Watchdog: Accountability

Inspector general: Pentagon official abused position, misused subordinates

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Watchdog,The Pentagon,Michal Conger,National Security,Inspectors General,Waste and Fraud,Accountability

A Pentagon official misused his position to allow a family member access to a Pentagon firing range and shooting lessons; had subordinates get his lunch and coffee daily; promoted a subordinate on the basis of their relationship; and granted administrative leave for a golf tournament, according to an investigation by the agency's inspector general.

Stephen E. Calvery, director of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, violated ethics regulations with his misuse of authority, the Department of Defense inspector general said in a heavily redacted report made public Monday. The IG investigated several hotline complaints made in March 2011 against Calvery, at the request of a U.S. Senator.

"We substantiated allegations that Mr. Calvery misused his position; misused his subordinated; improperly authorized the use of administrative leave; and engaged in a prohibited personnel practice by providing preferential treatment to a subordinate," the report said.

Calvery allowed a family member to use the PFPA firing range, weapons, 150 rounds of ammunition and two PFPA instructors, according to the IG. No other PFPA family members have been allowed to use the range. Calvery, who has been director since 2006, blamed the arrangement on confusion between PFPA rules and the rules governing use of the range at the Secret Service, his former employer.

He also had staff routinely picking up his lunch, and daily delivering his coffee.

"One witness testified the office staff's duties included getting Mr. Calvery his lunch and "lattes." The witness related that it was expected and if [name redacted] raised concerns over getting Mr. Calvery his lunch, they would think [redacted] was not the right person for the job," the report said.

"Another witness testified that when [name redacted] worked for Mr. Calvery, [redacted] ordered and picked up Mr. Calvery's lunch every day and had to have his coffee ready before he arrived in the morning."

Calvery admitted he let staff bring his food and coffee "when he was really busy," but that he had never directed staff to do so, even though office staff kept a supply of coffee money which Calvery replenished each week, according to the IG.

When employees wanted to participate in a PFPA golf tournament, Calvery granted them administrative leave to do so in 2009 and 2010, despite a warning that only annual leave or scheduled days off should be used to attend. Administrative leave may only be granted for activities that further the agency's mission.

Only after legal counsel the following year did Calvery require employees to use annual leave for the tournament, the IG said.

Finally, Calvery promoted a subordinate against the selection board's "vigorous" recommendations not to do so, because he worried the employee would never be promoted otherwise, the IG said.

"We determined Mr. Calvery selected the subordinate for promotion based on their relationship rather than the subordinate's experience or scope of responsibilities," the IG said.

The employee, who worked for Calvery, was left off the original list of top candidates sent to Calvery for approval, and the director bumped a highly qualified candidate to put his favorite on the list, according to the IG report.

Other officials told the IG the employee wasn't as highly qualified for the position as the top candidates.

"One senior official said [redacted] was promoted because he was so close to 'the flagpole.' [Redacted] reiterated, 'I mean it's obvious. There's no way,' " the report said.

The inspector general recommended the secretary of defense "consider the use of appropriate action with regard to Mr. Calvery," including recouping cost of letting his family member use PFPA ammunition and instructors' official time.

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