U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL WINS BACK PAY AND
REVERSAL OF ILLEGAL SUSPENSION FOR SES EMPLOYEE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 11/24/98
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
Today, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC)
announced that its petition for corrective action on behalf of Senior
Executive Service (SES) employee, David E. Hanley, had been granted by Judge
Paul Streb, the Chief Administrative Law Judge (CALJ) of the Merit Systems
Protection Board (MSPB). Mr. Hanley was suspended from work for fourteen
days by his employer, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The MSPB
decision reverses the suspension and awards Hanley back pay with interest.
OSC sought this corrective action because regulations
promulgated by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) prohibit federal
agencies from suspending an SES employee for fourteen days or less. The
FAA’s violation resulted in a loss of important procedural protection for
Mr. Hanley because SES employees are not entitled to a hearing before the
MSPB for disciplinary actions less severe than a 15-day suspension. OSC
maintained that by circumventing the 15-day process, the FAA denied Mr.
Hanley impartial third-party review of whether the suspension was justified.
OPM agreed with OSC and filed an amicus brief supporting OSC’s argument.
Special Counsel Elaine Kaplan stated that OSC was
“pleased by the prompt and, we believe, correct ruling by Judge Streb.”
“The CALJ’s decision,” she said, “vindicates the due process rights
of Mr. Hanley and his fellow members of the Senior Executive Service.”
Judge Streb’s decision becomes final on December 28,
1998, unless the FAA petitions for review of the matter by MSPB.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel provides an
independent avenue to protect merit systems principles in federal
employment. OSC receives, investigates, and prosecutes before the MSPB,
charges concerning the commission of prohibited personnel practices, with
priority given to protecting whistleblowers. In addition, the Office
provides a secure channel for federal employees who possess information
regarding legal violations, gross mismanagement, fraud, waste and abuse.