Carlson, In re, No. 268-80

Docket NºNo. 268-80
Citation442 A.2d 57, 140 Vt. 555
Case DateFebruary 02, 1982

Page 57

442 A.2d 57
140 Vt. 555, 114 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2089
In re Grievance of Peter R. CARLSON.
No. 268-80.
Supreme Court of Vermont.
Feb. 2, 1982.

Page 58

[140 Vt. 557] Valsangiacomo & Detora, P. C., Barre, for petitioner.

Young & Monte, Northfield, for amicus curiae Vermont Labor Relations Board.

John J. Easton, Jr., Atty. Gen., and Bennett Evans Greene and J. Scott Cameron, Asst. Attys. Gen., Montpelier, for defendant.

Before [140 Vt. 555] BILLINGS, HILL and UNDERWOOD, JJ., and DALEY and LARROW, JJ. (Ret.), Specially Assigned.

[140 Vt. 557] HILL, Justice.

This case concerns the dismissal of the grievant, Peter Carlson, from his position as a regional supervisor with the Vermont Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation. In December of 1979, the State dismissed the grievant for "gross neglect of duty and gross misconduct." Mr. Carlson then filed a grievance with the Vermont Labor Relations Board contesting his dismissal. See 3 V.S.A. § 926. The Board ordered the grievant reinstated to an unspecified position that would represent a demotion. Both the State and the grievant appeal the Board's decision, and the Board has certified seven questions of law pursuant to V.R.A.P. 13(d). We need only address certified question number one, as it is dispositive of this appeal: (1) Did the Board err in failing to conclude that the grievant was dismissed for just cause?

We answer the certified question in the affirmative, and reverse the Board's decision.

The bulk of the State's charges against the grievant were found to be true. Specifically, the Board found that the State had proven six incidents where the grievant acted improperly. First, the grievant participated in the improper billing of a garage door panel to the State, although the panel had been installed at his supervisor's home. Second, the grievant traded state equipment to an employee for similar merchandise, and sold a state-owned saw to an employee. The proceeds of the sale were placed in an office "coffee" fund, and were never forwarded to the State. Third, the grievant authorized state employees under his supervision to paint another state employee's vehicle on state time, with state materials. Fourth, the grievant authorized a state employee to use a state refrigerator for personal use. Fifth, the grievant installed a wood stove in his home, which he knew had been made by a state employee during working hours, with state equipment and materials. [140 Vt. 558] Sixth, the grievant took money intended to reimburse the State for a similar stove, and placed the funds in the "coffee" fund. Again, the money has never been turned over to the State. See Peter R. Carlson, 3 Vt.Lab.Rel.Bd.Op. 303, 317 (July 16, 1980).

Despite finding these repeated instances of dishonesty on the part of the grievant, the Board reinstated him. The Board relied

Page 59

upon "mitigating circumstances," which included the limited personal gain obtained by the grievant, an alleged pattern of abuse in the Parks Department, and a concomitant absence of fair notice as to the wrongfulness of his conduct. These mitigating factors caused the Board to conclude that under the progressive discipline provision in the state employee's contract the most severe discipline, dismissal, was unwarranted.

Our initial task is to examine the governing contractual agreement. See In re Grievance of the Vermont State Employees' Association ("Phase Down" Employees), 139 Vt. 63, 65, 421 A.2d 1311, 1312 (1980). The relevant provision on discipline is contained in Article XV of the collective bargaining agreement:

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18 practice notes
  • In re Grievance of Brown, No. 2002-460.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • October 22, 2004
    ...¶ 16. In reaching this conclusion, we are unpersuaded by VAT's argument that the issue is controlled by our decisions in In re Carlson, 140 Vt. 555, 442 A.2d 57 (1982), and In re Graves, 147 Vt. 519, 520 A.2d 999 (1986). In In re Carlson, we overturned a Board decision reinstating an employ......
  • In re Brown, 2004 VT 109 (VT 10/22/2004), No. 2002-460, September Term, 2003
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • October 22, 2004
    ...¶ 16. In reaching this conclusion, we are unpersuaded by VAT's argument that the issue is controlled by our decisions in In re Carlson, 140 Vt. 555, 442 A.2d 57 (1982), and In re Graves, 147 Vt. 519, 520 A.2d 999 (1986). In In re Carlson, we overturned a Board decision reinstating an employ......
  • Lewandoski v. Vermont State Colleges, AFL-CIO
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • February 7, 1983
    ...which we will reverse only when clearly erroneous. In re Muzzy, 141 Vt. 463, 470, 449 A.2d 970, 973 (1982); In re Carlson, Page 1389 140 Vt. 555, 560, 442 A.2d 57, 60 (1982). The Board, after carefully sifting through the evidence before it, stated in its opinion that "the 1976 and 1980 cri......
  • Grievance of Muzzy, In re, No. 364-80
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • July 15, 1982
    ...continuing inability to comprehend its proper role. See, e.g., In re Harrison, supra, 141 Vt. at ---, 446 A.2d at 367; In re Carlson, 140 Vt. 555, 560, 442 A.2d 57, 60 (1982); In re Gage, supra, 137 Vt. at 19, 398 A.2d at 299; In re Brooks, supra, 135 Vt. at 570-71, 382 A.2d at 209. The Boa......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • In re Grievance of Brown, No. 2002-460.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • October 22, 2004
    ...¶ 16. In reaching this conclusion, we are unpersuaded by VAT's argument that the issue is controlled by our decisions in In re Carlson, 140 Vt. 555, 442 A.2d 57 (1982), and In re Graves, 147 Vt. 519, 520 A.2d 999 (1986). In In re Carlson, we overturned a Board decision reinstating an employ......
  • In re Brown, 2004 VT 109 (VT 10/22/2004), No. 2002-460, September Term, 2003
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • October 22, 2004
    ...¶ 16. In reaching this conclusion, we are unpersuaded by VAT's argument that the issue is controlled by our decisions in In re Carlson, 140 Vt. 555, 442 A.2d 57 (1982), and In re Graves, 147 Vt. 519, 520 A.2d 999 (1986). In In re Carlson, we overturned a Board decision reinstating an employ......
  • Lewandoski v. Vermont State Colleges, AFL-CIO
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • February 7, 1983
    ...which we will reverse only when clearly erroneous. In re Muzzy, 141 Vt. 463, 470, 449 A.2d 970, 973 (1982); In re Carlson, Page 1389 140 Vt. 555, 560, 442 A.2d 57, 60 (1982). The Board, after carefully sifting through the evidence before it, stated in its opinion that "the 1976 and 1980 cri......
  • Grievance of Muzzy, In re, No. 364-80
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • July 15, 1982
    ...continuing inability to comprehend its proper role. See, e.g., In re Harrison, supra, 141 Vt. at ---, 446 A.2d at 367; In re Carlson, 140 Vt. 555, 560, 442 A.2d 57, 60 (1982); In re Gage, supra, 137 Vt. at 19, 398 A.2d at 299; In re Brooks, supra, 135 Vt. at 570-71, 382 A.2d at 209. The Boa......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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