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Pina resigned from the Parks Commission and he also stepped down

In October last year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs demoted Stephen Pina, of Brockton, and reduced his salary for an “offensive” tirade against Patriots players who were kneeling during the national anthem. But earlier this month the federal agency said it revised that decision, restoring his salary, while keeping him in a non supervisory position. Before the offensive comments, Pina made 120,170 last year. Now his taxpayer funded salary is 122,121, according to VA.

BROCKTON – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs decided in October last year that a benefits center manager from Brockton should be demoted for his “offensive” comments against Patriots football players, which were widely panned as racist.

Now, the federal agency said it revised that decision, giving Stephen V. Pina a bigger salary than he had last year, while keeping him in a non supervisory position. Pina was demoted and received a pay cut in early October after he made a comment on Facebook, underneath a Boston 25 news story about New England Patriots players who were kneeling during the national anthem on Sept. 24. Pina wrote that the kneeling athletes were “turds,” who aren’t being paid for their politics, adding the words, “dance monkey dance.”

Pina’s demotion in October removed him from the role as manager at the VA’s Providence Regional Benefit Office, putting him in a non supervisory position rating disability claims filed by local veterans.

The VA said in October that Pina was being demoted two grades, from General Service, schedule 14 GS 14 , to the GS 12 level. As a result of the initial decision last year, his salary was cut from 120,170 to 103,337, according to VA records and a statement from a press secretary for the agency.
But now the October disciplinary decision has been partially undone.

VA Press Secretary Curt Cashour said the agency decided to revise the demotion and the pay reduction after a review by the Merit Systems Protection Board, which is a an independent, quasi judicial agency in the federal government’s executive branch. The decision was made on March 4, Cashour said.

“As part of a negotiated settlement arising from an appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board, effective March 4, 2018, VA agreed to revise his demotion from GS 12 to GS 13,” said Cashour, in an email to The Enterprise.

Pina’s annual salary is now 122,121 Derek Rivers Jersey, Cashour said on Thursday.

However, Pina will not be returning to his previous position as manager of the veterans benefits center in Providence, and he won’t be the boss of fellow VA employees, Cashour said. And Pina will not receive any of the salary that he would have been paid if it were not for the demotion.

“He is still serving in a non supervisory position and will not be entitled to any back pay,” Cashour said.

A VA employee, who works as a decision review officer for the federal department, told The Enterprise that Pina’s co workers in Providence are “livid” about the decision to revise his demotion.

“Someone in management can do something egregious and they will bend over backwards to make sure they are taken care of,” said the employee, who asked not to be named due to fears of inadequate “whistleblower” protections. “At the same time, the VA is trying to clamp down on people who aren’t making production standards. But for management, it seems like they always find a place for them, and a way to take care of their own. A decision review officer is a pretty coveted position.”

Pina received an email at his work address seeking comment for this story, and he directed the request to another personal email address on Tuesday. As of Thursday afternoon, he has not offered any comment about the revision of his demotion.

After news of his “dance monkey dance” comments became a national story, Pina was asked by Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter to resign from his volunteer role on the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission. The Brockton Area Branch of the NAACP called his comments an example of racial discrimination. Pina resigned from the Parks Commission and he also stepped down as the coach of a Pop Warner football league team.

Pina previously told The Enterprise that the comment was never intended to be racially offensive, and he said he regretted it being taken that way. Pina said that he is a U.S. combat veteran, and he deeply respects the American flag, and thinks that players should stand for the country’s national anthem.

But Pina admits he may have been caught up in the social media outrage surrounding the debate. Pina also told The Enterprise that he has heard the phrase “dance monkey dance” on WEEI sports radio “a thousand times” on the Kirk and Callahan morning show.

“I got sucked into the whole social media paradigm,” Pina said.