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 U.S. Office of Special Counsel
 1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 218
 Washington, D.C. 20036-4505


CONTACT: CATHY DEEDS, 202-254-3600 or 202-550-8785

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has filed a complaint for disciplinary action against Carmen Simonton, an employee of the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), U.S. Department of Interior. The OSC complaint, filed on November 9, 2004, with the Merit Systems Protection Board (the Board), alleges that Ms. Simonton, a Wildlife Compliance Specialist, evaded veterans’ preference requirements by canceling a job posting after learning that she was required to select a disabled veteran and re-announcing the position at a grade level at which the veteran could not apply. According to the complaint, Simonton unlawfully manipulated the selection process so that she could hire a personal friend instead of the disabled veteran. Ms. Simonton is also charged with willfully obstructing the veteran’s right to compete for Federal employment and granting an unauthorized preference or advantage to Simonton’s friend.

In October 2001, FWS advertised a GS-4 Legal Instruments Examiner position. The position had promotion potential to GS-7. A veteran with a 10-point, 30% compensable disability preference was rated the number one candidate on the hiring certificate. Simonton attempted to select her friend, a non-veteran who was third on the certificate.

OSC’s complaint alleges that, rather than hire the disabled veteran, Ms. Simonton took actions designed to evade veterans’ preference regulations. By doing so, Ms. Simonton knowingly violated veterans’ preference rights and obstructed the veteran's right to compete for the position; at the same time, she illegally granted an unauthorized hiring preference to her friend.

“Preference in appointments to Federal jobs is one way that the Federal government recognizes the sacrifices made by veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces who courageously fought to preserve our country’s freedoms,” explained Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch. “Veterans have my commitment to prosecute vigorously Federal managers who knowingly disregard or seek to evade veterans’ preference requirements or otherwise violate service members’ rights,” Bloch said. “The multiple violations set forth in this complaint are serious as they strike at the core of the merit system.”

OSC seeks a final order of the Board imposing disciplinary action on Ms. Simonton in the form of her removal, reduction in grade, debarment from federal employment for up to five years, suspension, reprimand, and/or a fine up to $1,000.


The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency and operates as a secure channel for disclosures of whistleblower complaints and abuse of authority. Its primary mission is to safeguard the merit system in Federal employment by protecting Federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially retaliation for whistleblowing. OSC also has jurisdiction over the Hatch Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. For more information please visit our web site at www.osc.gov or call 1-800-872-9855.