February 2016 Federal Employment Law Training Newsletter

sun-waveGravity waves. I’m not sure exactly what they are, but if Neil deGrasse Tyson is excited about them, then I’m excited about them, as well. And who predicted them nearly a hundred years ago? That’s right: Albert Einstein. And what was Einstein’s job before he became a famous physicist? That’s right again: civil servant. And who else do we think about fondly when we think of civil servants, just doing their jobs, without praise or necessarily receiving a sustained superior performance award? That’s right one more time: federal employees like Jack Ryan, Jason Bourne, and Maya in “Zero Dark Thirty.” I’d have to assume that Civil Servant James Bond’s travel claims look a bit different from yours, but still … he’s just some GS-Whatever, doing what his PD says, including “other duties as assigned.” And that’s why here at FELTG, we love you guys. Every work day of your civil service lives, you get up in the morning, put on your pants one leg at a time, and go out and do whatever The People need you to do to make our society work. Most of what you do doesn’t end up all praiseworthy on the front page of the Washington Post, but it makes a difference to us citizens on the front pages of our hearts. And if we here at FELTG help you just one little bit in doing your jobs better, then we are humbled and honored to have been of assistance. Gravity waves … who would have thought it? Oh, yeah – a civil servant thought it. So what are you going to think up this day in your civil service life? We citizens can hardly wait to find out.

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Speaking of Jack Ryan

By William Wiley In one of the last scenes in The Hunt for Red October, Jack’s with the good Russians in the Red October when Viktor Tupolv, captain of the bad Russians in another submarine, against the wishes of his crew, arms his torpedoes in their tubes before...

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Relief Regarding Administrative Leave During Notice Period

By William Wiley We don’t often write about pending legislation in our newsletter for two reasons: Most bills do not become law, and Tentative legislation confuses people (your humble reporter included) because it’s hard to remember, “Did that thing ever pass or did I...

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Discipline in the Public View – Credit Card Misuse VI

By Barbara Haga Last month’s column addressed travel and purchase card misuse.  We continue with a discussion of the OMB guidance regarding dealing with instances of misuse.     OMB’s Opinion Appendix B of OMB Circular A-123 entitled Improving the Management of...

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Using a PIP for a 752 Removal

By William Wiley One of the great gifts of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 was the ability for agencies to remove poor performers using what have come to be called the “432” procedures. Misconduct removals (non-performance terminations) rely on the “752”...

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The “Gambler’s Fallacy” at Work in Civil Service Law

By William Wiley Pop Quiz: You have flipped a coin five times and it has come up five heads five times in a row. If you were to bet on the next flip, what would you pick: heads or tails? A lot of people would pick tails, believing consciously or subconsciously that...

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Discipline is Different in a Unionized Environment

By William Wiley So you think you know how to discipline an employee, do you? You’ve read the law, the regulations, and your agency’s policies regarding misconduct. You’re familiar with the requirements of the Merit Systems Protection Board. If you work for an agency...

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