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FAA whistleblower

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Old September 6th 10, 02:30 AM posted to rec.aviation.owning
john hawkins
external usenet poster
Posts: 69
Default FAA whistleblower

I don't know a thing about it yet, but this whistleblower case in the FAA
sure has the potential to become interesting.

"I inform my then-supervisor, Anne Bechdolt, Acting Manager, Operations Law
Branch, that I refuse to obey an order that would require me to violate the

A few things to note:

1) A lawyer? Seriously? It's one thing to mess with a controller that has to
struggle to read the law and usually winds up having to hire a lawyer...it's
another thing entirely to have a guy in the position of whistleblower that
starts out with a law degree.

" I attach a 129-page .pdf document that chronicles the history above."

2) See what I mean? A controller can't imagine 129 pages. A lawyer can crank
that out before lunch.

3) If all this interests you, be sure to read the links. It will be much
easier to understand.

4) It appears Mr. Pardo is motivated.

5) The internet continues to change everything.

From: David Pardo
Date: Sun, Sep 5, 2010 at 2:45 PM
Subject: Blog


I would like to thank you for being kind and diligent with me in our
conversation on Thursday. I know that Secretary LaHood and his office is
sincere in improving the federal workforce. To that end, I look forward to
cooperating with you and the DOT to bring about needed change. I would also
like you to know that my experiences for the past few months have been quite
harrowing and, unfortunately, I have very little trust left for anyone in a
position of power, especially when I need to disclose misconduct. As a
result, I have started a publicly available blog to chronicle my ongoing
experiences. I have no intention to violate my ethical duties, so if you see
something that concerns you, please let me know. I also have no desire to
malign anyone. I only seek to present a fair and accurate portrayal of that
which I see around me.

The address is available he

Thanks again for your diligence and I look forward to meeting with you next


09.05.2010_Gmail - Blog

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Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
DOT responds
Posted on September 5, 2010 by David Pardo

Date: Thu, Sep 2, 2010 at 6:58 PM
Subject: Violations of Law/abuse/reprisal at the FAA Office of Chief Counsel

Dear Mr. Pardo,

Bob Rivkin, DOT's General Counsel, asked me to contact you concerning your
allegations of violations of law, abuse, and reprisal at the FAA. Secretary
LaHood appreciates the diligence of employees raising concerns and part of
my responsibility is to ensure that employee's allegations are looked into
and addressed. As you may know, the Secretary has responded to several
referrals made to him from the Office of Special Counsel. To date, we have
not received a referral from the Special Counsel concerning your

If you receive this email today, Thursday, September 2, I will be in my
office until 9:00p.m. and available to discuss your concerns with you. I
will be out of the office on Friday, returning on Tuesday after the Labor
Day holiday. If there is some time next week that works better for you,
please let me know.

I can be reached at 202-493-0992.

Judy Kaleta
Assistant General Counsel for General Law
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, DC 20590

09.02.2010_Kaleta_Violations of Law_abuse_reprisal at the FAA Office of
Chief Counsel

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Posted in DOT, FAA, accountability | Leave a comment
Violations of Law/abuse/reprisal at the FAA Office of Chief Counsel
Posted on September 5, 2010 by David Pardo
From: David Pardo
Date: Wed, Sep 1, 2010 at 9:38 PM
Subject: Violations of Law/abuse/reprisal at the FAA Office of Chief Counsel
To: ,

Dear Secretary LaHood,

I am an attorney with the Office of Chief Counsel, Regulations Division,
Federal Aviation Administration. I am emailing you in my personal capacity
to inform you that I have witnessed unlawful and abusive conduct by my
superiors that I believe undermines the FAA's efforts to enact needed
reforms. I recently filed whistleblowing disclosures with the DOT Inspector
General (OIG) and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), in addition to a
complaint for reprisal with the latter organization. While I cannot discuss
the specifics of what I have witnessed due to attorney-client
confidentiality, I can tell you that the misconduct I witnessed stems from a
lack of independence on the part of some FAA lawyers - possibly at the
direction of top-level legal management - with the goal of providing the
client offices at the FAA with whatever they want, at times without regard
to the law. Such lack of professional independence could derail today's
reforms, or worse, be a contributing factor in future accidents.

I further wish to inform you that the OIG and OSC have been unresponsive to
my numerous inquiries (which sadly is not surprising) and I am in the
process of going public with my concerns. It is not my first or even second
choice to resort to the media, but I am reaching a point where the lack of
accountability by the OIG and OSC leaves me with other no choice. I seek a
fair and just investigation into my allegations.

Please contact me should you require more information.

David Pardo

09.01.2010_LaHood_Violations of Law_abuse_reprisal at the FAA Office of
Chief Counsel

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Posted in DOT, FAA, LaHood, accountability | Leave a comment
How we got here
Posted on September 5, 2010 by David Pardo

November 9, 2009: I join the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of
Chief Counsel as a GS-11 equivalent (G band) attorney.

February 9, 2010: I fly down to CMEL, our training center in Florida, for
new attorney orientation and training. David Grizzle, the Chief Counsel,
joined us via video conference at some point and introduced himself. He
described the new FAA philosophy concerning viewing whistleblowers as
"contributors" rather than complainants, and shared his desire to change the
FAA culture from one of sitting on one's rights to one of employees acting
out of principle. At some point he opened the floor to questions, at which
point I asked him if, out of the desire to change FAA culture, he considered
or had heard of the Foreign Service's Dissent Channel. He said he had not,
asked me to describe it some more, and grabbed a blank piece of paper to
write something down. I described the program and said that it was
critically acclaimed and helped make the Foreign Service a top notch agency.
He then asked me to email him more info about it, which I later did. I
never heard back from him.

April 27: The Office of the Chief Counsel holds a Spring Cleanup Day.
Around lunchtime, the front office ordered pizza for everyone and people
made their way to/from a conference room there. At one point, Deputy Chief
Counsel James Whitlow, David Grizzle, and Assistant Chief Counsel for
Regulations Rebecca MacPherson were sitting in the lobby area of the front
office and were apparently discussing the new FAA Office of Auditing and
Evaluation, when Mr. Whitlow used the word "whistleblower" or
"whistleblowing" with the adjective "stupid."

April 29: I inform my then-supervisor, Anne Bechdolt, Acting Manager,
Operations Law Branch, that I refuse to obey an order that would require me
to violate the law, and that we should take a course of conduct that avoids
violating the law. In subsequent conversations and by email, Ms. Bechdolt
states that she presumes that we will take the legal course of conduct.

May 18: Ms. Bechdolt ignores my warnings of April 29 and violates the law
anyway. Her supervisor, Rebecca MacPherson, is implicated in this as well.

June 17: I receive from Ms. Bechdolt a low performance evaluation and am
threatened with termination by her and her supervisor, Ms. MacPherson.

June 18: I notify Ms. Bechdolt, Ms. MacPherson, and James Whitlow
(then-Acting Chief Counsel) that I consider the performance evaluation to be
in retaliation for protected activities. I attach a 129-page .pdf document
that chronicles the history above.

June 19: I file a complaint for a prohibited personnel practice (reprisal
for protected activities) against Ms. Bechdolt with the U.S. Office of
Special Counsel (OSC).

July 10, 13: I file whistleblowing disclosures with the Department of
Transportation's Inspector General (OIG) and the OSC.

July 14: I inform Ms. Bechdolt of the above filings.

July 16: Mr. Whitlow invites me to a mandatory meeting for the following
week. I presume at this time that he is aware of my filings.

July 17: A vacancy announcement is issued on
www.usajobs.gov for Ms.
Bechdolt's position at 2am on a Saturday.

July 20: I expose the external vacancy announcement to Ms. Bechdolt, the
FAA Ethics Counsel, the OIG, and the OSC.

July 21: A standard internal email is sent to the attorneys at the Office
of Chief Counsel (AGC) announcing the vacancy announcement, with an
uncharacteristic 5-day delay.

July 21: I send the internal AGC email and several others dating back as
far as November 2009 to OSC Disclosure Unit Attorney Tracy Biggs and to the
OIG to show the discrepancy afoot.

July 22: Mr. Whitlow denies that the FAA violated the law on May 18. He
also denies that the FAA retaliated against me. He minimizes my claims,
saying that this is just a matter between me and Ms. Bechdolt. He would
like for me to meet with him in two months.

July 26: Ms. MacPherson rescinds the disciplinary elements imposed by Ms.
Bechdolt's June 17 performance evaluation. She also reveals her desire for
me to leave the Regulations Division and tells me that she is keeping a
close eye on my probation deadline. She also says, presumably in defense to
the allegations that she violated the law on May 18, that she relies on her
subordinates to spot the major legal issues for her. Finally, she reassigns
me to a different branch within the Regulations Division.

August 9: In a conversation with OSC Attorney Tracy Biggs, I realize that
she is ignoring my concerns. The 15 statutory day deadline for resolution
of my disclosures has long since passed.

August 25: The OIG dumps my case, despite having expressed some interest in
it a month earlier, this time stating "we anticipate no further action from
our office regarding this matter."

September 1: I email DOT Secretary Ray LaHood and DOT General Counsel
Robert Rivkin with a plea, seeking a "fair and just investigation into my

September 2: I receive an email from Judy Kaleta, Assistant General Counsel
for General Law, DOT, at the request of DOT General Counsel Bob Rivkin. I
promptly return her email with a phone call. Speaking for about an hour and
a half, I take her through most of the allegations. She states that I have
the Secretary's ear.

We talked about doing an organizational assessment to look at the problems
at the Regulations Division, with a report/reply from each
attorney/submission to Congress and the President akin to the OSC Disclosure
mechanism (5 U.S.C. 1213).

I also informed her of some other wrongdoing allegations which seemed to
trouble her. Those ones require higher level input.

We plan to tentatively meet next week to get a status update and exchange

Update: added links, corrected some grammatical errors.


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