By John V. Berry, Esq., Berry & Berry, PLLC, berrylegal.com
In a fairly detailed legal opinion by the Merit Systems Protection Board in Chambers v. Department of Interior, 2011 MSPB 7 (Jan. 11, 2011) the MSPB has reversed a 2004 decision by the Department of Interior to remove former U.S. Park Police Chief of Police Teresa Chambers. The ruling orders Chief Chambers' reinstatement to her former position within 20 days of January 11, 2011, along with backpay, and attorney fees.
The reversal by the MSPB, following a number of years in litigation and appeals, is based upon a finding that the Agency retaliated against Chief Chambers for her whistleblowing activities under the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA). The decision provided only 20 days in which to reinstate Chief Chambers to her former position. With an incumbent currently occupying the position, this sets up a number of issues for an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit if one is filed. The deadline to file an appeal is 60 days from the date of the decision (60 days from January 11, 2011).
For a copy of the entire legal opinion, download it here. Download 201101 Chambers MSPB Opinion