Teresa Chambers – the U.S. Park Police chief who was fired for expressing concerns over safety issues – has been reinstated in her former position.
Chambers’ ultimate victory marks the end of a seven-year legal battle in which her case was brought three times before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). Chambers’ ruling, along with others, illustrates how the MSPB has begun to reverse its trend of ruling against whistleblowers and restore its authority to enforce the merit system.
Key Quote: Under Grundmann, the board "made more progress toward protecting the merit system than in any other year since it was created by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978," said Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower advocacy organization. "It issued landmark precedents that restored its authority to enforce the merit system. It reversed a decade-long trend of ruling against whistleblowers."
Four whistleblower victories in 2010 were one more than the total for the previous decade, Devine said.
Click here to read Devine's blog on the MSPB, and problems with Administrative Judges' record with whistleblower cases.
Wall Street Journal: Sympathy for the Whistleblower? SEC GC’s Comments Pique Interest
David Becker, the SEC’s General Counsel, has shed some light on what the new Dodd-Frank whistleblower provisions (to be finalized in April) will look like.
Debate has ensued over whether whistleblowers should be mandated to first report concerns internally to their own companies before going to the SEC, with big corporations lobbying for this proposal to be written into law. Yet, Becker seems to be siding with whistleblowers by expressing his concern over some companies’ broken compliance programs that “no matter how elaborately conceived and extensively documented, exist only on paper.”
However, an update to the story states that the "SEC announced Tuesday that Becker will leave the commission at the end of February to return to the private sector."
Washington Post: Leaked Cable Tells of 3 Previously Undisclosed Members of 9/11 Plot
New information from a cable obtained by WikiLeaks has revealed that a previously (publicly) unknown group of three Qatari men potentially aided the 19 hijackers in the planning of 9/11. The three men conducted surveillance on landmarks in New York and Washington – including the World Trade Center, the Statue of Liberty, and the White House – before leaving the U.S. just prior to the attacks.
A U.S. official has stated that the three men were investigated shortly after the attacks, but could not be charged.
Associated Press: Nation's Largest Farm Groups Join Together to Fight Bad Publicity, Improve Farmers' Image
Significant criticism of big agriculture's animal welfare and environmental practices have moved the nation's largest farm groups to form a coalition, the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, in order to boost their public image.
Lindsay Bigda is Communications Fellow for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower advocacy organization.