Why PLI was Necessary after 39 Years as an “Outstanding” Federal Employee
One of the federal government’s most criticized methods of dealing with employee discipline issues—paid administrative leave--has become the recent focus of a push by Republicans on Capitol Hill as well as the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
I was the lucky one – I had professionally liability insurance from FEDS. Here’s my story. I was accused of wrongdoing as part of the GSA "scandal.” At the time I had nearly forty years with the federal government and was the longest serving senior executive in the agency. I had only received outstanding ratings and served as the Acting Administrator of the agency for nearly a year. As for the event that was to create the "scandal”, I only participated in one early planning session, did not attend the conference and had no responsibility for or control over those who made the decisions or handled the contracting and expenditures. A number of individuals from my organization did attend the conference and benefitted from the outstanding training.
The uproar started with an IG report.
Mistakes were certainly made; however, the significance of those actions was magnified dramatically by those who were seeking political and personal gain after the issuance of the report. I (along with the other leaders from the participating regions) was put on administrative leave immediately after the IG report became public. I later had the option to retire, but refused, so I was fired. Interestingly, I was fired because of what was disclosed in the IG report. However, when pressed, the IG stated I was never a subject of their investigation.
As you can imagine, this was a very dark period in my life. My family and I were bombarded by the press. I was being accused of things I had not done, by people who knew nothing about me or the situation. Fortunately, I had [FEDS] liability insurance. As part of that, I immediately received the wise counsel of Tony Vergnetti with FEDS. He then led me to the brilliant lawyers at Shaw, Bransford and Roth.
After nearly three years and over $200,000 worth of legal fees, I was vindicated by MSPB – twice. GSA was forced to reinstate me with back pay, benefits and interest and they were obligated to pay my legal fees. From the beginning, I knew GSA had no case. However, the FEDS liability insurance gave me the backing I needed to fight. They also provided the best attorneys, who possessed the determination, dedication, talent and experience that was critical for a successful outcome.
I never could have imagined I would have found myself in such a situation. Like many others, I believed my agency would always have my back. In fact, they did not. As I said, I was the lucky one. Many others involved didn’t have liability insurance and it limited their options to respond to the accusations made against them. I know they all would have preferred to have been in my shoes. As I now tell anyone who will listen, you are a fool if you don’t carry liability insurance.
By Paul Prouty, GSA Commissioner, Retired
FEDS $1,000,000 policy is available for $290 per year. All federal managers are eligible for reimbursement up to half the cost of this insurance for a net premium of $145 annually. You can enroll over the phone M-F 8:30 am – 6pm at 866.955.FEDS or anytime at www.fedsprotection.com.
FEDS provides professional liability insurance for the entire federal management community. For information on your specific exposures, how professional
liability insurance protects you, or how the FEDS program differs from
other insurance programs, visit us at fedsprotection.com.
Posted in Manager Matters