U.S. Office of Special Counsel
1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 218
Washington, D.C. 20036-4505
SPECIAL COUNSEL SEEKS REMOVAL OF FEDERAL MANAGER FOR VIOLATING VETERANS'
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 11/9/04
CONTACT: CATHY DEEDS, 202-254-3600 or 202-550-8785
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has
filed a complaint for disciplinary action against Carmen Simonton, an
employee of the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), U.S. Department of
Interior. The OSC complaint, filed on November 9, 2004, with the Merit
Systems Protection Board (the Board), alleges that Ms. Simonton, a Wildlife
Compliance Specialist, evaded veterans’ preference requirements by canceling
a job posting after learning that she was required to select a disabled
veteran and re-announcing the position at a grade level at which the veteran
could not apply. According to the complaint, Simonton unlawfully manipulated
the selection process so that she could hire a personal friend instead of
the disabled veteran. Ms. Simonton is also charged with willfully
obstructing the veteran’s right to compete for Federal employment and
granting an unauthorized preference or advantage to Simonton’s friend.***
In October 2001, FWS advertised a GS-4 Legal Instruments Examiner position.
The position had promotion potential to GS-7. A veteran with a 10-point, 30%
compensable disability preference was rated the number one candidate on the
hiring certificate. Simonton attempted to select her friend, a non-veteran
who was third on the certificate.
OSC’s complaint alleges that, rather than hire the disabled veteran,
Ms. Simonton took actions designed to evade veterans’ preference
regulations. By doing so, Ms. Simonton knowingly violated veterans’ preference
rights and obstructed the veteran's right to compete for the position; at the same
time, she illegally granted an unauthorized hiring preference to her friend.
“Preference in appointments to Federal jobs is one way that the
Federal government recognizes the sacrifices made by veterans of the U.S.
Armed Forces who courageously fought to preserve our country’s freedoms,”
explained Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch. “Veterans have my commitment to
prosecute vigorously Federal managers who knowingly disregard or seek to
evade veterans’ preference requirements or otherwise violate service
members’ rights,” Bloch said. “The multiple violations set forth
in this complaint are serious as they strike at the core of the merit
OSC seeks a final order of the Board imposing disciplinary action on Ms.
Simonton in the form of her removal, reduction in grade, debarment from
federal employment for up to five years, suspension, reprimand, and/or a fine
up to $1,000.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent investigative
and prosecutorial agency and operates as a secure channel for disclosures of
whistleblower complaints and abuse of authority. Its primary mission is to
safeguard the merit system in Federal employment by protecting Federal
employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially
retaliation for whistleblowing. OSC also has jurisdiction over the Hatch Act
and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. For more
information please visit our web site at
www.osc.gov or call 1-800-872-9855.