Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Special Counsel v. Brown, 61 M.S.P.R. 559 (1994), the Office of Special Counsel requested
disciplinary action against Brown, who was responsible for human resources management in the region, and Nelson, who was his supervisor, for their involvement in a hiring action that the Board found involved a violation of 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(5), to “influence a person to withdraw from competition for the purpose of improving or injuring the prospects of any other person for employment,” including misleading a candidate about his right to priority consideration as a displaced employee, as well as violations of 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(6), regarding granting unauthorized hiring preferences. Nelson and Brown conducted a panel interview with the priority candidate and rated him as failing the interview and selected two nonpriority candidates. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) noted that these selections violated the displaced employee regulations and ordered corrective action, which Brown and Nelson did not take in a timely manner. Further, Nelson violated 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(6) and provided Brown with an unauthorized preference by improperly reclassifying a GM-201-14 position to a GM-301-14 position to improve Brown’s chances for selection. An HR specialist notified Nelson verbally and in writing that this action was not permissible. As a result of these actions and refusal to correct the problems identified by OPM, the Board ordered the employing agency to suspend Nelson for 90 days without pay and for Brown
to pay a $1,000 fine in lieu of a 60-day suspension, given his retirement.

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