More to Follow

Jason Perry

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I will be posting the relevant regulations on NOAA disability processing. That is, once they respond to my Freedom of Information Act requests.

I have to say that out of all the uniformed services, the NOAA has been the most secretive. It took me only a short while to identify the action officer at NOAA in early November. She was very courteous in turning down my request to furnish the regulations. This was after a week of researching whether or not she would give them to me. So, I sent a FOIA request to the NOAA FOIA Office. No response for three weeks. I sent a third request, copied the Department of Commerce FOIA Office and finally got a response. They have assigned a deadline of 14 December to respond to my request. I hope that they are just a busy office and that is the reason they have not sent me the regulations yet. I can't imagine them saying no; if they do, my next step is filing suit in Federal court. So far, NOAA gets a bad grade for its information practices. I am very interested to see what the regulations say. More to follow.
 

Jason Perry

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Finally, an answer

Okay, I finally got a response from the FOIA Office at the Department of Commerce regarding the processing of cases.

In their letter, they wrote that they use the regulations from the US Public Health Service (found here).

"Since the NOAA Corps does not have an internal mechanism to process these cases, they are outsourced to the US Public Health Service." (italics mine).

Outsourced? I am not done getting to the bottom of this. I have my doubts about the legality of "outsourcing" this function. My next request if going to be for the memorandums of agreement, and grants of authority to do this. Since NOAA falls under Commerce and PHS under Department of Health and Human Services, I have serious questions about the processing of NOAA cases.
 

jackgately

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Hi Jason,

I have had three NOAA cases and found them to be interesting in that all of the hearings had to be rescheduled so that the only NOAA officer who had been a trial lawyer could serve as Counsel to the Board.

In all three cases, it was my clients who provided me with the regulations, script, etc. Once I had these documents, everyone seemed to accept me as a member of the club and all was well and good in the world.

Outsourcing? That was not what happended with my cases; however, the last case was five years ago.

v/r

Jack
 

Jason Perry

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Jack,

I have not appeared in a NOAA case, so my interest at the time I posted this was in learning what the rules and procedures are and to post them for interested members. Like the PHS section in general, this topic has suffered (probably due to the relative small number of Servicemembers) from a lack of interest.

What I can say is that if they do, as they indicated, outsource their cases to the PHS, it is likely that every case would be a likely candidate for a successful appeal. The NOAA/PHS process is the most broken thing I have ever seen. The only saving grace is that there caseload is so small that the damage they do is numerically limited. Not so limited, though, for the Servicemembers who suffer through the farcical "system" they use.
 
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