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Board for Correction Case No. 091-88

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Board for Correction Case No. 091-88

124.00 Commissioned Officer Effectiveness Report (COER)-Includes Performance Evaluation - Remove evaluation report

Subject Recommendations of the Board for Correction on xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx, Case No.091-88

Xxxxxxxxxx filed an application with the Board for Correction dated Xxxxxxxxxx, 1987, requesting the Board to remove from his Official Personnel File (OPF) three COERS written on him by his supervisor during the period from Xxxxxxxxxx, 1986-Xxxxxxxx, 1986. Xxxxxxxxxx requested that the Board replace these COERS with one to be written on him by another officer in his management chain to cover the same period of time, but dated approximately Xxxxxxxx, 1986-Xxxxxxxx 1986, the time COERS are usually done. The merits of his requests were reviewed on the basis of the documentation submitted. The relevant facts in the Board's proceedings are included as Attachment I.

After consideration of all of the information submitted, the recommendation of the members of the Board for Correction is that Xxxxxxxxxx requests be upheld in part. Accordingly, the Board members recommend that Xxxxxxxxxx record be corrected to remove the Xxxxxxxxxx, 1986 COER written on him by Xxxxxxxxxx, as called for by the grievance examiner. This recommendation is unanimous.

Approval of the Board members recommendation on the Xxxxxxxxxx, 1986 COER will require DCP to remove from Xxxxxxxxxx OPF, not only all copies of the Xxxxxxxxxx, 1986 COER report, but also all supporting documentation, comments and other materials incident to that evaluation.

The Board members do not recommend removal from Xxxxxxxxxx OPF the xxxx 1986 and the xxxxxx, 1987 COERS written on him by Xxxxxxxxxx although they conclude these evaluations are aberrations. This recommendation is not unanimous.

In lieu of removing the Xxxxxxxx, 1986 and the Xxxxxxxx, 1987 COERS, the Board members recommend that a statement be placed in Xxxxxxxxxx OPF worded as follows: "The members of the Board for Correction find that the negative ratings and recommendations written in Xxxxxxxxxx COERS as of Xxxxxxxx, 1986, and Xxxxxxxx, 1987, by Xxxxxxxxxx, are aberrations to an otherwise excellent record. Anyone reviewing Xxxxxxxxxx file for any purpose should consider all past evaluations of his performances as well as his most recent evaluation. No opportunities to be considered for promotion should be denied to Xxxxxxxxxx because of the negative ratings and recommendations by Xxxxxxxxxx."

The minority report did not concur with the recommendation to keep the Xxxxxxxx, 1986 and the Xxxxxxxx, 1987 COERS in Xxxxxxxxxx OPF although it did concur with the recommendation to remove the Xxxxxxxxxx, 1986 COER. The findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the minority report justifying removal of the other two COERS are included in Attachment I.

I certify that these recommendations reflect the actions taken by the members of the Board for Correction including that of the minority member, as contained in the Attachments to this memorandum, and that they have been reviewed by the Board members. Further, I certify that the documentation contained in the case file includes all information submitted to the members of the Board and that, in addition to applicable statutes, regulations and, policies, it has been considered in arriving at these recommendations. Finally, I certify that a quorum of Board members was present on xxxxx xx, 1988, when Xxxxxxxxxx requests were considered.

If you approve, please sign below:

Ellen Wormser

Attachments

(1) Board Proceedings
(2) Case File including all documentation submitted

Reviewed and Approved:

I hereby approve the recommendations of the majority members of the Board for Correction on the requests of Xxxxxxxxxx received and considered in accordance with the authority of 10 U.S.C. 1552 and 42 U.S.C. 213a (12).

Wilford J. Forbush
Deputy Assistant Secretary For Health Operations and Director, Office of Management

I hereby approve the recommendations of the minority member of the Board for Correction on the requests of Xxxxxxxxxx received and considered in accordance with the authority of 10 U.S.C. 1552 and 42 U.S.C. 213a (12).

Wilford J. Forbush
Deputy Assistant Secretary For Health Operations and Director, Office of Management

FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS:

The members of the Board found that:

  1. Xxxxxxxxxx performance as of xxxx xx, 1987, met the requirement set forth by the grievance examiner for removing the Xxxxxxxxxx, 1986 COER from his Official Personnel File. The examiner said: "Whether or not he [Xxxxxxxxxx] is transfered, I finally recommend that if by xxxx xx, 1987, the Grievant's performance has improved to a significant degree, then the interim Xxxxxxxxxx xx COER be judged an aberration and be purged from the official personnel file." Xxxxxxxxxx was entitled to have the examiner's recommendation implemented. He was still a member of the Commissioned Corps although on detail to Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. DCP, not NIH was responsible for the final implementation of the examiner's recommendation since it affected an officer in the Commissioned Corps.
  2. The members of the Board did not agree on whether the fact xxxxxxxxxx had previously supervised Xxxxxxxxxx was a factor in: (a) how Xxxxxxxxxx subsequently evaluated Xxxxxxxxxx or (b) how willing Xxxxxxxxxx was to accept supervision. (The Board members agreed, however, that the previous relationship between these two individuals may have had some bearing on their differences.) 
  3. There was no definitive basis for the Board members to determine the validity or non-validity of the evaluations given to Xxxxxxxxxx by Xxxxxxxxxx as of Xxxxxxxxxx, 1986, Xxxxxxxx, 1986, and Xxxxxxxx, 1987.

  4. The Board members found, however, that xx xxxx evaluations of Xxxxxxxxxx for the periods questioned were diametrically opposed to those given to him by both his previous and subsequent supervisors.

  5. As Xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx during the periods in question, Xxxxxxxxxx had the right to establish and implement standards and rules to be followed by all employees who worked for him.

  6. Having a new evaluation done by a peer, as xxxxxxx wished, was not an acceptable managerial alternative.

  7. The opinion was not unanimous that Xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxx and his xxxxxx problem were factors in his work performance during the periods in question.

  8. Xxxxxxxxxx relative ranking in the list of officers recommended for promotion could have been influenced by the negative ratings and comments he received from Xxxxxxxxxx and the two recommendations that he not be promoted. DCP advised the Board members that an officer is not promoted if the program official recommends against promotion.

In Summary:

The Board members concluded that the evaluations Xxxxx received from Xxxxxx for the periods in question were aberrations, but there was no acceptable bases for questioning their validity.

There was no definitive basis for the Board members to determine the validity or non-validity of the evaluations given to xxx by xxxx as of xxxx, 1986, xxx, 1986, and xxx, 1987.

The Board members found, however, that xxxx evaluations of xxx for the periods questioned were diametrically opposed to those given to him by both his previous and subsequent supervisors.

As xxxx during the periods in question, xxxx had the right to establish and implement standards and rules to be followed by all employees who worked for him.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

After consideration of all of the information submitted, the recommendation of the members of the Board for Correction is that Xxxxxxxxxx requests be upheld in part. Accordingly, the Board members recommend that Xxxxxxxxxx record be corrected to remove the Xxxxxxxxxx, 1986 COER written on him by Xxxxxxxxxx, as called for by the grievance examiner. This recommendation is unanimous.

Approval of the Board members recommendation on the Xxxxxxxxxx, 1986 COER will require DCP to remove from Xxxxxxxxxx OPF, not only all copies of the Xxxxxxxxxx, 1986 COER report, but also all supporting documentation, comments and other materials incident to that evaluation.

The Board members do not recommend removal from Xxxxxxxxxx OPF the Xxxxxxxx, 1986 and the Xxxxxxxx, 1987 COERS written on him by Xxxxxxxxxx although they conclude these evaluations are aberrations. This recommendation is not unanimous. (see minority report below).

In lieu of removing the Xxxxxxxx, 1986 and the Xxxxxxxx, 1987 COERS, the Board members recommend that the statement shown in Attachment II be placed in Xxxxxxxxxx OPF worded as follows: "The members of the Board for Correction find that the negative ratings and recommendations written in Xxxxxxxxxx COERS as of Xxxxxxxx, 1986, and Xxxxxxxx, 1987, by Xxxxxxxxxx, are aberrations to an otherwise excellent record. Anyone reviewing Xxxxxxxxxx file for any purpose should consider all past evaluations of his performances as well as his most recent evaluation.

No opportunities to be considered for promotion should be denied to Xxxxxxxxxx because of the negative ratings and recommendations by Xxxxxxxxxx."

Minority Report:

The minority report did not concur with the recommendation to keep the Xxxxxxxx, 1986 and the Xxxxxxxx, 1987 COERS in xxxxxxxxxxxx OPF although it did concur with the recommendation to remove the Xxxxxxxxxx, 1986 COER. The findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the minority report justifying removal of the other two COERS are as follows:

When the Board For Correction of the PHS Commissioned Corps Records considered the case of xxxx x xxxxx on Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, 1988, the Board's recommendation was not unanimous. I participated as a member of the Board and now file the following minority report regarding this case. Records in two volumes and the proceedings of the Board meeting have been considered.

The overriding fact that comes through when I interpret the facts of this case is that middle-level supervisors in the chain of command immediately above Xxxxxxxxxx and Xxxxxxxxxx (the xxxxx and xxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx and perhaps others) failed in their management of an extremely sensitive and stressful situation for both men. As efficient managers in control of the department and as managers who plan in advance, they should have had the foresight to predict and to prevent this altercation before it occurred.

Both Xxxxxxxxxx and Xxxxxxxxxx, especially Xxxxxxxxxx, were victims of management's failure to control. The xxxxx and xxxxx xxxxx of the department and other officers up the chain of command could have prevented this situation by designating one or the other, or someone else that Xxxxxxxxxx had never supervised, to be Xxxxxxxxxx temporary supervisor for approximately a one-year period so that Xxxxxxxxxx could make a painless transition away from a supervisory orientation and so that Xxxxxxxxxx could grow into his new supervisory responsibilities.

Xxxxxxxxxx had been a xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for seven years when, suddenly, his supervisory authority was removed and given to one of the subordinates he had been supervising. Whether the change in status was acceptable to him or not, this demotion surely must have caused substantial trauma for him. What made it worse was that it was necessary for him to continue working in the same workplace but now as a subservient to someone he had previously supervised. This was done without giving him sufficient time to make the transition from supervisor to subordinate. Also, in his relatively brief tenure as a new supervisor without experience, Xxxxxxxxxx made mistakes at Xxxxxxxxxx expense. (Moving from the rank and file to a supervisory position can also be a difficult transition to make.) This laid the grounds for an explosive situation for both parties and put both of them in a defensive adversarial posture. Xxxxxxxxxx had seniority carryover with no authority and Xxxxxxxxxx was probably maneuvering to assert his new authority over his former supervisor by using his performance appraisal responsibility, and, what's worse, with full support from his managers directly up the chain of command, managers who demonstrated no skill in interpreting what was happening between these two men. The situation exploded. The events that triggered the year-long confrontation (writing progress notes, accounting for lunch time, failure to grant requested leave time, etc.) were not really the issues because the confrontation would have occurred regardless of the specific events.

No where do I see that concern was shown for the well-­being and emotional state of xx xxxxxxxx during a period of severe but temporary xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. In fact, his new supervisor's response to the xxxxxxxxxxxx made Xxxxxxxxxx position even more stressful. This was another example of management's failure to mediate between disputing but valuable team members.

Xxxxxxxxxx had an unblemished record of very commendable performance, at times outstanding, during the 20 years that he served as an xxxxxxxxx except for the three ill-conceived, damaging COERS that were written by his "supervisor/coworker/ subordinate," Xxxxxxxxxx, in the heat of a series of unnecessary and preventable altercations. Since Xxxxxxxxxx transfer to a new work site at Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, he has been mercifully relieved of the stress and strain of the daily altercations and has, again, earned an unblemished record of outstanding service. He wants now, and deserves, to have a clean record.

In view of Xxxxxxxxxx subsequent outstanding performance, I recommend:

  1. That the recommendation of the grievance examiner to remove the Xxxxxxxxxx 1986 COER from Xxxxxxxxxx file be implemented without further delay.

    The grievance examiner, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, recommended on xxxx 1987, (page 204, Exhibit VI-A) that, "Whether or not he is transferred, I finally recommend that if by xxxx xx, 1987, the Grievant's performance has improved to a significant degree, then the interim Xxxxxxxxxx xx COER be judged an aberration and be purged from the official personnel file."
  2. That the other two COERS written by Xxxxxxxxxx dated Xxxxxxxx 1986 and Xxxxxxxx 1987 be removed from xx xxxxxx file.

    The justification for this recommendation rests not only on the comments above concerning the overall quality of Xxxxxxxxxx's performance over the years and after he left XXX, but also on what, in my opinion, was an unconcerned and unsympathetic attitude of XXX management towards this employee. The specific instance that demonstrates this point more than any other was the willingness of XXX management to accept three seriously damaging evaluations of Xxxxxxxxxx over a 14-month period (from Xxxxxxxx x, 1985, to Xxxxxxxx xx, 1987,) from a supervisor who had supervised him for a total of less than 18 months. Under the circumstances, it would have been appropriate for XXX management to have intervened (given the past history of the relationship between Xxxxxxxxxx and Xxxxxxxxxx) with the point in mind of either effecting Xxxxxxxxxx transfer to another unit or arranging for him to remain where he was, but reporting to another person. This was not done.

Memorandum to the Official Personnel File: xxxx x xxxxx Case No.091-88

Director

Division of Commissioned Personnel Office of the Surgeon General/PHS

The Board for Correction of PHS Commissioned Corps Records considered on xxxxx xx, 1988, a request of Xxxxxxxxxx that the COERS written on him as of Xxxxxxxx, 1986 and Xxxxxxxx, 1987 be removed from his Official Personnel File. After consideration of all of the information submitted, the members of the Board for Correction unanimously agreed that the following statement be placed in Xxxxxxxxxx Official Personnel File:

"The members of the Board for Correction find that the negative ratings and recommendations written in Xxxxxxxxxx COERS as of Xxxxxxxx, 1986 and Xxxxxxxx, 1987 by Xxxxxxxxxx, are aberrations to an otherwise excellent record. Anyone reviewing Xxxxxxxxxx file for any purpose should consider all past evaluations of his performances as well as his most recent evaluation. No opportunities to be considered for promotion should be denied to Xxxxxxxxxx because of the negative ratings and recommendations by Xxxxxxxxxx."

Sincerely,

Ellen Wormser, Chairperson
Board for Correction of PHS Commissioned Corps Records, OOMS/OM/OASH/PHS

I hereby approve inclusion of the above statement in XXxxxx OPF as recommended by the Board for Correction of PHS Commissioned Corps Records based on its consideration of Xxxxxx request in accordance with the authority of 10 U.S.C. 1552 and 42 U.S.C. 213 a (12).

Wilford J. Forbush
Deputy Assistnat Secretary for Health Operations and Director, Office of Management


Anyone wishing to obtain an un-redacted copy of any of the decisions should submit a request for the un-redacted decision under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Such requests should be directed to the PHS FOIA Office, Parklawn Building, Room 17 A-46, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857; telephone 301-443-5252; fax 301-443-0925.