The Merit Systems Protection Board has charged that the U.S. Navy misled it and improperly tried to get an employe's suspension postponed until after he had retired.
The situation unfolded when the board found that two personnel officials of the Navy's Military Sealift Command had violated civil service regulations by improperly influencing an applicant to withdraw from competition for a job.
The MSPB ordered that the two officials, Ernest J. Filiberti and Darrell D. Dysthe, be suspended concurrently for 60 days.
But the Navy intervened, contending that the two men were indispensable, and asked that the suspensions be allowed to run one after the other. The MSPB agreed.
The Navy, however, did not reveal that Filiberti already planned to retire and that a notice had been posted to replace him.
Last week, when the board learned that Filiberti would have retired before his suspension, it issued a new decision suspending him immediately.
The board said it would "consider the alternative sanctions of fine and/or debarment from federal service should Mr. Filiberti circumvent this order by retiring immediately." According to MSPB spokesman Lon Anderson, after Filiberti learned of the MSPB's decision, he said he would take early retirement.
The board is now exploring whether it can dock Filiberti's retirement pay.
"We are certainly going to try to collect the pay," Anderson said. "This is just a low, deceitful action by Navy."
In the meantime, the board asked the Navy to "show cause why sanctions should not be imposed against it for concealment of material facts . . . ."
Lt. Cmdr. James Kudla, a spokesman for the Sealift Command, said, "This matter is under review by the office of the general counsel and it would be inappropriate to comment at this time."