MSPB exonerates former GSA Region 7 Commissioner James Weller for role in GSA's Western Regions Conference
James Weller, former Region 7 Commissioner of the General Services Administration, who lost his job following the Western Regions Las Vegas Conference scandal, was cleared of wrongdoing, reinstated to his former job and awarded 19 months' back pay in a decision issued by MSPB administrative judge Ronald Weiss following a trial held last July.
Finding that GSA had failed to prove any of its four contentions that Mr. Weller engaged in conduct unbecoming a federal employee in regards to the planning of the Western Regions Las Vegas conference, MSPB administrative law judge Ronald Weiss reversed GSA's decision to terminate Mr. Weller's employment and ordered that he be returned to work with19 months' back pay.
"The evidence at trial showed that Mr. Weller was not responsible for planning the Western Regions Conference. Those decisions were made by Region 9. We argued at trial that GSA presented a case against the former Commissioner of Region 9, not Mr. Weller, and the Judge agreed that the Government had not established its case. Mr. Weller has an exceptional record of public service and with this decision he has regained his reputation and cleared his name," said Alan Lescht, Weller's attorney and founder of the firm Alan Lescht and Associates, P.C.
MSPB administrative judge Weiss wrote in his opinion, "I conclude that, outside of his personal appearance at the final, "dry run" meeting, the appellant possessed no knowledge regarding the WRC planning meetings until well after the fact ... [that] Region 9, as the host for the WRC, was responsible for the logistics of the conference planning ... it was not possible for the appellant to have controlled the excess costs associated with these events ... the fact remains that the appellant did not participate in the relevant purchasing decisions and had no prior notice of the resulting largess".