MSPB Upholds Removal for False Medal Claim
The Merit Systems Protection Board recently upheld the removal of a federal employee charged with falsely informing coworkers, subordinates, and civic leaders that he was a recipient of the Silver Star medal. He was also charged with intentionally making a false statement to his supervisor by providing him what he knew to be a falsified copy of a military General Order showing that he had been awarded the Silver Star. 2012 MSPB 33 (3/8/12).
The board agreed with its administrative judge that the employee was not a credible witness as he had no proof that he was ever in combat and failed to produce any supporting documentation as to his alleged receipt of the Silver Star. The Board concurred with the AJ who found that the appellant’s false statements concerning his receipt of a Silver Star were knowing and intentional, rather than the result of an honest mistake. The Board also agreed with its AJ’s conclusion that there was a nexus between the charged conduct and the efficiency of the service and that the removal penalty was within the bounds of reasonableness.
While the board disagreed that the misconduct affected the agency’s mission, it supported the AJ to the extent that he found the agency established that the conduct adversely affected management’s trust and confidence in his job performance.
Said the board: “We further agree that the penalty of removal is within the bounds of reasonableness. The Board has long recognized that removal for falsification and dishonest activity promotes the efficiency of the service since such behavior raises serious doubts regarding the appellant’s reliability, trustworthiness, and continued fitness for employment. This is especially so considering that the appellant was a superior.”