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Loyal V.A. Employee Earns Termination May 8, 2007

Posted by publicpolitics in Uncategorized.

Life in the United States waxes increasingly strange, as Matthew B. Stannard reports today on the story of Chris Fredking, a technician at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center who has, by all accounts, been an exemplary government employee for the past 16 years. Freking is about to be fired for “shirking his duty to the military.”

When Freking, now 39, arrived in the U.S. he failed to register with the Selective Service System. He claims he never knew he had to register, and never sought to conceal his failure to register. The V.A. failed to check his draft status, and did not notice the oversight until 1994, when it sent Freking a form to certify his registration. Good soldier that he was, Freking acknowledged that he failed to register. It would have been easy to fire him on the spot, but that didn’t happen. Instead, the technician, well-loved by vets and administrators alike, rose through the ranks.

The VA acknowledges responsibility in the affair, and VA officials as well as his Congressman, George Miller, have tried to intervene. But Kerry McTigue, the lawyer for the Office of Personnel Mangement, says the law is clear.


All eligible males are presumed to be aware of their registration requirements. And eligible males who fail in that responsibility are presumed to have done so knowingly and willingly unless they can prove otherwise.

Source: sfgate.com

The burden of proof of innocence falls on the individual, not on the state:


“We’re going to put the burden of proof, so to speak, on the person who hasn’t registered that they’re not a draft dodger,” he said. “Because it’s more difficult for the government to prove the other side.”

Source: sfgate.com

V.A. officials estimate that the cost of replacing Freking will be in the region of $100,000.

Isn’t that an expensive way to get rid of a person who, by all accounts, is a true patriot?

What happened to ‘innocent until proven guilty”? Of course it is more convenient to place the burden of proof on the person who is accused of malfeasance or of a crime. That is precisely why the historical tradition of the presumption of innocence exists. This decision represents bureaucratic thinking in a rigid form that defies evidence, financial responsibility, and a tradition of judicial reasoning that is both precious and endangered.

Tags: Government | failed | Draft | DODGER | San Francisco | agency | veterans | VA | Opinions | Freking | Christopher | registe | Rules | says | valued | Worker | YEARS



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