting business in New Jersey called Steve’s Tools in Motion. Both the Kopecs are originally from Poland and Steve Kopec often goes by his Polis name, Slawomir.
Recent photographs posted on social media show the Kopecs visiting the White House and rubbing elbows with the administration’s senior aides and advisers.
Kopec joined EPA’s Region 2 office in New York as a special assistant on Dec. 18.
“Steve comes to us from private industry, where he fashioned his career around customer service and organizational efficiencies,” Administrator Pete Lopez wrote in the memo. “Steve is an experienced manager with skills in team building, management and organization.”
Kopec speaks four languages and travels many hours a day to the New York EPA office to his home in New Jersey.
However, Steve, like many people picked by the Trump administration, does not have the required skills to perform in his position. However, a spokesperson from EPA defended Kopec, saying he is a “hard-working, dedicated employee.” Another official also pointed out the fact that Kopec’s has an administrative role that does not require a degree in science — often a point of contention in confirmation hearings of Trump’s nominees.
Kopec salary is reportedly $66,000, however, one official argued he does not hold a senior position in the administration. Then what justifies the huge salary?
Scott Amey, the Project on Government Oversight’s general counsel, said both the Democrats and the Republicans have a pattern of “questionable hiring” for decades, and often offer their family and friends the government’s top jobs — regardless of the fact whether they are able to carry out their duties or not.
“If you put friends in high places and they don’t have the proper qualifications it can have disastrous results for the agency and for taxpayers,” Amey said. “We hope that public service positions are filled with people that are qualified to best serve the public interest.”
It is not yet confirmed who made the decision to employ Kopec or if Pruitt was involved in the hiring.
Trump, whose daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner are both senior White House officials, have made a habit of appointing people whom he’s personally close to rather than those with experience.
He appointed Lynne Patton, a party planner who organized events at Trump’s golf course as well as arranged Eric Trump’s wedding, to lead the New York office of Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Taylor Weyeneth, a 23-year-old, who first worked voluntarily for Trump’s election campaign, was given the position of deputy chief of staff for the Office of National Drug Control Policy — which is responsible for government’s billion-dollar anti-drug campaigns.
He announced he was resigning form the role after The Washington Post revealed he lied about having a master’s degree in political science and was fired from a law firm for missing work.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: REUTERS, Joshua Roberts