Tags: Suspended | Park | Police | Chief | Continues | Her | Fight

Suspended Park Police Chief Continues Her Fight

Sunday, 01 February 2004 12:00 AM

“It provides startling information about a Federal law which prohibits paying a salary to any Federal employee who attempts to inhibit another employee's communication with Congress or attempts to discipline an employee for having done so,” points out Chambers, who remains in an administrative limbo following her controversial suspension two months ago.

”It is the collective voice of the voting American public that can make a difference in this horrific matter and reverse the direction this matter has taken in the last two months,” added Chambers, who was ostensibly suspended for speaking out on the record about issues she saw about the under-funding of her agency.

Before her suspension, Chambers was wrestling with how to protect the monuments in the nation's capital while continuing the yeomans' task of policing the trouble parkways that serve Washington, D.C.

The amicus brief submitted by GAP says among other things:

“After review of the charges and a January 9 response from Chief Chambers' attorneys, the record demonstrates six prohibited personnel practices as a matter of law, with investigation appropriate for a seventh. Without taking a position on factual disputes, the proposal cannot coexist with the merit system.

“GAP normally would not submit views on a whistleblower dispute until there has been final agency action. This case is extraordinary, however, for two reasons. First, a law enforcement official is on the verge of being fired for warning the public that there are fewer police patrolling federal parks, roads and property.

“This threatens federal employees' freedom to warn citizens about increased vulnerability to crime due to resource shifts. Most fundamental, citizens have a right to know whether they are being exposed to increased crime threats, the same as whether the terrorist threat is a "Code Orange" or "Code Yellow."

“Second, the law enforcement manager is being fired for communicating with congressional staff about the effects of budget decisions and resource needs to adequately protect the public. Congress has a right -- nonnegotiable need -- to know this information.

“This is the normal dialogue for government to be functional. It is not realistic to make informed spending decisions for the taxpayers' money, if government officials are fired for talking with congressional staff.

“These issues go well beyond alleged violations of the Whistleblower Protection Act, or even good government disputes. The actions threaten to lock in blanket secrecy through sweeping gag orders that could undermine basic government service. The Park Service proposal threatens to create a chilling effect on other federal law enforcement managers throughout the Executive branch, as normal communications become potential firing offenses.

“The Whistleblower Protection Act was written to protect legitimate instances of secrecy. But government in the dark can be dangerous. If there is to be a watershed change of this type in the rules of the game, it should come from the President and Congress, not through termination of a police chief.

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"It provides startling information about a Federal law which prohibits paying a salary to any Federal employee who attempts to inhibit another employee's communication with Congress or attempts to discipline an employee for having done so," points out Chambers, whoremains...
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2004-00-01
Sunday, 01 February 2004 12:00 AM
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