DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, Appellant,
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PUBLIC EMPLOYEE RELATIONS BOARD, Appellee, and FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT LABOR COMMITTEE, Intervenor.
January 15, 2016
Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Civil Division (CAP-9192-12)(Hon. Judith N. Macaluso, Trial
M. Murasky, Senior Assistant Attorney General, with whom Karl
A. Racine, Attorney General for the District of Columbia,
Todd S. Kim, Solicitor General, and Loren L. AliKhan, Deputy
Solicitor General, were on the brief, for appellant.
Geoffrey H. Simpson, with whom Bruce A. Fredrickson and Cedar
P. Carlton were on the brief, for appellee.
L. Wilhite for intervenor.
BEFORE: Fisher and Beckwith, Associate Judges; and Steadman,
case came to be heard on the transcript of record and the
briefs filed, and was argued by counsel. On consideration
whereof, and as set forth in the opinion filed this date, it
is now hereby
and ADJUDGED that the order on appeal is affirmed.
STEADMAN SENIOR JUDGE.
Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) proposed to terminate
the employment of an officer because of off-duty misconduct.
However, an adverse action panel (AAP), after a hearing,
recommended a penalty of only a thirty-day suspension. The
issue before us is whether the MPD was nonetheless free to
reject that recommendation of the AAP and instead to
terminate the officer's employment. The District of
Columbia Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) ruled that
the MPD could not do so. We conclude that this was a
reasonable interpretation of the controlling regulations and
therefore affirm the order on appeal.
Statement of Facts
Officer Crystal Dunkins was charged in Maryland with several
crimes for abusing her two children. She pleaded guilty to
one count of confining an unattended child in exchange for a
sentence of five years of probation and the state dropping
the remaining charges. Reviewing these developments, MPD,
through then Assistant Chief of Police Shannon P. Cockett,
issued a Notice of Proposed Adverse Action, charging Officer
Dunkins with conduct unbecoming an officer and conduct
constituting a crime. The proposed penalty was termination.
Dunkins requested a Departmental Hearing before an AAP. The
AAP found her guilty of the MPD charges but recommended a
thirty-day suspension as the appropriate penalty instead of
termination. Assistant Chief Cockett found AAP's
recommendation "inconsistent with the misconduct, "
and imposed the original proposed adverse action of
Dunkins unsuccessfully appealed her termination to the Chief
of Police, and then initiated arbitration proceedings,
pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, to review,
inter alia, whether "the [Assistant Chief of
Police] had the authority to impose the penalty proposed in
the Notice rather than the [AAP's]
recommendation[.]" The arbitrator ruled that 6-A DCMR
§ 1001.5, 18 D.C. Reg. 417 (Feb. 7, 1972) (§
1001.5) was the controlling regulation ...