A high-profile whistleblower scored a crucial victory yesterday in her fight against the federal government, the focus of a CIR/Salon.com feature last November. Teresa Chambers—who was fired as Chief of the U.S. Park Police in 2004—prevailed in a petition she had filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Chambers claimed in her petition that public comments she made about dwindling budgets and increasing crime in the nation’s parks—and her subsequent firing for making those comments—amounted to protected speech under the Whistleblower Protection Act. The Federal Circuit Court yesterday agreed, in a 2-1 decision, that Chambers’ comments were a “substantial and specific danger to public health and safety,” and that a lower court initially ruled incorrectly. The Appeals Court remanded Chambers’ case back to the lower court to reconsider its decision.
The Appeals Court, however, sustained other charges of misconduct made against Chambers.
Chambers, for her part, is not waiting around. She recently took a job a Police Chief of the Riverdale Park department in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
“It could be years before the [lower court] renders its new decision,” Chambers said in response to the recent decision. “In the meantime, I’m very happy in my new position.”