Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
CONTACT: Tina Kreisher
For Immediate Release: July 9, 2004
Statement by Tina Kreisher, Communications Director, Department of the Interior

(WASHINGTON) -- On December 17, 2003, Don Murphy, Deputy Director of the National Park Service, proposed removing Theresa Chambers from her position as Chief of the United States Park Police. Ms. Chambers filed a reply to the proposed removal and the matter was assigned to Deputy Assistant Secretary Paul Hoffman.

According to public sources, Ms. Chambers also filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) on January 29, 2004, alleging that she was entitled to whistleblower protection. OSC has been investigating this matter for several months and a decision was anticipated prior to July 3, 2004. Ms. Chambers, on June 28, 2004, filed an appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board. Her action ended OSC's review of her whistleblower case.

Today, as part of the Department of the Interior's internal review, Deputy Assistant Secretary Paul Hoffman reached a decision with respect to the employment status of Ms. Chambers.

In making his decision, Mr. Hoffman considered factors prescribed by the Merit Systems Protection Board to determine the appropriate penalty. These factors include: (1) the nature and seriousness of the offense; (2) the employee's job level; (3) the employee's past disciplinary record; (4) the employee's past work record and job performance; (5) the effect of the offense on the confidence of the supervisor in the employee's ability to perform; (6) consistency of the penalty with those imposed on others for similar offenses; (7) consistency of the penalty with applicable table of penalties; the notoriety of the offense; (9) the clarity with which the employee was on notice of the rules violated; (10) potential for the employee's rehabilitation; (11) whether mitigating circumstances surrounding the offenses exist; and (12) the adequacy of alternative sanctions.

Mr. Hoffman provided written notice that Ms. Chambers would be removed from her position as Chief, United States Park Police, effective July 10, 2004. She has been on administrative leave with pay since December.

Ms. Chambers now has the opportunity to have this decision reviewed in the forum of her choice.

It is the policy of the Department of the Interior not to comment publicly on personnel actions other than to report the status and process of decisions.

The United States Park Police is now being led by Acting Chief Dwight Pettiford. In the past few months, the Park Police has, under Chief Pettiford's direction, well managed a number of high visibility events involving hundreds of thousands of people including President Reagan's funeral, the opening of the World War II Memorial, and the July 4th Independence Day festivities.



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