para. 2. In 1979, plaintiff and a group of other plate printers at the Bureau formed a group called the Black Caucus of Plate Printers, of which plaintiff later became the head. Its purpose was to voice the concerns of black plate printers to Bureau management and the plate printer union. PPFF at para. 4. In 1982, the Black Caucus wrote a letter to the Bureau Director protesting "blatant discrimination" against blacks and favoritism in promotions at the Bureau. PPFF at para. 19. Three members signed the letter, one of which was plaintiff.
The solicitation and promotion process at issue began in late 1983 when Robert Heygster, superintendent of the Bureau Plate Printing Division in which plaintiff is employed, decided that additional Acting Plate Printer Foremen should be hired. DPFF at para. 6. The positions were advertised under Vacancy Announcement PP84-1 on January 16, 1984. DPFF at para. 8. Heygster had originally considered using an assessment center to evaluate candidates. Such a system would have the advantage of allowing persons outside the division to evaluate the candidates. DPFF at para. 10. The Personnel Staffing Division informed Heygster that the assessment center system would be costly and take a long time to implement. Heygster thus decided to use a selection system consisting of a crediting plan and rating panel, a system frequently employed by the Bureau in promotion decisions. DPFF at para. 10.
Heygster himself designed the crediting plan. The plan included four basic criteria, which were: (1) the ability to operate equipment; (2) the ability to supervise operations and personnel; (3) ability as a technical expert in plate printing, including knowledge of materials; and (4) experience in setting up new jobs and making necessary changes to complete work assignments. DPFF at para. 13. The plan provided for levels of qualifications within each criterion with point ranges assigned to each level of ability. PPFF at para. 38.
The PP84-1 application had three parts: (1) the applicant's standard Personal Qualifications Statement; (2) a Supplemental Experience Statement completed by the applicant; and (3) a Supervisory Appraisal Form completed by the applicant's current foreman. PPFF at para. 31. The Supervisory Appraisal Form asked each supervisor to rate each candidate in each of the four categories on a scale of 1 to 5. Twenty-nine candidates applied for the position, four of whom were black. DPFF at para. 66.
Heygster also selected the ranking panel. He chose Jerry Hudson, Willy Barnes and Lawrence Luckel, all Plate Printer Foremen and each on one of the three plate printer shifts. Hudson and Luckel are white and Barnes is black. DPFF at para. 17. Heygster met with the panel and said that he wanted no information regarding their deliberations, but only a Certificate of Eligibles from which he would make the final choice of candidates. He did not indicate the relative weights to be given the three parts of the application. PPFF at para. 32. The panel received its instructions from Carolyn Drewery of the Personnel Office who remained available to the Panel members for consultation during the rating process. DPFF at para. 31; PPFF at para. 33. Drewery suggested a rating system which the panel followed. The panel members individually rated each candidate in each category. After reaching individual ratings, the panel met to decide upon composite scores. DPFF at para. 32; see PPFF at para. 33.
Plaintiff's Supervisory Appraisal Form was completed by his foreman, Roscoe Hutzell. Hutzell had twice recommended plaintiff for cash awards of $ 500 and $ 800, respectively. DPFF at para. 25. Hutzell rated plaintiff as follows:
ability to operate equipment -- 4