Alright, so I was in a Federal Prison
I know, I know, that's no excuse for not writing, not calling mom, getting behind in Christmas Shopping and appearing to ignore my fellow bees. I'm sorry. Okay?
I enjoy sharing my whacky adventures as much as many of you enjoy reading about them --believe me. Indeed.
I was guess I was embarrassed and took me awhile to admit to myself that we all make mistakes, life is short, etc. It took me a while to say: "gerry...dammit --get out of your own way and stop feeling sorry for yourself, and tell them what happened. Some may not forgive you, and others will. It is what it is and that's that."
Here goes: FCC Beaumont is a federal prison complex composed of three facilities: (1) the Penitentiary (high security); (2) Medium Security; and (3) the Prison Camp (low security). The Agency employs 830 employees at its Beaumont facility. A large population of inmates housed and secured at the Beaumont facility has been convicted of violations of federal drug and narcotics laws.
Senior Officer Specialist XXXXX XXXXX was employed at Beaumont FCC for approximately 11 years at the time of his termination. During his employment, Officer XXXXX received awards in the nature of “time off” as special recognition for performing his duties. According to Officer XXXXX’s unrebutted testimony, he received ratings of either “satisfactory or exceeds” for his annual evaluations. Officer Guidry did not have any prior disciplinary actions taken against him within the reckoning period.
In June of 1997, the Bureau of Prisons issued Program Statement 3735.04 entitled Drug Free Work Place (DFWP). This program is intended to provide “a mechanism for employee assessments and employee education regarding the dangers of drug abuse. ”Sections 8 and 9 of the DFWP provide for random testing to determine if employees are using illegal drugs. Among the prohibited drugs tested for are amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, marijuana, and opioids.
In early 2017, Senior Officer XXXXX XXXXX was randomly selected for drug screening. On March 24, 2017, he provided a urine sample to the Health Services Department. On March 29, 2017, Officer XXXXX XXXXX was contacted by the Medical Review Officer (MRO) assigned to Officer XXXXX XXXXX’s urinalysis. The MRO informed Officer XXXXX XXXXX that he had tested positive for amphetamines. The quantitative result for amphetamines on the drug screening was a concentration of 5,268 mg/mL. According to the MRO, he advised Officer XXXXX XXXXX that he was positive for amphetamines. Officer XXXXX XXXXX denied taking any amphetamines. The MRO then told Officer XXXXX XXXXX that unless he came up with a valid prescription, he (the MRO) was going to have to report him as positive for the presence of an illegal drug.
A proposal letter was issued by Captain XXXXX to Officer XXXXX XXXXX which advised him that Captain XXXXX was proposing that Officer XXXXX XXXXX be removed from his employment. Officer XXXXX XXXXX orally responded to his proposal to Warden XXXXX XXXXX on July 17, 2017. In a meeting with Warden XXXXX XXXXX, Officer XXXXX XXXXX reiterated that he did not know why the test was positive. Officer XXXXX XXXXX pointed out that he had negative results for his second screening and did not consume any drugs.
Warden XXXXX XXXXX issued a decision sustaining the charge removing Officer XXXXX XXXXX from his position. At the hearing and in the decision letter, Warden XXXXX XXXXX stated that he considered the following factors in mitigation: Officer XXXXX XXXXX did not have any prior discipline within the reckoning period and that his performance was above average. However, Warden XXXXX XXXXX interpreted the Drug Free Work Place Program as establishing no tolerance for illicit drug use among staff and considered that behavior to be an egregious offense. According to Warden XXXXX XXXXX, illicit drug use totally conflicts with the ability to meet the needs of a law enforcement position. Therefore, he concluded that he had lost confidence in Officer XXXXX XXXXX, and a lesser penalty would not have the sufficient corrective effect on Officer XXXXX XXXXX. Removal for the use of illegal drugs was consistent with the Table of Penalties imposed on other employees who engaged in similar conduct.
"Dr. Gerald Hecht, a biochemist and a neuropharmacologist who was retained by the Union’s attorney. Dr. Gerald Hecht has earned three Master degrees and a Ph.D. in Neuropharmacology. He also pursued a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Drug Abuse. In addition, he is a member of a federal agency group that decides which drugs are to be classified illegal substances. In view of his training and experience, I (the FMCS appointed Arbitrator)find him to be an expert in pharmacology and drug abuse."
Well, you know it goes --after all it is Christmas. Indeed!
The Arbitrator found that the Agency violated Articles 30 and 6, thereby, depriving the Grievant of due process...the Agency is directed to reinstate Grievant XXXXX XXXXX and make him whole with full back pay, benefits, and statutory interests lost beyond the five (5) day suspension. The Agency is further directed to expunge the records of the Grievant’s discharge. The Grievant and the Union are entitled, per 5 U.S.C. 5596, to reasonable attorney’s fees related to the personnel action, which shall be awarded according to the standards under Section 7701(g). The Union has thirty (30) calendar days from the date of this Award to
reach agreement with the Agency on reasonable attorney’s fees. Should there be no agreement at the conclusion of thirty (30) calendar days, the matter will be presented to the Arbitrator for determination. The undersigned Arbitrator shall retain jurisdiction for the sole purpose of resolving any dispute that may arise over the implementation of this Award. The parties shall be invoiced for any post-hearing matters.
The attorney who retained my services, however, has not paid me...and so the "whacky nature" of the adventure concludes appropriately --gerry's stocking has a lump of...ummm...uhhh...yes --a lump of fossil fuel. SELAH!
(Copyright c all rights reserved Gerald Hecht, Ph.D. Decembeer 2018).