34:0457(78)AR - VA, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MEDICAL CENTER, CHILLICOTHE, OHIO andAFGE, LOCAL 1631 -- 1990 FLRAdec AR



[ v34 p457 ]
34:0457(78)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


  34 FLRA NO. 78



              U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
            VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MEDICAL CENTER
                       CHILLICOTHE, OHIO

                              and

          AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
                          LOCAL 1631

                           0-AR-1723

			   DECISION

     			January 22, 1990

     Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.

I. Statement of the Case

     This matter is before the Authority on an exception to the
award of Arbitrator Marian Kincaid Warns. The Arbitrator denied
the grievance over a 14-day suspension.

     The American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1613
(the Union) filed an exception to the award under section 7122(a)
of the Federal Service Labor - Management Relations Statute (the
Statute) and part 2425 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Veterans Administration
Medical Center, Chillicothe, Ohio (the Agency) filed an
opposition to the Union's exception.

     For the reasons discussed below, we find that the Union's
exception provides no basis for finding the award deficient.
Accordingly, we will deny the Union's exception.

II. Background and Arbitrator's Award

     On April 29,  1988, the grievant and another employee were
returning a patient to his ward when the other employee was seen
hitting the patient several times. During an investigation into
the alleged abuse of that patient, the grievant gave two
separate sworn statements in which he claimed that no abuse had
taken place. The grievant's statements conflicted with statements
given by other witnesses. The Agency determined that the grievant
"had not given (it) needed information, and had actually
concealed pertinent facts" and suspended the grievant for 14
days. Arbitrator's Award at 4.

     The Arbitrator stated the issue to be whether the suspension
of the grievant was "in accordance with just cause, applicable
laws and regulations, and the collective bargaining agreement(.)"
Id. at 2. The Agency argued that patient abuse "is an extremely
serious offense" and that the grievant "deliberately undertook to
keep appropriate information from the Agency" in order "to
protect . . . his friend(.)" Id. at 5. The Union argued that the
person who originally reported the incident "was not a credible
witness(.)" Id. The Union also "challenged the credibility of the
recanted testimony" of another witness and maintained that the
grievant should not have been "required to give testimony against
himself(.)&quo