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Jones v. United States Postal Service

U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit


February 08, 1999

GERALD M. JONES, PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, RESPONDENT.

Before Newman, Michel, and Plager, Circuit Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam.

NOTE: Pursuant to Fed. Cir. R. 47.6, this Disposition is not citable as precedent. It is a public record. The Disposition will appear in tables published periodically.

Mr. Gerald M. Jones appeals from the July 10, 1998, final decision, Docket No. NY-0351-95-0658-I-1, of the Merit Systems Protection Board ("Board") dismissing his appeal from a reassignment by the United States Postal Service ("USPS"). The Board held that his reassignment was a voluntary employee-initiated action. We affirm.

In 1992, Mr. Jones was a preference-eligible employee of the USPS holding the position of Supervisor of Mails, at the Glen Falls, New York Post Office. That position bore a grade of Executive and Administrative Schedule ("EAS") level 15. In 1992 and 1993, the USPS conducted an agency-wide restructuring. During the restructuring, many EAS-15 supervisory positions, including Mr. Jones's, and EAS-17 superintendent positions were abolished. New EAS-16 supervisory positions that combined the responsibilities of the former EAS-15 and EAS-17 positions were created. In 1995, in response to the Board's decision in Sink v. United States Postal Serv., 65 M.S.P.R. 628 (1994), the USPS reevaluated the restructuring as a reduction-in-force ("RIF").

In late 1992, Mr. Jones was temporarily assigned to act as Supervisor of Customer Services in Glen Falls, New York. That supervisory position was one of the newly created EAS-16 positions. While acting as Supervisor of Customer Services, Mr. Jones, on his own initiative, called his supervisor in Glen Falls and requested his assistance in finding a permanent assignment. In response to his request, on January 23, 1993, Mr. Jones was permanently assigned with saved grade and pay at the EAS-15 level to the EAS-11 position of Postmaster of North Granville, New York.

We review the Board's decision under the statutory standard to determine if it is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law; procedurally defective; or unsupported by substantial evidence. See 5 U.S.C. § 7703(c) (1994); Cheeseman v. Office of Personnel Management, 791 F.2d 138, 140 (Fed. Cir. 1986).

Preference-eligible employees enjoy the right to appeal RIF actions to the Board. See Krizman v. Merit Sys. Protection Bd., 77 F.3d 434, 436 (Fed. Cir. 1996). Although Mr. Jones challenges a declaration filed by his supervisor, it is undisputed that Mr. Jones, on his own initiative, telephoned his supervisor to request his aid in finding a permanent assignment in the new organizational structure. Thus, the Board did not err in finding that Mr. Jones had voluntarily initiated the action that resulted in his assignment to North Granville. Because Mr. Jones made his decision to seek placement in the North Granville position prior to any RIF action by the USPS, Mr. Jones was not subjected to a RIF action, and he does not have grounds for appeal to the Board. See Torain v. United States Postal Serv., 83 F.3d 1420, 1422 (Fed. Cir. 1996).

Accordingly, the decision of the Board to dismiss Mr. Jones's appeal is affirmed.

COSTS

Parties to bear their own costs.

19990208


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