Susan McGuire Smith

Susan McGuire Smith spent most of her federal legal career with NASA, serving as Chief Counsel at Marshall Space Flight Center for 14 years. Her expertise is in government contracts, ethics, and personnel law.

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Workforce Disruptions Lead to Removal of 30-Year Employee

By on September 14, 2016 in Court Cases with 70 Comments

Incidents of anger, outbursts and threats in the workplace lead the agency to suspend then fire a long-standing employee.

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Poor Customer Service Leads to Removal

By on August 17, 2016 in Court Cases with 27 Comments
Poor Customer Service Leads to Removal

An IRS employee who cursed out a taxpayer in front of several witnesses could not persuade the court that his removal was unwarranted.

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She Fought the Law and She Won

By on August 11, 2016 in Court Cases with 12 Comments

A PhD candidate at University of Virginia fought back when the Defense Department ruled she did not qualify for the education reduced fee exemption under the FOIA and therefore would have to pay the full $900 due in fees for the agency’s efforts. She won at the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She not only gets the reduced fee, her case sets a precedent that should affect how all agencies handle FOIA requests from students in the future.

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When Private Emails Are Official Government Records

By on August 9, 2016 in Court Cases with 284 Comments

A Federal appeals court has ruled that an agency head’s email records that are stored on a private, non-government server are nevertheless official agency records reachable by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

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Don't Just Look For the Management Label

The appeals court agrees with the Merit Systems Protection Board that just because an HR Specialist had access to confidential personnel databases and was labeled a manager by her agency does not mean that she was in a management position or one that otherwise gave the Board jurisdiction over her adverse action (demotion) appeal.

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Fired Employee Convinces Court to Throw Out MSPB Decision

A DFAS (Defense Finance and Accounting Service) employee removed for being found ineligible for a sensitive position due to numerous outstanding debts won a reprieve from the federal appeals court when it threw out the decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board and sent the case back for another look.

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Mama Bear's Efforts to Save Her Son's Job Added Up to Nepotism

A Supervisory Patent Examiner who retired rather than be busted down to a non-supervisory position for the offense of nepotism was unable to persuade the Merit Systems Protection Board, and now the appeals court, to hear her case.

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Keep the Money, and Run!

A divorced spouse relied on an inaccurate version of a 20-year-old divorce decree to get OPM to award her a survivor annuity on the death of her former husband. When presented with the accurate version of the decree, OPM revoked the annuity and demanded repayment. See what happened.

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Retroactive Restoration and the TSP Account

A VA employee ordered retroactively restored when his removal was cancelled by the MSPB argues with the agency’s handling of his account with the Thrift Savings Plan.

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He Said, They Said

An instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), fired as the result of allegations he fraternized with female students, tried unsuccessfully to argue that poor witness credibility decisions amounted to error on the part of the review board that has upheld his removal.

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