Whistleblower Law Blog
Federal Whistleblower Teresa Chambers Reinstated as Chief of U.S. Park Police
The U.S. Merit System Protections Board (MSPB) ordered whistleblower Teresa Chambers reinstated to her former position as Chief of the U.S. Park Police (USPP) and compensated her for over six years of lost wages. While under pressure from Debbie Weatherly, a staff member of the House of Representatives Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, the U.S. Department of the Interior illegally retaliated against Chambers becasuse she told the media the truth: more police officers were needed to keep the GW Parkway and federal parks safe. The MSPB wrote in Chambers v. Dep’t of Interior that:
We have found that the appellant [Teresa Chambers] made protected disclosures of substantial and specific dangers to public health or safety that are reflected in the December 2, 2003 Washington Post article in which she indicated that traffic accidents had increased on the BW Parkway, which often had two officers on patrol instead of the recommended four, and that the diversion of USPP patrol officers from national parks resulted in an increase in drug dealing in smaller national parks. In addition, the appellant made a protected disclosure in her December 2, 2003 e-mail to Ms. Weatherly concerning the number of officers patrolling the GW Parkway, the consequent decision not to arrest suspected drunk drivers, and the resulting jeopardy to parkway travelers. Underlying these disclosures were the appellant’s statements indicating that the substantial and specific dangers existed because the USPP did not have sufficient staffing or funding.
The federal Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) protects federal employees, like Teresa Chambers, who report waste, fraud, or abuse from retaliation by their supervisor or agency. The MSPD’s decision demonstrates that federal employees can be protected when they truthfully report safety concerns to the public. For more information about the Whistleblower Protection Act or to report fraud, click here.