Teresa Chambers, fired as U.S. Park Police chief in 2004, has been ordered reinstated to the position and will earn more than six years of back pay, reports Federal News Radio sister station WTOP.
The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) ruling found the evidence against Chambers weak, and concluded the Interior Department retaliated against her.
Chambers was fired in 2004 after speaking to WTOP and other media outlets about her understaffed department — saying she had been forced to cut back on patrols across the area because her officers were required to guard national monuments. She also talked about budget shortfalls.
In 2004, the National Park Service’s deputy director, Don Murphy, said Chambers’ comments broke two federal rules, one against public comment about ongoing budget discussions, the other prohibiting lobbying by someone in Chambers’ position.
“I look forward to getting the call from the (Department of the) Interior and figuring out how this happens, but the way we read the opinion, I should be back on the job within 20 days,” Chambers said in an interview.
Chambers’ lawyer says Interior can appeal back to the federal court, but it’s unclear whether that will happen.