All US Posts in Mexico Suspend Services

The US Embassy in Mexico has released an April 27 Public Announcement Update on the flu outbreak in the country. The US Embassy in Mexico City and all U.S. Consulates throughout the country have now suspended all non-essential services to the public until May 6.

“On April 27, the Government of Mexico announced that as a precautionary measure, all schools throughout the country from kindergarten through university level will remain closed until May 6. All government-sponsored events involving large crowds in Mexico City have also been canceled, and museums and most tourist attractions are closed.
[…]
Additionally, U.S. consulates in Mexico will suspend some nonimmigrant visa operations until May 6, but may see a limited number of applicants. More information will be provided on April 28, 2009 about nonimmigrant visa operations at U.S. consulates. If visa operations need to be suspended beyond May 6, we will inform the public as soon as possible.”

The announcement also states that operations at the U.S. consular agencies throughout Mexico may be curtailed. “Several are closing to the public entirely for walk-in services, seeing the public by appointment only.”

The US Mexico Mission covers all the nine US Consulates in Ciudad Juarez, Guadalajara, Hermosillo, Matamoros, Merida, Monterrey, Nogales, Nuevo Laredo, Tijuana and the 13 Consular Agencies in Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, Cancún, Ciudad Acuña, Cozumel, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Oaxaca, Piedras Negras, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Vallarta, Reynosa, San Luis Potosí and San Miguel de Allende.

See US Embassy Mexico’s Public Announcement page.


Updated: 1:08 PM

I should add that according to the WHO update (see Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response for daily update) as of 27 April 2009, the United States Government has reported 40 laboratory confirmed human cases of swine influenza A(H1N1), with no deaths. Mexico has reported 26 confirmed human cases of infection with the same virus, including seven deaths. Canada has reported six cases, with no deaths, while Spain has reported one case, with no deaths.

Although the alert has been bumped up to phase 4, the WHO advises no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders. “It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention, in line with guidance from national authorities. There is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products. Individuals are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and should seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of influenza-like illness.”

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All US Posts in Mexico Suspend Services

The US Embassy in Mexico has released an April 27 Public Announcement Update on the flu outbreak in the country. The US Embassy in Mexico City and all U.S. Consulates throughout the country have now suspended all non-essential services to the public until May 6.

“On April 27, the Government of Mexico announced that as a precautionary measure, all schools throughout the country from kindergarten through university level will remain closed until May 6. All government-sponsored events involving large crowds in Mexico City have also been canceled, and museums and most tourist attractions are closed.
[…]
Additionally, U.S. consulates in Mexico will suspend some nonimmigrant visa operations until May 6, but may see a limited number of applicants. More information will be provided on April 28, 2009 about nonimmigrant visa operations at U.S. consulates. If visa operations need to be suspended beyond May 6, we will inform the public as soon as possible.”

The announcement also states that operations at the U.S. consular agencies throughout Mexico may be curtailed. “Several are closing to the public entirely for walk-in services, seeing the public by appointment only.”

The US Mexico Mission covers all the nine US Consulates in Ciudad Juarez, Guadalajara, Hermosillo, Matamoros, Merida, Monterrey, Nogales, Nuevo Laredo, Tijuana and the 13 Consular Agencies in Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, Cancún, Ciudad Acuña, Cozumel, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Oaxaca, Piedras Negras, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Vallarta, Reynosa, San Luis Potosí and San Miguel de Allende.

See US Embassy Mexico’s Public Announcement page.


Updated: 1:08 PM

I should add that according to the WHO update (see Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response for daily update) as of 27 April 2009, the United States Government has reported 40 laboratory confirmed human cases of swine influenza A(H1N1), with no deaths. Mexico has reported 26 confirmed human cases of infection with the same virus, including seven deaths. Canada has reported six cases, with no deaths, while Spain has reported one case, with no deaths.

Although the alert has been bumped up to phase 4, the WHO advises no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders. “It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention, in line with guidance from national authorities. There is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products. Individuals are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and should seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of influenza-like illness.”

Related Post:

Related Items:

PSA: CDC Symptoms of Swine Flu

More CDC videos on YouTube here.
Click here for other video downloads/podcast/transcript)

The CDC has also released tips on What You Can Do to Stay Healthy and every day preventive actions.


There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.


Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

  • Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.

  • If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

PSA: CDC Symptoms of Swine Flu

More CDC videos on YouTube here.
Click here for other video downloads/podcast/transcript)

The CDC has also released tips on What You Can Do to Stay Healthy and every day preventive actions.


There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.


Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

  • Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.

  • If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Philip Gordon: Snared in Senate Hold and More

Philip H. Gordon was nominated by President Obama to be Assistant Secretary of State for the EUR Bureau (European and Eurasian Affairs), to succeed Daniel Fried, who has since been appointed as Special Envoy for Guantanamo closure.

It does not look like his nomination is going anywhere right now. Below are the legislative actions on this nomination:


Floor Action: March 11, 2009 – Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

Committee Action:
March 26, 2009 – Committee on Foreign Relations. Hearings held.

Committee Action: March 31, 2009 – Committee on Foreign Relations. Ordered to be reported favorably.

Floor Action: March 31, 2009 – Reported by Senator Kerry, Committee on Foreign Relations, without printed report.

Floor Action: March 31, 2009 – Placed on Senate Executive Calendar. Calendar No. 40. Subject to nominee’s commitment to respond to requests to appear and testify before any duly constituted committee of the Senate.

He has been on that Executive Calendar No.40 for 28 days now. The Washington Post’s Who Runs Gov says that Gordon’s nomination has been held up (reportedly by Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.)) because “Gordon is not willing to call the sustained Ottoman attacks on Armenians during and after World War I a genocide.(3) As a result, Gordon could not accompany Obama on his March 2009 trip to Europe. Foreign Policy’s The Cable reports that Gordon “had his bags ready to go,” but a last-minute hold kept his Senate confirmation vote off of the floor.(4) It is unclear when the Senate will now consider Gordon.”

Mr. Gordon is not the only one snared in the world of politics and senate holds. Remember career diplomat Richard Hoagland? He was nominated for the United States ambassadorship to Armenia on May 23, 2006. The Boston Globe reported then that “Armenians and their backers in Congress are trying to hold up the appointment of the man President Bush wants to succeed Evans, Richard E. Hoagland, who has declined to describe what happened as genocide.”

On September 12, 2006, New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez issued a hold on the confirmation vote for Hoagland, stating that “if the Bush Administration continues to refuse to acknowledge the atrocities of the Armenian Genocide, then there is certainly cause for great alarm, which is why I am placing a hold on this nominee.” [2] On January 9, 2007 Richard Hoagland was renominated as ambassador to Armenia but the nomination was eventually withdrawn by the White House on August 3, 2007 [5]


On a side note — Evans was career diplomat John Marshall Evans
who served as US ambassador to Armenia, and who was reportedly recalled for using the word “genocide” in informal meetings with Armenian-American groups a couple or so years ago. He was also the awardee at the center of a big flap on a dissent award withdrawn by AFSA. On that AFSA had this to say:

AFSA did not present the Christian A. Herter Dissent Award this year. The AFSA Awards Committee, upon review of the original decision to confer the award on Ambassador John Evans, withdrew the award because the nomination did not meet the criteria for constructive dissent.

A story of many parts for sure … but you get the idea, kind of like the obstacle course in Untold Legends. And since there’s a hold on the Gordon nomination, can another one be far behind for whoever is going to be the nominee for US Ambassador to Armenia?


Related Post:

Officially In: Philip Gordon to the EUR Bureau


Related Item:

Testimony of Philip H. Gordon: Assistant Secretary of State-designate for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs,Senate Foreign Relations Committee, March 26, 2009

Philip Gordon: Snared in Senate Hold and More

Philip H. Gordon was nominated by President Obama to be Assistant Secretary of State for the EUR Bureau (European and Eurasian Affairs), to succeed Daniel Fried, who has since been appointed as Special Envoy for Guantanamo closure.

It does not look like his nomination is going anywhere right now. Below are the legislative actions on this nomination:


Floor Action: March 11, 2009 – Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

Committee Action:
March 26, 2009 – Committee on Foreign Relations. Hearings held.

Committee Action: March 31, 2009 – Committee on Foreign Relations. Ordered to be reported favorably.

Floor Action: March 31, 2009 – Reported by Senator Kerry, Committee on Foreign Relations, without printed report.

Floor Action: March 31, 2009 – Placed on Senate Executive Calendar. Calendar No. 40. Subject to nominee’s commitment to respond to requests to appear and testify before any duly constituted committee of the Senate.

He has been on that Executive Calendar No.40 for 28 days now. The Washington Post’s Who Runs Gov says that Gordon’s nomination has been held up (reportedly by Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.)) because “Gordon is not willing to call the sustained Ottoman attacks on Armenians during and after World War I a genocide.(3) As a result, Gordon could not accompany Obama on his March 2009 trip to Europe. Foreign Policy’s The Cable reports that Gordon “had his bags ready to go,” but a last-minute hold kept his Senate confirmation vote off of the floor.(4) It is unclear when the Senate will now consider Gordon.”

Mr. Gordon is not the only one snared in the world of politics and senate holds. Remember career diplomat Richard Hoagland? He was nominated for the United States ambassadorship to Armenia on May 23, 2006. The Boston Globe reported then that “Armenians and their backers in Congress are trying to hold up the appointment of the man President Bush wants to succeed Evans, Richard E. Hoagland, who has declined to describe what happened as genocide.”

On September 12, 2006, New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez issued a hold on the confirmation vote for Hoagland, stating that “if the Bush Administration continues to refuse to acknowledge the atrocities of the Armenian Genocide, then there is certainly cause for great alarm, which is why I am placing a hold on this nominee.” [2] On January 9, 2007 Richard Hoagland was renominated as ambassador to Armenia but the nomination was eventually withdrawn by the White House on August 3, 2007 [5]


On a side note — Evans was career diplomat John Marshall Evans
who served as US ambassador to Armenia, and who was reportedly recalled for using the word “genocide” in informal meetings with Armenian-American groups a couple or so years ago. He was also the awardee at the center of a big flap on a dissent award withdrawn by AFSA. On that AFSA had this to say:

AFSA did not present the Christian A. Herter Dissent Award this year. The AFSA Awards Committee, upon review of the original decision to confer the award on Ambassador John Evans, withdrew the award because the nomination did not meet the criteria for constructive dissent.

A story of many parts for sure … but you get the idea, kind of like the obstacle course in Untold Legends. And since there’s a hold on the Gordon nomination, can another one be far behind for whoever is going to be the nominee for US Ambassador to Armenia?


Related Post:

Officially In: Philip Gordon to the EUR Bureau


Related Item:

Testimony of Philip H. Gordon: Assistant Secretary of State-designate for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs,Senate Foreign Relations Committee, March 26, 2009

Today at the SFRC: Harold Koh, Legal Adviser Nominee

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
111th CONGRESS
1st SESSION


Date:
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Time: 2:30 P.M.
Place: 419 Dirksen Senate Building
Presiding: Senator Kerry

Senator Kerry’s Opening Statement

Senator Lugar’s Opening Statement

Nominees:

The Honorable Harold H. Koh
to be Legal Adviser to the Department of State
(see WH Announcement)

This is the current line-up’s third Marshall Scholar, after Kurt Campbell, EAP nominee and Philip Gordon Daniel Benjamin, nominee for S/CT. Hearing will be on C-SPAN3 today at 2:15pm ET. Look for the link to the hearing here.

Update 4/28 9:14 pm: Senator Lugar has submitted pre-hearing questions to Legal Adviser-Designate Harold Hongju Koh. The questions and the response are here (pdf). The link in cspan seems to have disappeared right now. But you can watch the hearing at SFRC here (video starts at 9:40). When you get to the specific hearing page, click on “NOMINATION” (green big letters), that’s the link to the Senate live stream for this hearing. It’s a wacky set-up, but I could not locate a direct link to the video at this time. Somebody please tell SFRC that posting their videos this way really sucks!?!!

Found a Senate.gov video link of hearing here (h/t to Koh’s Facebook supporters’ page)

Related Items:

Today at the SFRC: Harold Koh, Legal Adviser Nominee

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
111th CONGRESS
1st SESSION


Date:
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Time: 2:30 P.M.
Place: 419 Dirksen Senate Building
Presiding: Senator Kerry

Senator Kerry’s Opening Statement

Senator Lugar’s Opening Statement

Nominees:

The Honorable Harold H. Koh
to be Legal Adviser to the Department of State
(see WH Announcement)

This is the current line-up’s third Marshall Scholar, after Kurt Campbell, EAP nominee and Philip Gordon Daniel Benjamin, nominee for S/CT. Hearing will be on C-SPAN3 today at 2:15pm ET. Look for the link to the hearing here.

Update 4/28 9:14 pm: Senator Lugar has submitted pre-hearing questions to Legal Adviser-Designate Harold Hongju Koh. The questions and the response are here (pdf). The link in cspan seems to have disappeared right now. But you can watch the hearing at SFRC here (video starts at 9:40). When you get to the specific hearing page, click on “NOMINATION” (green big letters), that’s the link to the Senate live stream for this hearing. It’s a wacky set-up, but I could not locate a direct link to the video at this time. Somebody please tell SFRC that posting their videos this way really sucks!?!!

Found a Senate.gov video link of hearing here (h/t to Koh’s Facebook supporters’ page)

Related Items:

2008 Annual Report on Foreign Service Grievance Now Online

I don’t know about you but — every time I visit the Foreign Service Grievance Board website, I feel sorry for these folks. The FSGB website is like a relic from an Internet cold war, frankly in a lot worse state than the SFRC website. All the documents are still posted in MS Word, the search function is not terribly helpful and there is no option to search/browse its pending or resolved cases. I must say that considering the website/social media improvements at State, this one is the poor, poor cousin indeed, and I’m not sure help is on the way. But they are hopeful, writing:

We hope to continue to improve the process by increased use of conferences to better focus issues at earlier stages of the process and decrease unnecessary paper filings, by improvements to our website (which presently is hampered by budgetary considerations), and by reductions in the length of some of our rulings (to enhance the readability of the decisions and better highlight the analysis that is central to our holdings in a given case).

In any case — in 2008, 57 cases were filed at the FSGB. Majority of the cases were Employee Evaluation Reports (EERs) related. I could not tell from the report how many cases are currently pending, but 53 cases were closed in 2008, disposed as follows:

Agency Decision Affirmed 16

Agency Decision Reversed 16

Settled/Withdrawn 15

Dismissed 6

Terms explained: “Agency Decision Affirmed means that the grievance filed with the Board was denied and the grievant did not prevail. Agency Decision Reversed means that the grievance was sustained in whole or in substantial part. Dismissals were cases in which the Board found it lacked continuing jurisdiction to proceed. These cases included dismissals due to untimeliness, mootness, and lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”

The average time for consideration of a grievance, from the time of filing to a Foreign Service Grievance Board decision was a total of 37 weeks.

The Annual Report which goes to the Director General of the Foreign Service and to both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) reports that “None of the cases decided in 2008 reversed long-standing Board precedent; however, one case established new ground on the legal issue of estoppel. Additionally, a number of themes emerged that are noteworthy.” Excerpts below:

EERs and OPFs
Employee evaluation reports (EERs) and official performance files (OPFs) are at the heart of the Foreign Service promotion and retention system. Of the cases decided by the Board in 2008, almost one-third involved those issues. This is consistent with the Board’s case load in recent years.

One of the more significant EER cases was FSGB Case No. 2008-006 (December 31, 2008), in which the grievant alleged that he had never been counseled on supposed deficiencies that ultimately led to his being denied tenure. Counseling, confirmed by a written counseling statement, is an explicit regulatory requirement for untenured employees. Although the agency invalidated a key counseling certificate that had been provided after the rating period, it nevertheless found that the rater had provided sufficient oral counseling, and that written counseling during the prior rating period had given the grievant adequate notice that he needed to improve certain skills. The agency also found that the tenure board had drawn its own conclusions with respect to one area for improvement not noted by the rater, and that it could do so without providing counseling.

The Board reversed the agency decision. It found that written counseling outside the rating period did not fulfill the Department’s obligations under the regulations, and that the claimed oral counseling was not proven to have, in fact, taken place. The Board also confirmed its earlier decision that the requirement for counseling applies to agencies as a whole, not just the rater and reviewer, and that the tenure board could not make decisions based solely on its own conclusions regarding deficiencies if the employee had not been counseled on those deficiencies.

A recurring theme in the EER cases was a claim that the EER contained alleged inaccuracies, omissions, errors, or information of a falsely prejudicial character which was or could have been prejudicial to the member. Those claims were often coupled with claims that the EERs had not been processed according to the regulations. In a number of these cases, the challenged material had already led to the employee being low ranked. Several of the cases involved claims that an employee had not been promoted because documents were missing from the employee’s OPF. The Board looks at the circumstances of each case to determine the potential effect of the missing documents.

In FSGB Case No. 2008-036 (November 20, 2008), the Board found that the omission of a Superior Honor Award from an employee’s OPF had not disadvantaged him in consideration for promotion. However, in FSGB Case No. 2008-027 (November 17, 2008), the Board found that a missing Meritorious Honor Award and narrative may have been a substantial factor in grievant’s failure to be promoted or receive a meritorious step increase. That case was remanded to the agency to show that grievant would not have been promoted or received a step increase had the error not occurred. Similarly, in FSGB Case No. 2006-036 (March 17, 2008), the Board found that a missing evaluation may have affected the grievant’s chances of being promoted.

One case did established legal precedent, perhaps of particular interest to IT specialists:

FSGB Case No. 2007-034 (July 30, 2008) was an unusual case that established legal precedent when the Board found that the agency was estopped from denying the grievant incentive pay under the unique circumstances present. The grievant was an Information Technology Specialist who made the decision to accept an employment offer that involved a significant pay cut from his previous salary, only after having been assured by the agency personnel specialist that he would be receiving a 15% incentive payment in addition to his base salary. After the grievant had left his former job, moved his family overseas, and been employed for a month, he was advised that he was not eligible for the incentive pay, since he had earned the certificates needed to qualify before he was employed, rather than after. The Board found that all the elements for equitable stoppel were present: misrepresentation by someone who had actual authority to make the salary offer; good faith reliance by the employee; and financial detriment resulting from that reliance. It also found that the case was distinguishable from Office of Personnel Management v. Richmond, 496 U.S. 414 (1990), in that the payment did not violate law or regulation. The Board sustained the grievance and the agency was directed to pay the allowance retroactively.


Related Item:


Update 10/09/09:
It looks like this report had been pulled down and is no longer available at the FSGB website. Click here if unable to locate the file at the FSGB site.

2008 Annual Report on Foreign Service Grievance Now Online

I don’t know about you but — every time I visit the Foreign Service Grievance Board website, I feel sorry for these folks. The FSGB website is like a relic from an Internet cold war, frankly in a lot worse state than the SFRC website. All the documents are still posted in MS Word, the search function is not terribly helpful and there is no option to search/browse its pending or resolved cases. I must say that considering the website/social media improvements at State, this one is the poor, poor cousin indeed, and I’m not sure help is on the way. But they are hopeful, writing:

We hope to continue to improve the process by increased use of conferences to better focus issues at earlier stages of the process and decrease unnecessary paper filings, by improvements to our website (which presently is hampered by budgetary considerations), and by reductions in the length of some of our rulings (to enhance the readability of the decisions and better highlight the analysis that is central to our holdings in a given case).

In any case — in 2008, 57 cases were filed at the FSGB. Majority of the cases were Employee Evaluation Reports (EERs) related. I could not tell from the report how many cases are currently pending, but 53 cases were closed in 2008, disposed as follows:

Agency Decision Affirmed 16

Agency Decision Reversed 16

Settled/Withdrawn 15

Dismissed 6

Terms explained: “Agency Decision Affirmed means that the grievance filed with the Board was denied and the grievant did not prevail. Agency Decision Reversed means that the grievance was sustained in whole or in substantial part. Dismissals were cases in which the Board found it lacked continuing jurisdiction to proceed. These cases included dismissals due to untimeliness, mootness, and lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”

The average time for consideration of a grievance, from the time of filing to a Foreign Service Grievance Board decision was a total of 37 weeks.

The Annual Report which goes to the Director General of the Foreign Service and to both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) reports that “None of the cases decided in 2008 reversed long-standing Board precedent; however, one case established new ground on the legal issue of estoppel. Additionally, a number of themes emerged that are noteworthy.” Excerpts below:

EERs and OPFs
Employee evaluation reports (EERs) and official performance files (OPFs) are at the heart of the Foreign Service promotion and retention system. Of the cases decided by the Board in 2008, almost one-third involved those issues. This is consistent with the Board’s case load in recent years.

One of the more significant EER cases was FSGB Case No. 2008-006 (December 31, 2008), in which the grievant alleged that he had never been counseled on supposed deficiencies that ultimately led to his being denied tenure. Counseling, confirmed by a written counseling statement, is an explicit regulatory requirement for untenured employees. Although the agency invalidated a key counseling certificate that had been provided after the rating period, it nevertheless found that the rater had provided sufficient oral counseling, and that written counseling during the prior rating period had given the grievant adequate notice that he needed to improve certain skills. The agency also found that the tenure board had drawn its own conclusions with respect to one area for improvement not noted by the rater, and that it could do so without providing counseling.

The Board reversed the agency decision. It found that written counseling outside the rating period did not fulfill the Department’s obligations under the regulations, and that the claimed oral counseling was not proven to have, in fact, taken place. The Board also confirmed its earlier decision that the requirement for counseling applies to agencies as a whole, not just the rater and reviewer, and that the tenure board could not make decisions based solely on its own conclusions regarding deficiencies if the employee had not been counseled on those deficiencies.

A recurring theme in the EER cases was a claim that the EER contained alleged inaccuracies, omissions, errors, or information of a falsely prejudicial character which was or could have been prejudicial to the member. Those claims were often coupled with claims that the EERs had not been processed according to the regulations. In a number of these cases, the challenged material had already led to the employee being low ranked. Several of the cases involved claims that an employee had not been promoted because documents were missing from the employee’s OPF. The Board looks at the circumstances of each case to determine the potential effect of the missing documents.

In FSGB Case No. 2008-036 (November 20, 2008), the Board found that the omission of a Superior Honor Award from an employee’s OPF had not disadvantaged him in consideration for promotion. However, in FSGB Case No. 2008-027 (November 17, 2008), the Board found that a missing Meritorious Honor Award and narrative may have been a substantial factor in grievant’s failure to be promoted or receive a meritorious step increase. That case was remanded to the agency to show that grievant would not have been promoted or received a step increase had the error not occurred. Similarly, in FSGB Case No. 2006-036 (March 17, 2008), the Board found that a missing evaluation may have affected the grievant’s chances of being promoted.

One case did established legal precedent, perhaps of particular interest to IT specialists:

FSGB Case No. 2007-034 (July 30, 2008) was an unusual case that established legal precedent when the Board found that the agency was estopped from denying the grievant incentive pay under the unique circumstances present. The grievant was an Information Technology Specialist who made the decision to accept an employment offer that involved a significant pay cut from his previous salary, only after having been assured by the agency personnel specialist that he would be receiving a 15% incentive payment in addition to his base salary. After the grievant had left his former job, moved his family overseas, and been employed for a month, he was advised that he was not eligible for the incentive pay, since he had earned the certificates needed to qualify before he was employed, rather than after. The Board found that all the elements for equitable stoppel were present: misrepresentation by someone who had actual authority to make the salary offer; good faith reliance by the employee; and financial detriment resulting from that reliance. It also found that the case was distinguishable from Office of Personnel Management v. Richmond, 496 U.S. 414 (1990), in that the payment did not violate law or regulation. The Board sustained the grievance and the agency was directed to pay the allowance retroactively.


Related Item:


Update 10/09/09:
It looks like this report had been pulled down and is no longer available at the FSGB website. Click here if unable to locate the file at the FSGB site.