DorobekINSIDER: Fired VA employee Martinez reinstated by MSPB
The initial decision by Judge Lynne Yovino of the Merit Systems Protection Board, handed down Friday, says that Martinez was not given due process — essentially that her Fifth Amendment rights were violated.
The judge determined VA CIO Roger Baker violated Martinez’s Constitutional rights when he pre-judged charges of misconduct made against her by the VA Office of Inspector General, said Kevin
Gary Owen, the attorney for Martinez. The Department of Veterans Affairs was ordered to reinstate Martinez to her job as Deputy Assistant Secretary and pay her lost wages and attorneys fees.
The series of IG reports alleged that Martinez, a former high-ranking information technology officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs, gave preferential treatment to certain contractors and engaged in nepotism in hiring. The IG reports allege that Martinez took advantage of a relationship with a supervisor for personal gain.
The decision says that VA CIO Roger Baker did not give Martinez a fair opportunity to defend herself. Quoting the U.S. Supreme Court, the ruling said, the “core of due process is the right to notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard,” and that the VA did not give Martinez that opportunity.
“In my view, because Baker’s testimony was tainted by his prior review of the evidence and concurrence in the violations, his later claim that he nonetheless provided the appellant with a meaningful opportunity to reply is unavailing.”
Read the full ruling — and find links to the VA Office of Inspector General reports — after the break.
Read the full MSPB determination here [PDF]:
Read the 2009 IG reports here.