Fired DPW worker to get $700K in back pay

REINSTATED: Shown in the photograph is the Department of Public Works compound June 19 in Upper Tumon. A former employee who was terminated in 2008 was awarded his job as well as back pay. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

A Department of Public Works employee terminated in 2008 for failing to perform his duties, among other issues, will have his job reinstated and receive about $700,000 in back wages. 

The Civil Service Commission and the courts gave Franklin Castro his job back and DPW is now asking the governor's fiscal policy committee for funds to pay this new obligation, according to DPW Director Vince Arriola. 

The CSC first ruled in favor of Castro in 2015. DPW appealed the case.

However, during DPW's budget hearing on Tuesday, Arriola said Castro won the appeal. He didn't name Castro during the hearing. 

The CSC awarded Castro reinstatement at DPW and back pay for all wages dating back from his termination in April 2008 up to the point he is reinstated. He also was credited the sick leave and annual leave he would have accrued during that period. Retirement fund contributions will be deducted from the payout. 

Castro was handed his final notice of adverse action without specific reasons stated in the notice, according to the CSC decision

DPW's notice did put forward some facts that formed the basis for the termination: refusal or failure to perform duties, unauthorized absence, misuse or theft of government property, and other misconduct. 

The CSC noted that Guam law required management to provide notice of charges levied against an employee as well as a specific statement of the charges. Guam Personnel Rules and Regulations also state that the notice should be dated, in writing, and state the specific facts that led to the adverse action. 

Because the notice provided was insufficient in this regard, the CSC ruled 4 to 2 in favor that the notice had to be voided. 

"Provisions of a generic explanation of the nature of charges against an employee who is faced with an adverse employment action is not sufficient to provide him or her with the ability to defend against the same, this denying due process rights," the CSC decision stated.

"Final Notice of Adverse Action issued to employee lacked the requisite specificity ... The notice shall be in writing, be dated, state the specific facts found upon which such action is based. There can be no finding that the Final Notice of Adverse Action satisfied the specificity requirements."

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