General Motors, reeling from millions of recalls and an ensuing scandal, fired 15 employees today. That's just two more than the number of people killed by a defect in the company's cars. In announcing the firings, CEO Mary Barra refused to name those who were axed. That is where you come in.
The firings came after an attorney hired by GM to do an internal investigation found that the company was "incompetent and negligent" in failing to prevent dozens of deaths due to an ignition switch defect that it was aware of going back to at least 2004. But that investigation—which was carried out by Anton Valukas, the chairman of Jenner & Block, a law firm with deep ties to GM—was careful to note that GM did not willfully cover up its knowledge of the defect.
According to the New York Times, the 15 people fired today were mostly in "senior and executive roles." One of those, per the Detroit Free Press, was a suspended engineer named Ray DeGiorgio, who was implicated in a 2006 memo about the defective part. Two others have been named by Bloomberg: Bill Kemp, a senior lawyer "responsible for safety issues within its legal department" and Gary Altman, a program engineering manager. The other 12 remain unnamed.
Much like it did with our "too big to fail banks," it's unlikely that the Justice Department will prosecute any individual connected to the GM recalls. GM has already been ordered to pay $35 million—a "record fine," much like the banks years ago—which amounts to less than one day of the company's revenue. Still, the families of the victims want more: namely, they want to see those responsible put in prison.
Maybe the 15 GM employees fired today are scapegoats, or maybe they played significant parts in the deaths of 13 people. Either way, we want to know who they are.
If you know which other GM employees were let go today—or anything else about the ignition switch scandal—email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment below.
[image via GM]