August 03, 2021, 10:32:26 am

Officer Promotion Board Questions

Started by OH6 PILOT, April 29, 2020, 09:47:25 pm

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

OH6 PILOT

Curiosity Questions--

Is it routine for a higher than Squadron HQ to ask for reference letters or emails from CAP persons not members of the promotion candidate unit? Does 35-5 permit asking the candidate for a military equivalent promotion for anything other than DD 214, ID card etc., as specified in para 3.4, in this case civilian and military resumes, a CAP resume, and 2 non unit personnel references as described above? Does 35-5 require a record to be kept by a promotion board? What is the recourse if no local unit promotion board happens which seems to be a distinct possibility?  The language in para 1.1 would seem to preclude the actions above but what do I know.

Those of you procedure experts hanging around out there I would love to hear from you.

OH6 PILOT

I neglected to say below I have read all of 35-5 without finding answers to the questions I asked.

Eclipse

No, this is not normal and counter to regulations.

Each echelon is required to have an appointed promotion board (though
there is no clock on when considerations need to be completed).

When the respective board has met, they forward their approval recommendation to the next
higher HQ, or to the local CC for final approval.  Non-approval recommendations do not go
up, they end at the level approval was not recommended.

Your recourse is to file an IG complaint based on the objective circumstances violating
the prescribed process.

Any requirements not prescribed in 35-5 are prohibited, which would included requiring
letters of recommendation from external sources, etc. There are no requirements
that minutes be kept, nor that the respective CC adhere to the board's recommendations
in either respect.



Spam

Tailing on in full agreement with above:

Check to ensure that your Wing may not have an approved Supplement listed on the Publications page at cacpmembers. Unlikely... But remotely possible.

Checking there before going forth to seek a response from higher command will "weapon you up" should someone try to feed you a line that they need all this additional info as some sort of SOP. Not! "I understand and see your point Sir but that's expressly prohibited and according to the current Supp the current criteria clearly support my promotion action to the grade of x based on the previously submitted documents y and z..."

Having evaluated candidates for selection for positions (say Encampment CC or so forth and command jobs) asking for a resume might be reasonable. However, the equivalency for prior service credit for promotion to equivalent grades is fairly cut and dry.

Best of luck (be sweet and handle the non prior service confused folks gently but firmly) LOL

Cheers
Spam

Ps... By any chance are warrant grades involved? Thats terra incognito for some folks even in active duty USAF.

PHall

Is this a normal Duty Performance promotion or is it a special appointment for a skill or military grade?
They are different and different procedures apply.

Eclipse

April 30, 2020, 12:06:05 am #5 Last Edit: April 30, 2020, 03:13:17 am by Eclipse
Quote from: PHall on April 30, 2020, 12:00:37 amIs this a normal Duty Performance promotion or is it a special appointment for a skill or military grade?
They are different and different procedures apply.

True only in the stated requirements, there is no allowance for
seeking referral letters and resumes.  The member only need substantiate
they were "x".

Interesting and related is that while at the same time NHQ has been ramping
up the verbiage about its military affiliation and recruiting efforts,
some (many?) wings and regions are making it increasingly difficult to get
military-equivalency promotions approved.



Spam

Quote from: Eclipse on April 30, 2020, 12:06:05 amInteresting and related is that while at the same time NHQ has been ramping
up the verbiage about it's military affiliation and recruiting efforts,
some (many?) wings and regions are making it increasingly difficult to get
military-equivalency promotions approved.
Not disagreeing at all but why do you think so? If you have valid metrics to support this I would respectfully submit that we should surface that to address it systematically not just anecdotally.

Vr
Spam

Eclipse

April 30, 2020, 02:35:11 am #7 Last Edit: April 30, 2020, 03:13:47 am by Eclipse
No idea why people are like they are, but they are.

Blocking / delaying military promotions, normal promotions, etc., etc.
As if they meant anything but member initiative and a trip to Vanguard.

When there is no prescription for acting on a promotion request, and
they can just be "lost, sat on, or back-channel denied there's no way
to get "metrics".  It's all anecdotal.

I've argued for years promotions should be automatically approved unless
there is a reason not to, (with a ticking clock on both action and denial),
not the other way around, which is how it is today.



OH6 PILOT

Gentlemen/ladies

Thanks for confirming my guesses.

Spam, I will answer your rank question when the dust settles on this process. I need to have plausible deniability to protect the promotion candidate vs retribution in case the 35-5 violators stumble on to this thread.  Suffice to say it could be either Warrant or RLO or maybe even both. If you are a veteran of the service in which that situation could have occurred you can decode that sentence and make the correct conclusion.

There is no Wing supplement involved and 35-5 would probably prohibit one if they attempted it. See 1.1 of the reg.    For humor that is another topic for future discussion.   

Thanks to all of you high class folks with common sense. 

OH6 PILOT

Apologies one other question I forgot.

Assuming competent CC types and 1 or 2 HQs are involved, how long should it take to process a prior military promotion both normal and virus conditions?

PHall

April 30, 2020, 05:21:08 am #10 Last Edit: April 30, 2020, 05:25:13 am by PHall
Quote from: OH6 PILOT on April 30, 2020, 04:49:02 amApologies one other question I forgot.

Assuming competent CC types and 1 or 2 HQs are involved, how long should it take to process a prior military promotion both normal and virus conditions?

As long as you produce the required documents to prove the military grade, i.e. DD214, ID Card, Promotion Orders, you're probably looking at 1 or 2 months, maybe more because of the 'vid. Totally depends on the wing you're dealing with.
This is as per CAPR 35-5. This is a Special Appointment type promotion and those usually are a little slower because they're "special".

OH6 PILOT

PHall,

Thanks for confirming another guess. Not only did I produce my DD 214 I also gave copies of several other documents--final retirement point printout, etc.--and offered to share a copy of my entire personnel file that I got from St. Louis. No response to that offer. The start of this ordeal will hit 2 months in the very near future.   

ZigZag911

OH6PILOT, 2 months is not long for promotion processing.

Keep in mind that those reviewing, recommending and approving this action are all part time volunteers.

Even in normal circumstances,  it takes time. We're not running a personnel office 40 hours a week. Given that some folks are dealing with a wide variety of coronavirus related issues, it might take a bit longer than usual...and in the best of times, I  would not question 3 month turnaround time on a promotion other than duty performance.

Your military service should absolutely receive proper recognition in CAP.

However, you also need to recognize that CAP is very different from the regular or reserve military components.

abdsp51

Is this for an initial entry promotion because of special circumstances or a regular promotion?

OH6 PILOT

This is for a military equivalent promotion pr 35-5 3.4

OH6 PILOT

Moderators--Today I started the wheels turning for an unusual solution for this situation which might be helpful to other CAP members caught in it. It will probably take 60-120 days to pull off. Please do not close this subject any earlier than 10/1/20 and please email me before you close it if possible. I cannot disclose the solution until or unless it works.  Thanks. 

abdsp51

Quote from: OH6 PILOT on May 06, 2020, 01:12:03 amThis is for a military equivalent promotion pr 35-5 3.4

With that being the case then there is a requirement for the requested documentation if this is done upon initial entry to the organization.  Though it should not take 20-120 days to complete.  You provide the documents with your membership packet and it goes to NHQ.  I had this happen a few years ago with an AD USAF Capt who joined my unit.  The funny thing was that once it was completed she was promoted to Colonel instead of Capt.

I would advise about trying to create new solutions or unorthodox solutions to established processes.

baronet68

Quote from: OH6 PILOT on May 06, 2020, 01:12:03 amThis is for a military equivalent promotion pr 35-5 3.4

Unit in my wing recently had a military equivalent promotion to Lt Col that took less than 7 days from submission to completion.  Squadron commander viewed the DD214, filled out the comments section on the form 2 explaining how the members military experience (as a test pilot, instructor, etc.) would be useful to CAP in his new role as AEO, and sent it up the food-chain on a Tuesday.  It was approved before the following Tuesday's meeting.

Sadly, your mileage will vary... but it really shouldn't. 🙄
Michael Moore, Maj, CAP
National Recruiting & Retention Manager

Eclipse

Of course that is how it should work, and it's really not worth the hassle to
hold things up, but...

Quote from: baronet68 on May 07, 2020, 07:04:28 pmwould be useful to CAP

...this is where the heartburn comes in at a lot of levels, and I have to say, I agree with it
to some extent.

Why not "is useful" or better still "has been useful"?

No argument of what the regs say are the requirements, etc., but I've also seen a >lot< of
GOBs who were long retired officers, come into a unit, get their equivalency, and then
strut around pontificating about things that are irrelevant, while at the same time
being clueless about how CAP works (and often expecting subordination based purely on the grade).

Meanwhile long-suffering, A-Team members unable to get that RSC (or whatever) get to deal with that.



OH6 PILOT

The individual involved has been a CAP member for over 2 years. In this situation only the DD 214/Military ID/retirement orders were required. Those or their equivalents and way more were provided. Very soon the application will have been submitted 10 weeks ago. No response, the unit CC "doesn't know" what the status is, etc. 


Eclipse

Then the Unit CC needs to get on the phone and find out.



Spam

In the case of a former military officer, the reg calls for a simple submission of the documentation and Form 2 to be reviewed and approved at Group level. Since the Group and Squadron CC in this case appear to not be following the clear Reg, and seem to incorrectly have confused a Special appointment (as here for a retired officer) and a Professional Appointment (as for a Chaplain or doctor). Your Gp/Sqdn CCs may also be improperly applying the NER Supplement to CAPR 35-5 which requires a LOR for Prof, not Spec, appointments.


Recommend that your solution path is:
1. Remind the Sqdn/CC that the package by the regs consists solely of (per that last 3.4 sentence) "(a copy of DD Form 214, military identification card or promotion order showing the grade requested is considered sufficient).
2. Do the same with Gp/CC and request your approval (up or down with justification).
3. If they continue to refuse to act on this (a five minute task to review and approve in eServices - I've done this personally a half dozen times in recent years), I suggest that you call your Wing Vice Commander (in position over your Group/CC) and request mediation. Always, request mediation to try to negotiate the settlement of issues like this (especially when you are clearly supported by the regs).

4. However. If they continue to deny/pushback/stonewall, you should consider that under CAPR 36-1 you have grounds for an EEO complaint for discrimination against you as a former veteran in that you are being denied action on your request due to made up requirements tacked on in response to your veterans status. I know this is the nuclear option, but if the folks in your structure cannot clearly read the simple regs, perhaps lifting off and nuking the site from orbit may be the cleanest option. 


Ref:  the NER Supplement (which does not apply for former military Special Apps):

https://www.gocivilairpatrol.com/media/cms/NER_Supp_1_R355_E7E662D0A26F0.pdf


Ref: the applicable sections of CAPR 35-05:

CAPR 35-5 22 NOVEMBER 2016
SECTION 1 - GENERAL PROVISIONS
1.5.6. Captain. The group commander is the promoting authority for members assigned to group headquarters and subordinate units of the group except professional appointment promotions.

SECTION 3 - SPECIAL APPOINTMENTS
3.1. General. In consideration of appointment to certain key positions in CAP, special educational qualifications or previous CAP or military experience, certain members who meet the minimum requirements outlined in 1.6 above are eligible for initial appointment or promotion to a grade commensurate with their position or experience, as outlined below".
3.4. Regular and Reserve Officers of the Armed Forces. Regular, Reserve and National Guard Officers of the Armed Forces or Coast Guard of the United States, active, retired or resigned, may be advanced to a CAP grade equivalent to their grade in the Armed Forces (but not to exceed lieutenant colonel), in recognition of their military knowledge and experience. Such promotions are neither automatic nor mandatory, but are at the discretion of the promoting authority outlined in paragraph 1.5. Additionally, individuals who obtained the grade of warrant officer may be promoted to the CAP grade shown in figure 3 below. The unit commander will initiate initial promotion to officer grade based on prior military service only where proper documentation for that grade exists (a copy of DD Form 214, military identification card or promotion order showing the grade requested is considered sufficient). [emphasis added]


SECTION 5 - PROFESSIONAL APPOINTMENTS AND PROMOTIONS 
5.1. General. This section prescribes the requirements and procedure for initial appointment and subsequent promotion of CAP members who serve as chaplains, character development instructors, health service personnel, legal officers, professional educators serving as aerospace education officers and financial professionals serving as finance officers.

V/R
Spam

Eclipse

I think there are grounds for a complaint around lack of compliance with established
regulations, but I think EEO is not the way to go.

Considering the provided information this isn't "discrimination", unless you could prove the reason the person wasn't promoted for his "equivalent military service" was because of demonstrable bias against those with "equivalent military service".

And unfortunately this...

Quote from: Spam on May 09, 2020, 11:22:36 pmSuch promotions are neither automatic nor mandatory, but are at the discretion of the promoting authority outlined in paragraph


...basically cooks the goose if the Group CC doesn't feel like it.

The regs don't allow for any objective additional measures, but they do allow for "meh, he's not ready" (which is ridiculous and caused more issues over the years). Time and again the IG Corps and the JAs have held that "command discretion" is not a cause for a complaint.



shuman14

Quote from: Spam on May 09, 2020, 11:22:36 pmperhaps lifting off and nuking the site from orbit may be the cleanest option.

V/R
Spam

Okay Corporal Hicks.  :-)

Cool points for the ALIENS reference.
Joseph J. Clune
Lieutenant Colonel, Military Police

USMCR: 1990 - 1992                           USAR: 1993 - 1998, 2000 - 2003, 2005 - Present     CAP: National Patron 2013 - 2014, SMWOG 2020 - Present
INARNG: 1992 - 1993, 1998 - 2000      Active Army: 2003 - 2005                                       USCGAux: 2004 - Present

Adam B

Quote from: Spam on May 09, 2020, 11:22:36 pmYour Gp/Sqdn CCs may also be improperly applying the NER Supplement to CAPR 35-5 which requires a LOR for Prof, not Spec, appointments.
I've seen that happen in my wing, with the wing attempting to deny a prior military grade for one of my members due to lack of LOR, despite the promotion only requiring unit-level approval to begin with.
Adam

SARDOC

What I will say is that these promotions are not automatic or mandatory.  It even says that in paragraph 3.4.  It says that it is purely at the discretion of the promoting authority.

There are some who think it should be automatic, but some people would like to see some kind of work product since affiliating with the Civil Air Patrol.  They want to see if the person is actually supporting the mission and isn't just promoting an empty shirt.

I see it could be seen both ways, but ultimately, it's not up to me, it's the prerogative of the promoting authority.

What I disagree with is the elements below the Approving Authority intervening and "disapproving" and that's the end of it.  I think these should always be forwarded to the Approving Authority.  Lower Echelons can forward and recommend approval or disapproval with justification. 

SarDragon

Quote from: SARDOC on July 27, 2020, 12:30:59 amWhat I will say is that these promotions are not automatic or mandatory.  It even says that in paragraph 3.4.  It says that it is purely at the discretion of the promoting authority.

There are some who think it should be automatic, but some people would like to see some kind of work product since affiliating with the Civil Air Patrol.  They want to see if the person is actually supporting the mission and isn't just promoting an empty shirt.

I see it could be seen both ways, but ultimately, it's not up to me, it's the prerogative of the promoting authority.

What I disagree with is the elements below the Approving Authority intervening and "disapproving" and that's the end of it.  I think these should always be forwarded to the Approving Authority.  Lower Echelons can forward and recommend approval or disapproval with justification. 

Exactly. WIWOAD, we had a "Special Request" form used for various purposes. There were several signature blanks with check blocks alongside stating "Recommended" or "Not recommended". The final bland was the only one saying "Approved" or "Not Approved".
Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
50 Year Member
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret

Eclipse

Quote from: SARDOC on July 27, 2020, 12:30:59 amWhat I disagree with is the elements below the Approving Authority intervening and "disapproving" and that's the end of it.  I think these should always be forwarded to the Approving Authority.  Lower Echelons can forward and recommend approval or disapproval with justification.

?

So the Unit or Group CC doesn't approve of the promotion but they just kick it upstairs
for consideration anyway?  That's not how this works.

The final authority for Major might be the Wing CC, but the approval itself requires
the concurrence of the whole chain, otherwise what is the point of the illusion of
Unit and Group approvals?

You can make the inverse argument as well, "If the unit CC thinks the member is
worthy (and this goes for >ANY< promotion), what business does higher HQ have in
denying it?



TheSkyHornet

I find it quite common, actually, where a unit commander doesn't support a member's promotion within their own squadron; but they pass the buck up to Wing so they don't have to be the bad guy with their own membership.

I literally had a Squadron CC (Captain) tell me that he didn't want to deal with his Comms/ES guy (Eligible for Major). "Let Wing make the mistake. They can own it." Nice leadership their, buddy.

Eclipse

Well, he should know whether he approved it or not, and where it was sent from there.

Which is where he, or you should start calling.

10 weeks is ridiculous, especially considering that in that time a lot of members were
sidelined work-wise leaving little excuse for non-performance.



kcebnaes

Quote from: TheSkyHornet on July 27, 2020, 07:31:21 pmI find it quite common, actually, where a unit commander doesn't support a member's promotion within their own squadron; but they pass the buck up to Wing so they don't have to be the bad guy with their own membership.

I literally had a Squadron CC (Captain) tell me that he didn't want to deal with his Comms/ES guy (Eligible for Major). "Let Wing make the mistake. They can own it." Nice leadership their, buddy.


Mmm. My favorite leadership trait.

It's not THAT hard to just tell the member they need to work on some stuff before we can consider the promotion. If they leave based on something like that, they might not have been the greatest of members.
Sean Beck, Maj, CAP
Great Lakes Region sUAS Officer
Various Other Thingsā„¢

SARDOC

Quote from: Eclipse on July 27, 2020, 07:36:45 pm10 weeks is ridiculous, especially considering that in that time a lot of members were
sidelined work-wise leaving little excuse for non-performance.

10 weeks does seem a little ridiculous in modern times, however, keep in mind that the regulation recommends that promotion boards meet at least quarterly (13 weeks).  If waiting for a wing promotion board, then the region promotion board.   Let's just be a little patient and manage expectations.

SARDOC

Quote from: Eclipse on July 27, 2020, 04:35:15 amSo the Unit or Group CC doesn't approve of the promotion but they just kick it upstairs
for consideration anyway?  That's not how this works.

The final authority for Major might be the Wing CC, but the approval itself requires
the concurrence of the whole chain, otherwise what is the point of the illusion of
Unit and Group approvals?

You can make the inverse argument as well, "If the unit CC thinks the member is
worthy (and this goes for >ANY< promotion), what business does higher HQ have in
denying it?

I think lower echelons denying the request is abuse of the regulation.  In that, the regulation states the promotion is solely at the discretion of the approving authority.  Not every commander in the chain of command to the approving authority.  Stopping the request earlier allows for the standards to be arbitrary and capricious.

A region commander being the approving authority for Lieutenant Colonel may be one of those who feel Military equivalency is an automatic approval of the appropriate CAP grade.  However, a Wing Commander insists that the Member provide a CAP resume and be in CAP for 18 months before consideration for Lt Col Grade. This means that this may not be uniformly applied and can cause IG complaints of disparate treatment and can open the organization to liability.

I'm not discounting the opinion of the lower level echelon commanders, their input with the recommendation is invaluable.  Take the request and forward it, recommending or not recommending and state the case why you disagree with the promotion.  Be tactful, "The Member is a useless turd pump" may not be acceptable, so provide details, "member has only been to one meeting in the last six months"

You're right that isn't how it works, but it should be.

Eclipse

Again, you're confusing "approving authority" with "final approving authority".

Every CC in the chain has a full pass fail.

The Region CC (for Lt Col) is only the final.

Otherwise the member would submit it direct to the final and leave the lower out of it.

Also, the board note and "why" don't move up, only the pass / fail.  You don't even
tell the next echelon what the board vote was.



Eclipse

Quote from: SARDOC on July 27, 2020, 09:27:48 pm
Quote from: Eclipse on July 27, 2020, 07:36:45 pm10 weeks is ridiculous, especially considering that in that time a lot of members were
sidelined work-wise leaving little excuse for non-performance.

10 weeks does seem a little ridiculous in modern times, however, keep in mind that the regulation recommends that promotion boards meet at least quarterly (13 weeks).  If waiting for a wing promotion board, then the region promotion board.   Let's just be a little patient and manage expectations.

Regs aside, promo boards should meet on demand it's not like it takes must to send an email.



SARDOC

Quote from: Eclipse on July 27, 2020, 10:05:24 pmAgain, you're confusing "approving authority" with "final approving authority".

Every CC in the chain has a full pass fail.

The Region CC (for Lt Col) is only the final.

Otherwise the member would submit it direct to the final and leave the lower out of it.

Also, the board note and "why" don't move up, only the pass / fail.  You don't even
tell the next echelon what the board vote was.

You're also forgetting the reg says it must be forwarded to the "final approving authority"

7.5.1. Recommendations for promotion or demotion will be initiated by the member's immediate
superior on a CAPF 2 and will be forwarded through channels to the appropriate commander having final
approving authority.

SARDOC

July 27, 2020, 10:28:40 pm #36 Last Edit: July 27, 2020, 10:31:42 pm by SARDOC
Quote from: SARDOC on July 27, 2020, 10:15:17 pm
Quote from: Eclipse on July 27, 2020, 10:05:24 pmAgain, you're confusing "approving authority" with "final approving authority".

Every CC in the chain has a full pass fail.

The Region CC (for Lt Col) is only the final.

Otherwise the member would submit it direct to the final and leave the lower out of it.

Also, the board note and "why" don't move up, only the pass / fail.  You don't even
tell the next echelon what the board vote was.

You're also forgetting the reg says it must be forwarded to the "final approving authority"

7.5.1. Recommendations for promotion or demotion will be initiated by the member's immediate
superior on a CAPF 2 and will be forwarded through channels to the appropriate commander having final
approving authority.

I'm going back to correct myself here.  As I re-read this portion, This applies only to flight officer grades.

That being said for the purposes of the discussion the regulation does say "1.8.5. If any commander in the chain of command disapproves a recommendation for promotion or
request for waiver, he or she will so indicate, providing a reason for the denial, over his or her signature
on the CAPF 2 and will return the CAPF 2 to the initiator through channels"

So I stand corrected.  However, the member should still receive the feedback.  I still think the standard still allows for disparate treatment.

But then I see this in the same reg

"1.8.3.1. The CAPF 2 will be forwarded to the unit commander, who will personally approve the form
and forward it through channels to the appropriate promoting authority. The promoting authority will
forward the approved CAPF 2 to National Headquarters."

I think this regulation should be adjusted to fix conflicting statements and remove ambiguity.

Fubar

They used different wording for each type of skip-ahead promotion process. 1.8.3.1 is for "special" promotions for mission-related skills. It says to "forward through the chain of command to the approving authority" so now everyone gets to argue what "forward" means. Earlier in the reg it says eServices handles approvals at each level, but when you get to the paperwork version with 1.8.5, there's no talk about approvals at each level, just forwarding.

1.8.5 is about "waivers" which is more how wing/region kings and/or queens promote their buddies by authoring a waiver. That's a different ball of wax from special promotions with a different process.

Clear as mud? Yeah. National commander for a day, I'm nuking everything except regular duty promotions from the reg.

Mitchell 1969

Quote from: Fubar on July 28, 2020, 08:25:28 am1.8.5 is about "waivers" which is more how wing/region kings and/or queens promote their buddies by authoring a waiver. That's a different ball of wax from special promotions with a different process.

I received a "special qualifications" promotion once. The Region Commander had never met me. I had last talked to the Wing Commander 24 years prior for about 3 minutes.

How did that make me "buddies" with anyone?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
_________________
Bernard J. Wilson, Major, CAP

Mitchell 1969; Earhart 1971; Eaker 1973. Cadet Flying Encampment, License, 1970. IACE New Zealand 1971; IACE Korea 1973.

CAP has been bery, bery good to me.

TheSkyHornet

I had a skill-based promotion to 2d Lt about 5 months in (which I could have received right after my completion of Level I, about two months in...except my squadron commander didn't know that was even a thing at the time).

In hindsight...who gives a rat...? I was a 2d Lt who still had a lot to learn about CAP, and advancing my grade early really didn't make much of a difference in that regard. I think the same goes for my grade now. I still have plenty to learn.

I'm on track and on my timeline to continue to my next promotion (which is quite some time away right now). But taking some extra time or advancing early really doesn't change anything at this point as far as what I can do, duties I can hold, and what I'm learning along the way.

Eclipse

Quote from: Mitchell 1969 on July 29, 2020, 03:27:47 amHow did that make me "buddies" with anyone?

If anything, the reverse.

I've seen a curious phenomenon in CAP in which the more visible you are
the more scrutiny you get when it comes to promotions and decorations.

There's always "reasons", and certainly far to much proximity-based approvals,
but in my experience, members in "fly-over areas" who serve quietly and are
unknown to the approver tend to have their narratives simply accepted at face value.

My opinion on this is that "it's not worth the hassle to deal with the denial".

I've seen it in action, can't explain it or justify it.