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Tag: teresa chambers

Teresa Chambers to Return as U.S. Park Police Chief on Jan. 31

Teresa Chambers/gov photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Ousted U.S. Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers will return to her old job on Jan. 31,  U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar announced.

Chambers was fired in 2004 for publicly voicing concerns about budget shortfalls and staff shortages which she said left citizens vulnerable to crime.

The Merit Systems Protection Board earlier this month ruled that she could have her job back, plus more than six years of back pay. It concluded that the evidence against her was weak, and that the Interior Department retaliated against her.

“It is a tremendous honor to return to the United States Park Police and to work alongside the men and women of that organization who have the privilege of serving the law enforcement profession while also serving our country,” Chambers said in a statement.

In announcing her official reinstatement, Salazar said that the current chief Sal Lauro has agreed to serve as a Senior Advisor to the Interior Department.

“In that position, Chief Lauro will work closely with Kim Thorsen, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Law Enforcement, Security and Emergency Management to launch a comprehensive review of all aspects of the Department’s and Bureaus’ law enforcement activities and programs,” a press release said.

“Chief Lauro and Deputy Assistant Secretary Thorsen will provide recommendations to the Secretary, Assistant Secretary, and Bureau heads on how to strengthen law enforcement throughout the Department and its agencies.”

Board Rules that Fired U.S. Park Police Chief Can Be Reinstated and Get 6 Years of Back Pay

Teresa Chambers

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Patience and persistence has paid off for Teresa Chambers, who was fired as U.S. Park Police chief in 2004 in what turned into a highly controversial situation in the nation’s capital.

The Merit Systems Protection Board has ruled that she can have her job back, plus more than six years of back pay. It concluded that the evidence against her was weak, and that the Interior Department retaliated against her,  according to the ruling first reported by WTOP radio Tuesday.

WTOP reported that she was fired for publicly commenting to the media about budget problems and complaining about a staff shortage that was forcing her to cut back on patrols.

WTOP said that in 2004 the Park Service’s deputy director, Don Murphy, said Chambers’ broke the rules by commenting publicly about budget discussions and lobbying.

“In sum, we find that the agency’s evidence in support of its actions was not strong at the time it took the actions, the record demonstrates that the acting officials had a significant motive to retaliate against the appellant, and the agency did not show that it took similar actions against similarly-situated non-whistleblowers,” the merit board wrote in its ruling.

The Washington Post reported that her attorney, Paula Dinerstein, called the decision “a wonderful ruling, not only for Chief Chambers but for thousands who believe that honesty is part of public service.”

The Post reported that the National Park Service, which oversees the Park Police, was reviewing the ruling.

To Read more click here.