Joe Carson is a professional engineer (PE) employed as a nuclear safety engineer with the Department of Energy (DOE). He is also a prominent whistleblower, who has possibly prevailed in more whistleblower-related litigation than anyone in the history of federal civil service.(1)
He recently created a formal petition on the White House web site in an effort to persuade the president to ensure that existing laws to protect concerned federal employees from reprisal are being properly interpreted and applied.
For almost 20 years, Carson has worked tirelessly to defend his “right” to do his duty to protect others from unsafe and unhealthy conditions in the DOE. He played a positive role in the passage of the Energy Employee Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 by which over 80,000 disabled, diseased or prematurely deceased DOE workers (or their survivors) have received over eight billion dollars in compensation.(2) His disclosures about significant and persistent deficiencies in the DOE's Accident Investigation Program led to its complete revamping.(3)
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Mr. Carson asserts there is a 33-year “broken covenant” among the president, the head of the executive branch and the federal civil service, in violation of the fundamental objective of the Federal Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) – to ensure members of the federal civil service are adequately protected from reprisal and other types of prohibited personnel practices (PPPs), so they can perform their sworn duties in a trustworthy manner, per the merit system principles.(4)(5) (The Merit Systems Protection Board recently published a “special study” describing the various types of PPPs and the importance of federal employees perceiving themselves protected from them – without determining whether they are protected from them!)
According to Carson, the president is unable to comply with his duty to ensure members of the federal civil service are adequately protected from reprisal and other types of PPPs because of 33 years of misinterpretations of three key, intertwined, civil service laws – 5 USC sections 1204(a0(3), 1214(e), and 2302(c).
To resolve his well-evidenced and far-reaching concerns, Carson has initiated a petition on the White House web site calling for President Obama to task the attorney general, via the Office of Legal Counsel, to review these laws.
A highly regarded lawyer, Loring Justice, recently completed an independent review of the claims of law and fact underlying the broken covenant and found them all reasonable and some compelling. He agreed that obtaining a review by the Office of Legal Counsel would be an appropriate way to resolve them.
- The claims of the broken covenant and their basis in fact and law – are described in eye-glazing civil service law detail in this recent letter to the Chairman of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board about its draft strategic plan for fiscal years 2012-2016 and a letter to the Secretary Steven Chu of the DOE.
Concerned federal employees who “blow the whistle” are frequently in the news: Recently troubling details have emerged concerning the treatment and handling of deceased service members' bodies in the US military's Port Mortuary at Dover, Delaware, which is run by the Air Force. The Mortuary's disrespectful behavior was revealed by four whistleblowers, some of whom are facing retaliatory actions by the Air Force. Details are here.
Carson's petition needs 25,000 signatures to warrant a formal review by the White House. Please support it. If his concerns are substantiated, it is (even if also disturbing) “GOOD NEWS” for America in that: 1) a previously unidentified factor in much that has befallen America in the past 33 years is exposed, and 2) is readily correctable.
1. See www.carsonversusdoe.com