Support Teresa Chambers
An Honest Police Chief
|Dec. 2003 - As a 28-year veteran of law enforcement and as the Chief of the United States Park Police, Teresa Chambers was responsible for the safety and security of some of America’s most valued and recognizable symbols of freedom – including, but not limited to, such notable sites as the Washington Monument, the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge area, and the area surrounding the White House itself. Full Introduction|
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U.S. PARK POLICE CHIEF TERESA CHAMBERS ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
November 21, 2013 -Washington, DC — U.S. Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers today announced her retirement to be effective on the date of her 35th anniversary as a sworn police officer. The first female leader of the oldest uniformed federal constabulary, Chief Chambers ends an accomplished and precedent-setting law enforcement career.
It is time for me to accept new challenges,” said Chief Chambers, one of the longest tenured U.S. Park Police Chiefs in memory, who fought a long legal battle that started on December 5, 2003, to win restoration to her position. “It was important that I leave on my terms and at a time of my choosing.” Full Story
Chief Teresa Chambers Returns to the United States Park Police January 31st, 2011
FORMER US PARK POLICE CHIEF TERESA CHAMBERS
January 11, 2011 - After seven years, one month, and six days, Chief Chambers has had all administrative charges dismissed by the Merit Systems Protection Board, which has ordered that she be reinstated as the Chief of the United States Park Police. Here’s an excerpt from the MSPB decision:
Accordingly, we ORDER the agency to cancel the appellant’s December 5, 2003 placement on administrative leave, cancel the appellant’s July 10, 2004 removal, and restore her effective July 10, 2004. . . The agency must complete this action no later than 20 days after the date of this decision.
The Board also ordered “the agency to pay the appellant the correct amount of back pay, interest on back pay, and other benefits under the Office of Personnel Management’s regulations, no later than 60 calendar days after the date of this decision” and has invited Chief Chambers to file a motion for attorneys’ fees and related expenses.
Meetings have been scheduled to work out the logistics of transitioning Chief Chambers back to the position that was illegally taken from her.The members of the Merit Systems Protection Board are to be commended for taking a fresh, unbiased look at this case, carefully reviewing the evidence, and seeing that justice was served.
A special thanks goes to the Director of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), PEER attorneys, associate attorneys, and staff members for their unwavering support and vigorous defense of this case. We would also like to thank the National Treasury Employees Union attorneys and members for their expertise and advocacy.
And, of course, a heartfelt thanks to the hundreds of thousands of supporters who have stood with Chief Chambers throughout this long journey. Your words of wisdom and support gave her the strength to never give up.
The Missing Document Surfaced On March 10, 2005 And We Still Don't Have It ! Click Here
Social Networking Brings New Visitors to HonestChief.com
Did you notice the new “Share” button at the top of the page? There is so much excitement as Chief Chambers’ case moves forward, and the Web Master wants you to be able to share the HonestChief.com website with your friends and contacts on Facebook, Twitter, and lots of other networking sites.
Chief Chambers is preparing to take her case back to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) - as ordered by the Court of Appeals - for its third trip there (the hearing before the Administrative Judge, the review by the full board, the first remand back to the MSPB, and the current remand). This time, though, there are only three remaining administrative charges (see the HonestChief.com April 22nd 2010 story, “Chief Chambers Continues to Fight – Continues to Win,” below).
Share the hope – share the anticipation – and share a link to the site with others.
Chief Chambers Continues to Fight – Continues to Win
April 22, 2010 - For the second time, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has ruled in favor of Chief Chambers. In its most recent decision (April 21, 2010), the Court handed down a pivotal decision in reversing the most significant remaining administrative charge (Charge #2) against Chief Chambers and in recognizing her as a whistleblower. Among the critical findings of the court were that the actions taken against her were in reprisal for her statements to the Washington Post and that many of those statements were protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act:
“The AJ [Administrative Judge in the Merit Systems Protection Board process] considered this issue and found that the Chambers’ statements that had been reported in the Washington Post were a contributing factor in Chambers’ placement on administrative leave and in her removal. The agency did not challenge this finding below, nor does it do so now. We therefore hold that the disclosure we find protected was a contributing factor in the agency’s decision to take adverse action against Chambers.” (Page 15 of April 21, 2010, Decision fo the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.)
Also of great importance is that the “Deciding Official,” Former Deputy Assistant Secretary Paul Hoffman, testified that administrative Charges 2, 3, and 5 “together warrant removal” and that, if those three were not sustained, the penalty would not have been removal.
The Court has remanded the case back to the Merit Systems Protection Board to receive briefings from both sides and make a determination as to the reasonableness of the penalty in light of the remaining administrative charges. In doing so, the Board has been directed to consider the strength of the agency’s evidence, the existence and strength of any motive to retaliate on the part of agency officials, and any evidence that the agency takes similar actions against employees in similar situations. Additionally, the Board has been directed to address not only the issue of removal but also the issue of placing Chief Chambers on administrative leave and restricting her media access when this matter first began to unfold in 2003.
Chief Chambers’ legal team and supporters are optimistic regarding the ultimate outcome of her case, especially following this historic victory. She still awaits a ruling from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia regarding her missing performance appraisal, a matter that was remanded back to the Court upon a successful appeal by her attorneys to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
HUGE Victory in the Privacy Act Case!
Also Known as the "Missing Document"
June 16, 2009 - Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled against the Department of the Interior, sending Chief Chambers' Privacy Act case back to the Federal District Court for a full trial on the matter of the missing / destroyed performance appraisal. To read an excerpt from the court click here.
Chief Chambers Testifies at Congressional Hearing!
May 18, 2009 - The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform invited Chief Chambers to testify at a hearing last week regarding whistleblower legislation reform. Her written and oral testimony asked one fundamental question, “Is telling the truth a firing offense in federal service?”
Chief Chambers’ testimony was well received by Congress Members, their staff, the media, and citizens in attendance. Decide for yourself by listening to the interviews and news stories and reading the press releases and testimony.
WTOP News Radio May 14, '09 Hear the Testimony May 14, '09
Federal News Radio May 14, '09 Federal News Radio May 15, '09
The Infamous Missing Document
May, 2009 - You may recall the saga of the missing performance appraisal that began before Chief Chambers was sent home from her job as the Chief of the United States Park Police in December 2003. Although Former National Park Service Deputy Director Donald Murphy emailed Chief Chambers and informed her that he had completed her appraisal – and despite his telling her in person that it had been completed and that it was a “good one” – the appraisal was never presented to her.
A detailed chronology can be found here; but, to sum it up:
Since that time, the Department of the Interior filed a second Motion for Summary Judgment, this one in June of 2007 “for lack of jurisdiction or for failure to state a claim.” In March 2008, the original Judge in this case granted DOI’s motion and dismissed the case. In doing so, Judge Robertson said, in part:
It should be noted that IT (Information Technology) also fell under Deputy Director Donald W. Murphy’s supervision…
Merit Systems Protection Board ( MSPB ) - Status Quo
Are you surprised? We're Not
January 9, 2009 - In a move that shouldn’t surprise anyone, the current administration – after rushing to fill the vacant position of Chief of the United States Park Police prior to the new U.S. President taking office (see story below) – rushed to release the latest opinion and order by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) in Chief Chambers’ case just 12 days before the current administration leaves office. It did so even though one of the three MSPB positions is vacant, leaving only the two Republican-appointed members to render a decision to give it the appearance of being unanimous. Full Story
Another New Chief of the United States Park Police
December 30, 2008 - In a move obviously designed to underwhelm the press, the National Park Service waited until Christmas Eve 2008 to publish a press release naming Sal Lauro as the new chief of the United States Park Police.
Sal retired as a U.S. Park Police major not long after Chief Chambers was sent home for telling the truth. He was recently brought back to the Park Police as the “Acting” Chief of Police after the most recent chief – Dwight Pettiford – was removed from that position.
The incoming administration will undoubtedly wonder why this important law enforcement post was filled less than four weeks before they take office and, by all accounts, without their input – especially in light of Chief Chambers’ favorable ruling from the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals, which sent her case back to the Merit Systems Protection Board for review. She is currently awaiting action by the Board.
Looking for a Chief – Anybody? Anybody?
October 2008 – Dwight Pettiford, who had previously been selected to serve as the Chief of the U.S. Park Police following Chief Chambers’ termination, voluntarily put himself on leave seven months ago instead of reporting to a new assignment to write a response to an Inspector General’s report. Along the way, he was stripped of his gun and badge; and now – after sitting in limbo for seven months – he has been reassigned to another posh position within the Department of the Interior.
The Last Member of Chief Chambers' Former Chain of Command Calls it Quits...More to Come!!!
Victory in Federal Court of Appeals
February 14, 2008 - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has determined that the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) “applied an incorrect standard” in its failure to provide whistleblower protection status to Chief Chambers, and it has sent the case back to the MSPB to correct its failure. This is a significant victory in Chief Chambers’ case. Although it could take some time for the MSPB to render its new decision (their first decision took more than 500 days), it is a step in the right direction.
This decision comes on the heels of a recently released report by the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General, validating concerns Chief Chambers raised in 2003 regarding a staffing crisis in the United States Park Police. As the Inspector General illustrates in his report, the issues Chief Chambers pointed out to Interior officials were not only ignored, they have been allowed to worsen.
Chambers is Chief of Police Again - Welcome back, Chief!
Jan. 14, 2008 - After nearly four years of being in legal limbo, Teresa Chambers has been appointed Chief of Police for the town of Riverdale Park. Riverdale Park is located in Prince George's County Maryland, just outside Washington DC.
Several people have asked, "Did she lose her case against the Department of the Interior?" or "Has she given up?" The answer to both of those questions is "No!" Her case against the Department of the Interior remains before the court waiting for a decision.
The law enforcement community of Maryland is sure to benefit by Chief Chambers' appointment. As one law enforcement executive is quoted as saying, "The quality of Police Chiefs in Maryland just went up tremendously." Another says, "Welcome back, law enforcement needs you," and yet another said, "Department of the Interior's loss is Riverdale Park's gain." And finally, from supporters all over the country "Congratulations Chief! You deserve this and so much more."
Chambers Case Heard Before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
November 8, 2007 - Chief Chambers' case was heard today at 10 a.m. by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Both parties were given 15 minutes to state their oral arguments in the case. Chief Chambers' counsel did a splendid job, and we are all praying for a positive outcome for Chief Chambers.
You can listen to the oral arguments (about 30 minutes total) by clicking the button below:
Chief Chambers Drives on the Road to Justice
Appeal Moves to Federal Court
April 5, 2007 - After exhausting all administrative remedies, Chief Chambers has finally been allowed to take her case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Her appeal brief, as well as an amicus brief filed on her behalf by former U.S. Special Counsel Elaine Kaplan, were filed last month. The Department of the Interior is expected to file its response to the court within the next few months.
2006 - Year in Review
The Year 2006 provided some significant events in the case of our “Honest Chief,” Chief Teresa Chambers, who lost her job as Chief of the United States Park Police as a result of her candor, integrity, and honesty.December 5, 2006, brought the end of the third year since illegal actions were taken against Chief Chambers, forcing her from her job as Chief of the United States Park Police and starting a groundswell of support for her from outraged citizens across the country as well as from supporters around the world. Here are some other important happenings in 2006: Full Story
National Park Service Deputy Director Donald W. Murphy Resigns
Spearheaded the Unconscionable Actions Against Chief Chambers
October 6, 2006 - National Park Service Deputy Director Donald W. Murphy, the official who spearheaded the unconscionable actions against Chief Chambers, made an abrupt announcement that he would be leaving the National Park Service effective Friday, the 13th of October, 2006. Full Story
Chief Chambers Wins Round One In The Case Of The Missing Document
Federal Judge Issues Ruling In Privacy Act Case
October 2, 2006 - In February of 2006, the Department of the Interior asked the Court to dismiss Chief Chambers’ privacy act suit. In their Motion for Summary Judgment and supporting documents, DOI first tried to convince the judge that the performance appraisal Chief Chambers is seeking never existed – despite Deputy Director Donald Murphy’s previous sworn testimony that he had prepared one. Then, they tried to convince the Judge that, even if the appraisal did exist, it would not be protected by the Privacy Act.
Fortunately for Chief Chambers, the Judge didn’t “buy” the Department of the Interior’s arguments. On September 28, 2006, the Judge issued his Order denying the Department of the Interior’s motion asking that the case be dismissed. Full Story
At Last, A Ruling From MSPB
September 21, 2006 - AT LAST! Chief Chambers can finally appeal her case to a Federal Appeals Court. The three-member Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), bitterly divided over the outcome in this case, published a decision in Chief Chambers’ case today. Full Story
One by One, They Have Fallen
July 26, 2006 - They left their positions in the Department of the Interior. It started with those who provided advice to her bosses – advice on how to mistreat Chief Chambers and put her life in jeopardy when they sent her home on December 5, 2003, in uniform and unarmed with no vehicle, no cellular telephone, and no police radio. It soon extended to those who handled the press on this matter from the office of then Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton...Full Story
Congress Member Publicly Proclaims that Chief Chambers was “Right”
Will Other Congress Members Speak Out?
July 17, 2006 - Once again, as we saw in late May 2006, another spate of violent attacks on our National Mall has left many folks wondering why Chief Chambers’ November 2003 warnings to the Director of the National Park Service, Fran Mainella, weren’t heeded. Here’s an excerpt from a letter Chief Chambers wrote to Director Mainella on November 28, 2003. Full Story
She Told Them . . . They Wouldn’t Listen!
NPS Director Fran Mainella Praises Chief Chambers
June 25, 2006 - Anyone who has followed the case of Teresa Chambers, the Former Chief of the United States Park Police, won’t be surprised by this story. In November and December, 2003, she warned her bosses that the dwindling resources of the United States Park Police left them unable to provide adequate protection to visitors of those valued and recognizable symbols of America’s freedom which the Park Police force was responsible to protect. When asked by reporters during that same time period if anti-terrorism demands were impacting other services of the Park Police, Chambers was, of course, candid. She balanced her concerns, though, with information about innovative steps the Park Police force was taking to stretch their resources. Full Story
Chief Chambers Featured in New Book Profiling Patriotic Americans
Excerpt from Chapter 16, “The Honest Chief,” in Patriots Act: Voices of Dissent and the Risk of Speaking Out
by Bill Katovsky:
“Chambers, forty-six, was the first female chief in the Park Police’s 212-year history. Hired several months after 9/11, she recognized the importance of using the press to reassure jittery Americans that it was safe to visit our national monuments." More
March 10, 2006 - One Year Anniversary of the Elusive
Performance Appraisal Being “Found” But Not Released
On March 10, 2005, HonestChief.com and PEER.org reported to you that, under pressure of a federal lawsuit, the Department of the Interior (DOI), admitted that they had located the document sought in Chief Chambers’ October 2004 Freedom of Information (FOIA) and Privacy Act request – the performance appraisal prepared by her former supervisor, National Park Service Deputy (NPS) Director Donald Murphy. You may recall that, although having admitted that they had located the document, DOI nor NPS released it, saying they would be “making a determination on whether to release the information it located.” Full Story
Chief Chambers Files Federal Tort Claim
In No Way Indicates an Offer to Settle
December 2, 2005 - Before the two-year anniversary of the actions taken against Chief Chambers by officials in the Department of the Interior passed, Chief Chambers, through her attorneys, filed a claim for damages pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, seeking 2.2 million dollars. While she continues to fight to return to her job, she and her attorneys believed it was important to not allow the statute of limitations to pass, which would have prohibited her from filing a claim of this sort in the future. Full Story
Program with Republican Congress Member
Aug. 24, 2005 - Congressman Mark Souder, a leading Republican who chairs one of the congressional subcommittees with jurisdiction over national parks, has been holding hearings across the country to examine the financial shortfalls affecting our national parks. Recently, following a hearing he held in Boston, Congressman Souder and Chief Chambers appeared on a television news program. Full Story
Park Police whistleblower still hopeful
July 26, 2005 - Teresa Chambers rose to eminence in 2002 when she was sworn in as the first female chief of the United States Park Police, an agency within the Department of the Interior that protects landmarks, monuments and parks nationwide. Since then, she has attracted the limelight for different reasons — her firing in December 2003 after publicly stating that her agency was underfunded and understaffed, and her ongoing court battle to get her job back. Full Story
by High Ranking Department of the Interior Official
July 2005 - In anticipation of an oversight hearing by members of Congress, the Department of the Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary for Law Enforcement and Security, Larry Parkinson, spoke with reporters. His concerns, quoted by the Carlsbad Current-Argus and other print media, echo information confirmed by Chief Chambers to the Washington Post in an article in December 2003 - information covered by the Whistleblower Protection Act and which, nonetheless, served as the basis for her removal from federal employment. Full Story
June 2005 - Another study, this one commissioned by Congress itself, has confirmed what Chief Chambers had been saying all along - National Park Service law enforcement officers, including the United States Park Police, are spread too thin; there are trade-offs that must be acknowledged when priorities shift and areas are left with fewer police officers; and funding must be tied into the realities of security threats. Full Story
SHAKE UP AT PARK SERVICE HEADQUARTERS
Reorganization Marginalizes Top Deputy Responsible for Firing Park Police Chief
June 20, 2005 - Washington, DC — The National Park Service is unveiling a wide-ranging reshuffling of management responsibilities, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The big loser appears to be Donald Murphy, the now former Deputy Director for External Affairs, whose responsibilities have been significantly reduced. Full Story
April 25, 2005 - In just the past seven days, both FOX6 TV and KOGO News Radio 600 in San Diego, CA, interviewed Chief Chambers about her case. State by state, her story is being told.Full Story
April 2005 - Chief Chambers Featured In Bay Weekly - Click Here
March 10, 2005 - Just weeks after Chief Chambers' legal team filed suit in Federal District Court to force the Department of the Interior / National Park Service ( DOI / NPS ) to release Chief Chambers' performance appraisal that was prepared by NPS Deputy Director Donald W. Murphy in late fall of 2003 and never given to her -- and following DOI's / NPS's contention that the document did not exist -- it has now suddenly surfaced. This comes after months of stonewalling by the DOI / NPS, refusing to release the document and then saying it does not exist. Only after Chief Chambers' legal team reminded the DOI / NPS that Deputy Director Murphy testified under oath that he had prepared the document, has the DOI / NPS acknowledged its existence. Now, decision makers in DOI / NPS are trying to decide if they will release it to Chief Chambers and her legal team despite Federal Law that says she is entitled to it. News Release
National Park Service Withholds Key Document in Violation
of Privacy Act –Chief Chambers Files Suit in Federal Court
February 24, 2005 - In August 2004, National Park Service Deputy Director Donald Murphy testified under oath at a deposition hearing that he had prepared a performance appraisal for Chief Chambers in the latter half of 2003. He admitted that he did not present the appraisal to her, and he did not produce it when asked to do so in this case. Recently, after months of stalling, the National Park Service has stated that there is no record of the evaluation. Which statement is true? The only reason for the National Park Service to withhold or deny the existence of the performance appraisal is because it does not support the actions taken against Chief Chambers. After all, Murphy himself told her it was a good one. To resolve this issue, Chief Chambers has, for the first time in this case, filed a Federal lawsuit. News Release
Steps Forward on Chief Chambers’ BehalfJanuary 31, 2005 - On behalf of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), former U.S. Special Counsel Elaine Kaplan, and NTEU General Counsel Gregory O’Duden, filed a hard-hitting, common sense amicus brief in support of Chief Chambers with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). Full Story
National Park Service Spokesman Dave Barna
Has No Additional Comment Or Does He?
On January 4, 2005,GovExec wrote and posted an article titled "Former Park Police Chief applies for old job." In writing this article the reporter, Chris Strohm, sought comment from National Park Service spokesman Dave Barna who stated "She is no longer an employee of the National Park Service, and her issues are personnel-related, and we have no additional comment." He then went on to counter criticism about the Park Police being understaffed. He said security is "a mix between people and technology, which is one of the issues I think Ms. Chambers never really got over here ... Security is not all driven by members of the Park Police."
So, this leaves one to wonder . . . did National Park Service spokesman Dave Barna have "no additional comment" and then make them or is this something he "never really got over [t]here"?
On December 15, 2004 - Chief Chambers and her legal team filed a 239-page “Petition for Review of Initial Decision” with the Merit Systems Protection Board. The Petition asks the Board to reverse the Merit Systems Protection Board Administrative Judge’s conclusions that were unfavorable to the Chief and to reverse the Chief’s removal as Chief of the United States Park Police. The petition points out 48 instances of improper action (supported with case law ) by the Administrative Judge. Full Story
October 6, 2004 - Merit Systems Protection Board Judge Elizabeth Bogle handed down her decision eliminating two of the six administrative charges placed by Donald Murphy, Deputy Director of the National Park Service, and upheld by Paul Hoffman, Deputy Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. In her decision, she found that the Department of the Interior “has not met its burden of proof of Charge 1, “Improper budget communications,” and Charge 4, “Improper lobbying.” Full Story
Send a Fax to the Department of the Interior Urging Immediate Reinstatement of Chief Chambers
Have Left Since The Beginning of this Ordeal
Lynn Scarlett Deputy Secretary, US Department of the Interior
Paul Hoffman Deputy Assistant Interior Secretary, US Department of the Interior
Fran P. MainellaDirector, National Park Service
Donald W. MurphyDeputy Director, National Park Service
Gale A. NortonSecretary, US Department of the Interior
J. Steven GrilesDeputy Secretary, US Department of the Interior
Craig Manson Assistant Secretary, US Department of the Interior
Hugo Teufel Associate Solicitor, US Department of the Interior
Tim Elliott Deputy Associate Solicitor for the Division of General Law at the Department of the Interior
Eric Ruff Director of Communications for the Office of the Secretary
Mark Pfeifle Press Secretary, Department of the Interior
Michael Rossetti Counselor to the Secretary
Ann Klee Counselor to Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton
Lynn Smith Human Resources Program Manager
Daniel Garza Office of External and Intergovernmental Affairs
* Job titles were obtained through Google searches and from reputable documents, such as cached DOI pages, NPS pages, and Court documents.
CONGRESSMAN HOYER SAYS
" REPORT ON PARK POLICE RAISES MORE QUESTIONS
REGARDING CHAMBERS DISMISSAL "
Congress Moves to Protect Federal Whistleblowers
"CULTURE OF FEAR AT INTERIOR"
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