Posted: 12:15 am ET
Below are three appeals of FSGB decisions that were filed in the District Court for the District of Columbia in 2015 and a few other cases currently pending in court. All extracted from the 2015 FSGB Annual Report:
- In May, Paul Fritch appealed the Board’s decision in FSGB Case No. 2013-005. The circumstances of that case, as with two other appeals filed by Mr. Fritch with the Board, revolved around his transfer to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for seven years, and reemployment by the Department of State. Mr. Fritch’s district court appeal claims that the Department, affirmed by the Board decision, denied him benefits upon his return to which he was entitled by law, including promotion opportunities, housing expenses, lost contributions to his Thrift Savings Plan account, and position seniority. A decision is pending. (Also see How many people should be put through a wringer before, oh you know …. and Secondments to international organizations and promotions? Here comes the boo!).
- In November, SharLyn Foo appealed the Board’s decision in FSGB Case No.2014-018, described above under financial cases resolved last year. The Board affirmed the Department’s denial of a waiver of repayment of annuity payments in excess of $300,000 deposited into Foo’s deceased mother’s account over more than a decade. A decision is pending.
- Also in November, La Rufus Mitchell filed an appeal of the Board’s decision in FSGB Case No. 2014-003. Ms. Mitchell claims that the Department violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act when it separated her for not having passed the timed running test required for Diplomatic Security Agents. The Board had upheld the Department’s decision. (See the case description under Separation cases, above, for greater detail.) A decision is pending.
- In an appeal filed by Gregory Picur, the district court vacated the Board’s decision in FSGB Case No. 3013-031 (sic). Mr. Picur, a retired criminal investigator with USAID/OIG, appealed the agency’s decision, upheld by the Board, to reduce his annuity payments based on the application of a cap on his special differential pay that had not actually been applied when his salary had been paid. The district court found that, regardless of whether the cap should have been applied, retroactive adjustments could not be made as part of the process of calculating his annuity. On remand, the Board has recently issued a decision in accord with the court’s findings. (Also see Picur v. Kerry: Court slaps down FSGB annuity decision as “arbitrary and capricious” and Foreign Service Grievance Board Annual Report 2014 — Noteworthy Cases). See FSGB files: 2013-031 09-16-2013 – B – Order – Motion for Hearing_Redacted; 2013-031R – 02-25-2016 – Decision on Remand Final – Redacted and 2013-031R – 03-24-2016 – Order – Stay – Redacted
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Court of Columbia Circuit upheld the district court’s summary judgment decision in favor of the Department in Richard Lubow, et al. v. United States Department of State, et al. This case has been active for several years. Appellants had grieved the Department’s application of a cap on their premium pay during their time in Iraq and its decision not to grant them a waiver of repayment of the amounts they had been paid in excess of that cap. The Board had affirmed the Department’s decision. (Also see No Publicity Zone — 2012 Judicial Actions Involving Foreign Service Grievance Board Rulings; Foreign Service Grievance Board Annual Report 2014 — Noteworthy Cases; DS Agents deployed to Iraq charged overpayment for overtime worked, State Dept demands repayment. Isn’t that like working for free?).
- Decisions in appeals filed by Jeremy Yamin (involving attorney fees) and Joan Wadelton (involving reconstituted selection boards), discussed in the Board’s 2014 Annual Report, are still pending. (See Wadelton-related posts below:)
- Former FSO Joan Wadelton With Truthout Goes to Court Over FOIA Case
- Joan Wadelton’s Appeal Makes it to FSGB 2011 Annual Report to Congress (diplopundit.net)
- Joan Wadelton’s Case: That’s One Messy Promotion Scorecard, Next Up – It’s GAO Time! (diplopundit.net)
- GAO Examines Foreign Service Promotion Process — Strengthened But Documentation Gaps Remain) (diplopundit.net)
- U.S. District Court for the Court of the District of Columbia | Wadelton v. State Department, 4/25/13 (pdf)
- Wadelton Case | The FOIA Project
- WADELTON et al v. DEPARTMENT OF STATE | Complaint 4/1/2013 (pdf)
- Appeal to the Foreign Service Labor Relations Board (FSRLB) | In October, the Department of State filed an appeal to the FSRLB of the Board’s decision in the implementation dispute filed by AFSA in FSGB Case No. 2014-028. The FSGB found that the Department had violated negotiated Procedural Precepts when it failed to pay Meritorious Service Increases (MSIs) to members of the Foreign Service in 2013. The Department has alleged that the Board relied on erroneous facts and factual premises not in evidence, and disregarded the express terms of the collective bargaining agreement when it based its decision on past practice. (See Implementation Disputes, above, for greater detail.) Also see Burn Bag: @StateDept announces its disappointment … OMG! It’s nice to feel valued!