How To Lose Your Job As An ALJ
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has issued an opinion in Steverson v. Social Security affirming a Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) decision removing London Steverson from his position as an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for Social Security. Here are the allegations against Steverson, as summarized in the opinion:
- [T]he agency alleged that Judge Steverson used official agency letterhead to send three letters to mortgage or loan companies relating to a personal home loan.
- Judge Steverson had used official agency letterhead to lodge a complaint against a California state court commissioner he had appeared before in a custody dispute.
- Judge Steverson had used his work computer between 2001 and 2007 to view and store sexually oriented material.
- Judge Steverson had displayed a lack of candor during his investigatory interview with Hearing Office Chief Administrative Law Judge Cynthia Minter. ... Judge Steverson maintained that he had no idea how the sexually graphic material got on his computer and that he thought his use of official stationery was acceptable under the circumstances.
- The fourth charge related to Judge Steverson’s use of his business address to send and receive personal correspondence. In June 2004, the office director for Judge Steverson’s branch office informed all employees that the office mailing address was not to be used for personal correspondences.
The ALJ assigned to hear the case at the MSRB found for Social Security on all but the lack of candor allegation and ordered that Steverson be suspended from his position for 35 day. Social Security appealed to the MSRB which agreed with Social Security and ordered Steverson removed from his position as an ALJ.