the Reference Department. His appointment was classified as "Indefinite," subject to a satisfactory investigation and to a trial period of one year.
2. This trial period of one year was known as a "probational" period at the time of plaintiff's appointment but pursuant to a regulation promulgated on September 2, 1960, the terminology for this trial period was changed to "conditional."
This change in terminology had no effect on plaintiff's status. The new regulation of September 2, 1960, neither converted him to an unconditional indefinite employee nor lengthened the customary qualifying period of one year, now termed a "conditional" period.
3. Although plaintiff's position was an "indefinite" one, the only distinction between such an appointment and a "permanent" position is that the former is expected to last more than one year but not to continue permanently. Both indefinite and permanent employees possess identical rights as they might be involved in this litigation. Both types of employees serve a qualifying period of one year as conditional employees.
4. At the time of his appointment the Library deemed the plaintiff's academic qualifications more than adequate; however, because his personnel records from his previous employment indicated a history of inter-personal difficulties with respect to colleagues, the Library had reservations about plaintiff's personal qualifications. In plaintiff's case, then, the one-year qualifying (conditional) period was more than customary; it was a period during which the Library would determine whether plaintiff could fit himself into the actual working atmosphere of the Library. This the Library officials would do with a view toward his difficulties in previous working relationships.
5. The job description
for plaintiff's position provided that his job entailed, inter alia, supervising the work of the accessions assistant, general supervision over the Section's collections, recommending book acquisitions, and serving as Head of the Section in the absence of the Section Head.
6. Because this position required special Near Eastern language skills and background, the position was extremely difficult to fill. Consequently, even though there were reservations about appointing the plaintiff, he was selected because Library officials were desperate to fill the post.
7. At all times relevant herein Mr. Robert F. Ogden, as Head of the Near East Section, was plaintiff's immediate supervisor. Dr. Horace I. Poleman, as Chief of the Orientalia Division, was Ogden's supervisor. Dr. Roy P. Basler, as Director of the Reference Department, was Poleman's supervisor. Mr. Ogden did not testify at the trial, having been called by neither side, and Dr. Poleman died before trial, so he did not testify. Dr. Basler testified at length on behalf of the Librarian.
8. Of all the various Library Regulations in evidence in this case the most important is General Order 1728, effective September 2, 1960. In addition to the new terminology which it introduced into personnel activities at the Library, it set forth important procedures and guidelines. Sections 3 through 7 are especially important in this litigation because they deal with personnel actions to be taken at the end of every employee's one-year qualifying period. These sections are incorporated herein by reference.
9. General Order 1728, however, did not have the effect of beginning plaintiff's qualifying period anew. His one-year qualifying period, under normal circumstances, would still end on or about March 7, 1961. Nevertheless, as it will appear from later findings, plaintiff was still a conditional employee when he was separated in September, 1961. Such conditional status in September, 1961, in no way relates to any automatic effect of General Order 1728. In this litigation General Order 1728 merely provides proper terminology and procedures to be followed in personnel matters.
10. According to Section 4 of General Order 1728, the Personnel Office at the Library, after plaintiff had served at least eleven months as an indefinite-conditional appointee, should have forwarded a notice to this effect either to plaintiff's division chief or department director. The regulation required that this be done by stating that the "Personnel Office shall notify * * *." It is clear from the record that this was not done, nor is there anything in the record explaining the failure of the Personnel Office to take this action other than administrative oversight. The regulation goes on to provide that once this action is taken, and within two weeks of this notification, the division chief or department director is to make a specific recommendation concerning the appointee. In the case of an indefinite-conditional appointee such as plaintiff, this recommendation could be conversion to indefinite, extension of the qualifying period, or separation with thirty days notice. As the notice from the Personnel Office was mandatory, so too was a return recommendation. The regulation states that "A specific recommendation indicating one of the following actions shall be forwarded * * *."
11. On October 17, 1960, plaintiff was issued an Official Performance Rating for the period March 7, 1960, through September 30, 1960.
He was rated by his Section Head (Mr. Ogden) as "satisfactory" and "fully adequate." The "satisfactory" rating was the second highest of three possible ratings on the form used, the lowest being unsatisfactory and the highest being outstanding. This rating was concurred in by Dr. Poleman, the Chief of the Orientalia Division. Other than this rating, mid-way during plaintiff's first year, no other performance ratings were ever issued to plaintiff until his separation. The Court attaches no significance to this performance rating because it indicates nothing as to the Library's appraisal of plaintiff at either of the two periods in question; March, 1961, the end of the customary qualifying period, or September, 1961, when he was separated. As to how the plaintiff might have interpreted this performance rating and how such interpretation might support plaintiff's estoppel theory in this case, the next series of findings show its lack of significance.
12. Another important effect of General Order 1728 is that any conversion of an indefinite-conditional appointee to indefinite status requires a written notification to the appointee. There was never any such notification to plaintiff.
13. Plaintiff received a copy of General Order 1728 in September, 1960, and was familiar with its contents, or should have been familiar with its contents at all material times.
14. On or about March 6 or 7, 1961, plaintiff went to the office of Mr. Leon Seidner, Personnel Operations Officer for the Library, to confer about his status. Plaintiff's reasons for going to this office and making inquiries about his status were that he personally was in doubt about whether he had completed his qualifying period, whether his personnel file reflected anything adverse which might militate against his conversion to indefinite, or whether he had in fact already been converted to indefinite.
15. Mr. Seidner reassured plaintiff; however, this assurance was only partial. I find that plaintiff was assured that there was nothing adverse in his file insofar as discrediting memoranda or adverse performance ratings are concerned, but I also find that Mr. Seidner gave no assurance that plaintiff had been converted to indefinite ("permanent") status. I accept as a fact Mr. Seidner's version of this conference and reject plaintiff's version insofar as it conflicts with Mr. Seidner's.
16. Plaintiff contends that after early March, 1961, a number of events occurred which show that the Library considered plaintiff to be converted to indefinite status, even though the requirement of a written recommendation to this effect under General Order No. 1728, had not taken place. Plaintiff points to the following factors which, he claims, show that he was being treated differently than he was during his first year:
A. He was allowed to travel to scholarly and professional conferences as an official representative of the Library;
B. He was allowed to recommend Library acquisitions without supervision;