# 2016-008 - Administrative Action

Administrative Action

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2016–09–27

The grievor was contesting a Non Public Fund (NPF) debt created in his name for the cost of the environmental cleanup of diesel fuel that leaked from his privately owned watercraft while dry docked for repairs at the local base Yacht Club. Arguing that he had not been properly kept involved in the process and that it was impossible his vessel had leaked the amount of fuel to justify the size of the clean-up, the grievor objected to the recovery of this debt against his pay and the manner in which the file was administered by the Base Administration Officer.

The Initial Authority (IA) denied the grievance, stating that the grievor neglected to properly maintain his vessel while in dry dock, forcing the Yacht Club to proceed with an environmental clean-up of the contaminated soil. He found that the grievor was liable to pay for the damages caused to NPF property by the diesel fuel spill.

The Committee concluded that the base and NPF authorities, namely the management of Personnel Support Programs (PSP), had exaggerated the significance and importance of the spill, had failed to act in a responsible and timely manner and were seeking payment for clean-up expenses that were no longer warranted by the time they took action, as shown by the soil analysis conducted at that time. Other failings such as the lack of spill kits, improper containment procedures and the lack of a proper investigation, caused the Committee to find that it was unreasonable for the CAF and NPF/PSP authorities to have initiated recovery action against the grievor, and to continue to hold him liable and responsible for the clean-up cost by holding a NPF debt against him.

The Committee also highlighted a misunderstanding as to who is responsible for the removal of contaminated soil on public property under the stewardship of the Base Commander but entrusted to NPF.

The Committee recommended that the Chief of the Defence Staff adjudicate in favour of the grievor, that he be found not responsible for the damages, that the NPF debt created in his name be eliminated and that recovery action against him be ceased.

FA Decision Summary

The FA agreed with the Committee's findings and recommendations not to find the grievor responsible to pay for the environmental clean, and that the debt created in his name be eliminated. Furthermore, the FA directed that a review of hazardous material spill response at special interest facilities under the Commander's stewardship be conducted to ensure that standard operating procedures are in place to address fuel spills (and similar events), both large and small.

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