Guam Port Employee’s Appeal Implicates Administrator

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Guam Port Employee’s Appeal Implicates Administrator Worker’s compensation claim improperly approved

By Joy White

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Jan. 9, 2013) – An appeal filed by one of the six dismissed employees of the Port Authority of Guam (PAG) has implicated a port officer who allegedly approved a questioned worker’s compensation claim without following the proper procedure.

Francine Rocio, former personnel services administrator, alleged that Safety Administrator Francisco Roberto approved the claim without obtaining certification from the Worker Compensation Commission.

The investigation that eventually led to the dismissal of six employees stemmed from the worker compensation claim filed by Bernadette Stern Meno, former PAG marketing administrator, who also received the pink slip.

The dismissed employees have all filed their appeals with the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

Political connection

In a separate appeal, PAG corporate services manager Vivian Leon suggested that "a port employee" who was also involved in the claim approval managed to keep his job because of his political connection.

Leon claimed the "port employee" was "being protected because he or she has a son that is a political supporter of the governor."

In a letter attached to her CSC appeal, Rocio said the worker compensation claim could not have been initiated without the approval of Roberto.

Rocio clarified that the Human Resource Office (HRO) does not process or approve Worker’s Compensation claims; instead the HRO only prepares documents.

She states that Roberto did not properly perform his duties.

According to her letter, Roberto also instructed Leon to alter the date from 10 days to 15 days.

Rocio states she had been off-island when the claim was approved on Oct. 14. When she returned on Oct. 31, she relied on reports from Leon and other employees.

Roberto has not been terminated, nor was he listed as one of the employees being investigated when notices of proposed adverse action were distributed.

In her letter, Rocio states she was informed by Leon that Meno’s claim was denied because the Worker Compensation Commission had not approved it as a work-related injury.

Rocio’s letter points out discrepancies in the findings of fact and conclusions of law created by PAG legal counsel John Bell.

The counsel’s report accuses Rocio of signing a travel request and authorization on Oct. 16. Rocio claims in her letter that she was off-island from Oct. 14 to 29. In addition, her signature does not appear on the document at all.

Accusations that Rocio had pressured another HR employee and that she was plotting to approve illegal worker’s compensation are unsupported, the letter states.

The six employees terminated have individually filed appeals with the Civil Service Commission on the basis that they were not given the opportunity to respond to notices of proposed adverse actions before the notice of final adverse actions were issued.

The cases are scheduled to be heard before the CSC board on Jan. 15.

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