Thomas denied Monday that Bruner had been criticized in her 1987 review for her district's handling of age cases, even though the Senate report was accompanied by copies of memos and records containing the criticisms.
He rejected the committee's characterization of Bruner's early memos as a "warning" of the problem with age discrimination cases, saying Bruner should have spent her time addressing the problem rather than sending memos to Washington.
"These are people who are supposed to exercise the judgment in their offices about what to do under difficult circumstances," Thomas said. "If you are going to foreclose somebody's rights by missing the statute of limitations, you tell me what to do. And if you can't tell me what to do, why are you in the senior executive service?"
Also, Thomas said it was a coincidence that Bruner received her mid-year review last year just as she was preparing to testify before Melcher's committee.
"If somebody is not doing the job," he asked, "does the mere fact they testified against me mean I don't hold them accountable?"