File 2: Opinion of Member Pope
[ v61 p96 ]
Dissenting Opinion of Member Pope:
By finding that the remedial portion of the award fails to draw its essence from the parties' agreement, the majority continues down the sad path it began in Soc. Sec. Admin., Lansing, Mich., 58 FLRA 93 (2002) (Member Pope dissenting), engaging in de novo contract interpretation and completely ignoring the Authority's responsibility to review arbitration awards on grounds "similar to those applied by Federal courts in private sector labor-management relations[.]" 5 U.S.C. § 7122(a)(2). See also, Soc. Sec. Admin., Region 1, Boston, Mass., 59 FLRA 614 (2004) (Member Pope dissenting); Soc. Sec. Admin., 59 FLRA 257 (2003) (Member Pope dissenting).
The Arbitrator found that the Agency lacked just cause to impose a suspension and, as his award, mitigated the suspension to a written reprimand. In so doing, the Arbitrator carefully weighed the seriousness of the offense and the grievant's awareness of the Agency's systems access policy, as well as her long and meritorious service with the Agency, her motives, and her lack of prior discipline. The Arbitrator found that "the purpose of discipline is corrective" and that a mitigated penalty would "best assist the efficiency of the" Agency. Award at 3.
The Arbitrator's interpretation of Article 23 is consistent with the express wording of that provision, which provides, in relevant part, that "discipline is to correct and improve emplo