General Motors released 15 of its employees last week following the incriminating 320-page report put together by former US Attorney Anton Valukas. The report is the result of an internal probe conducted to find out why the company failed to recall certain small vehicles with ignition switches that had a potentially fatal defect.
GM refused to name the employees that were let go, but several publications have stumbled across the names. Most recently, Autoblog learned two of the members of the automaker’s legal department who were fired.
The company fired attorneys Jaclyn Palmer and Ron Porter, who were both named in the Valukas Report. Both employees worked on cases that could have resulted in GM recalling the vehicles sooner had they treated the matter with more urgency. Palmer and Porter join three others of the automaker’s legal team in their departure: William Kemp, a senior attorney overseeing engineering and safety issues, Lawrence Buonomo, head of product litigation and Jennifer Sevigny, an attorney leading GM’s field product assessment group.
The attorneys were fired for not bringing the issue to the attention of their boss, GM General Counsel Michael Milliken, and for not putting together a timetable of the safety investigation. Palmer and Porter also attended a meeting held in July 2012 in which a junior attorney directly asked why the company hadn’t already recalled the cars. Valukas’ report says the junior attorney was told the company didn’t know how to fix the problem, but was keeping an eye on the matter.
To date, 10 of the 15 employees who were fired have been identified. These include vice president for environmental sustainability and regulatory affairs, Michael Robinson, along with Gay Kent, general director of vehicle safety and crashworthiness. Also named was M. Carmen Benavides, director of product investigations and safety regulations and Ray DeGiorgio, an engineer who had a hand in designing the switch itself.