Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Special Counsel v. Byrd and Rubinstein, 59 M.S.P.R. 561 (1993), aff’d, 39 F.3d 1196, the Board described this case as “one of the clearest possible examples of abuse of the merit system.” They concluded that Byrd, an Area District Director and Rubinstein, a regional branch chief responsible for personnel matters, conspired to violate 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(6) by giving an applicant unauthorized preference because she had ties to the White House and Congress. In order to hire the desired applicant from outside the agency, they misused a temporary hiring authority, narrowly restricted the public notice by geography, grade level, and time the vacancy announcement was open, selected the target employee without interviewing any of the other applicants to assess their qualifications, and questionably invalidated a veteran’s application. As a consequence, the Board ordered Byrd to pay a fine of $1,000 (since he had retired) and for the employing agency to suspend Rubinstein for 60 days without pay.