Guam Port Authority Employee’s Case Takes New Turn

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Port counsel wants to introduce new evidence of fraud

By Jerick Sablan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, July 3, 2013) – A former Port Authority of Guam employee won't be getting her job back just yet as the Civil Service Commission denied her motion to reverse her adverse action yesterday.

Former program coordinator Josette Javelosa and her attorney John Terlaje appeared before the commission yesterday on a motion to dismiss her adverse action based on the violation of the 60-day rule. The rule requires agency managers to file adverse actions within 60 days of learning of alleged wrongdoing.

Several other Port employees have had their terminations reversed using the 60-day argument in recent months.

New evidence

New evidence was submitted to support allegations that several Port employees defrauded the government.

The Port's legal counsel said it wants to use this new evidence in a hearing to prove whether management complied with the 60-day rule.

Seven employees, including Javelosa, were fired in connection with allegedly helping provide illegal workers' compensation benefits to Bernadette Sterne Meno.

At issue is whether Meno was immediately assessed at Guam Memorial Hospital after falling in a Port restroom in September 2011, Port documents state.

According to the Port, Meno wasn't, which means any workers' compensation benefits she received were illegal, documents state.

The Port's legal counsel Phillips & Bordallo last week filed an affidavit from Port safety inspector Paul Salas stating documents were falsified.

Investigation

Salas investigated Meno's complaint on Sept. 22, 2011, and found no signs of injury or evidence that she fell. He further found no slippery substance, which could have caused her to slip.

"Meno's claims were inconsistent with my own findings, so I was very skeptical about her account," he said.

Salas said Meno refused treatment and the safety department wrote no report of any injury or incident on or around date the alleged injury occurred.

Allegedly backdated

About a year later, on Oct. 12, 2012, he was asked by safety administrator Frank Roberto to retrieve Meno's files from Vivian Leon, another fired Port employee, so he could give it to legal counsel. Salas said when he arrived to Human Resources he was told the files weren't ready. Then he said, after lunch before legal counsel came to pick up the files, he went again to find Leon making several copies of documents.

On Oct. 23, 2012, Leon came to the safety office and told Roberto to tell Salas to write a report supporting Meno's claim. He said he was asked to write the report supporting the claim even though it wasn't based on his actual findings.

He said the report saying Meno received injuries was written a year after the incident and after several drafts reviewed by Roberto and Leonora Leon Guerrero, another fired Port employee. Salas said he signed the backdated report in front of Roberto and Leon Guerrero.

60-day rule

Attorney Terlaje argued that the Port knew about Javelosa's alleged wrongdoing and didn't send out the adverse action until 61 days after.

However, the Port's attorney John Bell said management didn't know about the alleged wrongdoing within the 60 days. Javelosa is alleged to have backdated a memo to cover up for Meno.

The commissioners sided with management and Javelosa will be set for a hearing on the merits at a later date.

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