The Congress held hearings this week calling FAA whistle Blowers to testify. It is likely these guys life as a federal civil servant is over. They have dedicated their lives to protecting you. Now they have done the ultimate sacrifice. They have in a sense laid down there life on a grenade to protect the public they served. There will be no medal awarded here, and no recognition by anyone else for their heroic duty.
My hat is off to them.
Jon Hilkevitch - CHICAGO TRIBUNE reported
“One whistle-blower, FAA inspector Douglas Peters, choked up with emotion while describing his conversation with an FAA manager last June about Peters’ concerns over “unethical actions” by FAA personnel in the failure to inspect 47 Southwest Airlines planes. The manager agreed to look into issues that Peters raised in a memo. But walking over to a bookshelf in Peters’ office where he keeps family photos, the manager picked up a picture of Peters’ son standing near a plane and said, “This is what’s important, family and flying.” On his way out the door, the manager added: “You have a good job here, and your wife has a good job [at an FAA facility in Dallas]. I’d hate to see you jeopardize yours and her careers trying to take down a couple of losers.” “
What the FAA manager said was not untrue. I too was a whistle blower and it is why I do not work for the FAA anymore. I still think about my time there as a pilot and systems engineer was well spent as a public servant. But the results of Blowing the Whistle were devastating to mylife, career and ultimately sent me to federal prison.
I recognize now that the U.S. government’s executive branch is broken beyond repair, because of the structure of temporary political appointees, typically figureheads that don’t know anything about the agency they are put in charge of, over life long civil servants that have made the specific agency their life long commitment. Sadly, it makes no difference if it is a Republican or Democrat, so not even an election can cure the problem.
It is not wise as a government employee to bring up a problems or “Blow the Whistle” under this type of structured government. No politician over an agency wants to look like he/she is incompetent at his/her job. It looks bad all the way up to the president. Just look at Browne with FEMA and the effect it had on Bush.
If a problem is bad enough for a public Whistle Blowing, it is going to make the political appointee over that agency look bad. His/her agency is out of his control. This will in turn make the president look bad for selecting someone incompetent and unable to control the conduct of the agency. Presidents and their personal wrecking crews do have control many other executive agencies’ including the IRS, the U.S. Attorney, etc… that can and will do everything in their power to make the whistle blowers life a complete living hell if they have disgraced the executive branch.
When a Whistle Blower case does go to the federal courts for resolution the Congress steps aside and will no longer assist the whistle blower. The Congress will cite, as they did to me in my case, the separations of power, leaving the Whistle Blower at the mercy of the federal courts stacked with more presidential appointees to judge the case. Talk about a stacked deck.
Government agencies are represented by the United States Attorney’s office in federal court. The first tactic is to discredit the Whistle Blower as a disgruntled employee. Attempts are then made to minimize the problem reported.
In my case one of the problems I reported was a safety system that was required to be monitored, I reported it as not being monitored. The FAA said 15% of the system was being monitored and I was therefore not correct in reporting the system was not being monitored because 15% was being monitored. Yes, your government does make bizarre claims like this.
Attacks are then directed as to job performance, questions as to mental stability, or anything else in their play book. In my case I had just been recommended for a national “against all odds” award for my work performance, so that tactic did not work.
If these tactics don’t work, as in my case where the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia openly stated this to me, they will starve the Whistle Blower out by extending the case for so long the legal bills will drive them under. In my case, I did go bankrupt and was forced to move in with my parents. But I still fought on.
If that doesn’t work they begin to search out anything that can be used against you including an audit with the IRS. If that doesn’t work threaten some type of criminal charge. I’ve seen it all.
Settle your case or else. I have an Assistant United States Attorney on tape telling me to settle my case or they were going to indict me for failure to pay child support amount based on my former position with the FAA. When I still refused to settle and my family paid the past due support I was indicted for failure to pay child support anyway and sent to federal prison for 16 months.
Unable to continue my Whistle Blower case, it was dropped by the court. I did not get anything for my wrongful dismissal.