James H. Russell, Petitioner, v. United States Postal Service, Respondent, 831 F.2d 305 (Fed. Cir. 1987)Annotate this Case
Before MARKEY, Chief Judge, DAVIS, Circuit Judge, and BALDWIN, Senior Circuit Judge.
The decisions of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB or Board), MSPB Docket No. SL07528610446, upholding petitioner's removal from his position with respondent, are affirmed.
Petitioner was a General Mechanic with the U.S. Postal Service. He was charged with falsifying official government documents in making a claim for an on-the-job injury when he had not, and knew he had not, been injured on the job. The agency sustained the charge, and he was removed. On appeal to the MSPB, the administrative judge, after a hearing, sustained the charge and the penalty. The full Board declined review.
There is substantial evidence showing that, though petitioner made a written claim for an on-the-job injury, he thereafter admitted that he had not been hurt on the job or at work. The agency's Acting Compensation Specialist so testified as to Russell's admission and made a contemporaneous note of it--and the administrative judge specifically said she believed the Specialist's evidence (despite petitioner's differing evidence as to his conversation with the Specialist). There is no basis for overturning this express determination of credibility by the trier of the facts. Hambsch v. Department of the Treasury, 796 F.2d 430, 436 (Fed. Cir. 1986). Moreover, the nexus of falsification of government records to the efficiency of the service is obvious. Gonzales v. Defense Logistics Agency, 772 F.2d 887, 889 (Fed. Cir. 1985). And the penalty of removal was appropriate, especially in the light of Russell's prior discipline.