DPR wants fired historic officer's termination to stand

AGUON: Lynda Aguon, former Guam State Historic Preservation Officer, is shown in a Marine Corps Buildup Programmatic Agreement Workshop at the Guam Museum in April 2017. Post file photo

While the Civil Service Commission had determined that fired State Historic Preservation Officer Lynda Aguon had prevailed in her appeal, management at the Department of Parks and Recreation has submitted a proposed order that would affirm Aguon's termination.

In a proposed order for the commission, DPR stated that because the CSC could not reach an affirmative vote on any one of three options - modify the administrative law judge recommendation, reject it or accept it - then the administrative law judge's decision stands as the final decision in the matter. 

Administrative Law Judge Eric Miller had determined that Aguon's termination should be affirmed based on cases of insubordination.

However, instead of following the administrative law judge's recommendation, CSC Chairman Juan Calvo stated on Jan. 14 that because the commission could not reach the four votes legally needed to proceed with any of the three options, management had failed its case and Aguon had prevailed. 

Assistant Attorney General Donna Lawrence, representing DPR, said another option was that commissioners could hear the evidence. But Calvo said the issue was final. 

On the opposite end of the case, Aguon's attorney, John Bell, had submitted a proposed order to reinstate his client and award back pay, including benefits and entitlements, in conjunction with the hearing results. He was critical of Lawrence filing "unsolicited documents" that were based "on no valid rules or procedures." 

Aguon is looking at about $45,000 in base back pay alone at this point, according to Bell. 

It's also possible the case gets appealed in the courts. 

In response to the decision of the CSC, Aguon stated: 

"These past seven months have been very very hard for me and my family. I've been put through the wringer, my work character impugned, lies exploited, and quite frankly, victimized. When powers that be are brought to bear on an individual employee, it is difficult to defend against it because you stand alone," Aguon said. She later added: "All I ever wanted to do is do my job that I regard as very important to the community, and most especially, important to the CHamoru people."

She had been in public service for 35-plus years.

An attorney who represented Aguon at the time she was fired said Aguon had indicated she believes that her dismissal was retaliation for her outspoken criticism of the military buildup.

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