Below is an account of some of the circumstances leading to my appeals and lawsuits. Specific documents I sent to you are relevant to the individual paragraphs in this account. I hope that this sufficiently explains the situation.
The text is written in the third person for presentation on the Internet without an author’s name. I do not believe that there is any statement made about any specific person in this account that is not supported by one of the official documents in the MSPB or court record.
It took me some time to prepare this, and it is lengthy. It may be best to break it up, placing each section with the relevant documents on the website.
Depravation of Civil Rights for Service in the Vietnam War
Summary of the case of Dr. Charles W. Heckman
After the Vietnam War, the United States Government, aided by the mainstream press, set about vindicating itself for its incredible mismanagement of the Vietnam War by placing the blame on the veterans. To do this effectively, veterans had to be completely excluded from any positions of influence or responsibility, including faculty posts at universities, journalist positions with the news and electronic media, and supervisory positions in the civil service. In this way, the testimony of persons who had actually been in Vietnam during the war could be suppressed.
From 35 years of experience fighting against the “McCarthy Era-like” blacklisting of veterans, Dr. Heckman has come to realize that there are degrees of discrimination depending upon what the veteran did during the war. Legal preference is an entitlement of all Vietnam Era veterans, but it is denied more frequently to veterans who actually served in Vietnam. Among those veterans who served in Vietnam, discrimination is most severe against those who served in combat. Therefore, the considerable amount of combat Dr. Heckman experienced during the war is sufficient to explain the great cost and effort by the civil service and its contractors to keep him from ever finding gainful employment in the United States.
Service defending the United States as grounds for resentment
Upon graduation from Manhattan College in 1963, Dr. Heckman was commissioned in the United States Air Force. As a distinguished graduate of the AFROTC program, he was awarded a regular rather than a reserve commission. After completing pilot training, he was assigned to fly the C-130 transport from a base on Okinawa. From April 1965 through October 1966, he flew missions in Southeast Asia, ferrying troops and supplies to bases in Vietnam and Thailand, dropping leaflets over North Vietnam, and flying flare-drop missions in support of air strikes over the southern part of North Vietnam and eastern Laos. From December 1966 through November 1968, he flew as a forward air controller in various parts of the I and II Corps regions of South Vietnam as well as over the southern part of North Vietnam and the Ho Chi Minh Trail in eastern Laos. Dr. Heckman extended his tour of duty twice and received his honorable discharge from the Air Force on the day he returned to the United States. More than 1800 hours of his military flying was classified as combat time. In a country that has singled out its veterans as scapegoats for a politically and militarily mismanaged war, Dr. Heckman’s combat service made him a prime target for reprisal. As three different New York State employment specialists told him during the 1970s and 1980s, every selection committee for scientific and academic positions, for which Dr. Heckman is best qualified, can be expected to include at least one person who dodged the draft during the Vietnam War and would feel uncomfortable working with a veteran.
While Dr. Heckman’s employment problems in the United States are far from unique among veterans, they are especially easy to document because of his particularly good qualifications for employment. In 1969, he took the Graduate Record Examination and scored in the upper 1% of American college graduates and graduating seniors seeking admission to graduate school. His three scores placed him between the 98th and 99th percentile level in verbal ability, the 96th percentile level in quantitative ability, and above the 99th percentile level in biology achievement. His grade point average while studying for his Master of Science degree was 3.92/4.00, and his dissertation on rice field ecology in Laos was published in an international scientific journal. After being confronted with the severe limitations on his educational opportunities in the United States because of his Air Force service in the war, Dr. Heckman pursued his doctoral studies in Germany, where he received the grade of 1 (=A) in all of his examinations and for his dissertation, which was based of research conducted in the Mekong Valley of Thailand and published as a book. After he completed his doctoral studies, he was immediately offered a contact for post-doctoral research. The results of his work in Germany from 1978 through 1990 were reported in 34 scientific publications in refereed journals, five of them of monograph length, and four major reports submitted to environmental agencies, as well as a video presentation produced for the Hamburg Environmental Authority. The results were also presented at international scientific conferences in Europe, Asia, and South America.
In 1990, the Max-Planck-Institut für Limnology offered Dr. Heckman a four year contract to lead the limnological research in a joint German-Brazilian research project in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso. The Pantanal is a vast wetland along the upper Rio Paraguay near the geographical center of South America. More than 50 scientists worked in this project, including professors at the Federal University of Mato Grosso in Cuiabá, doctoral candidates from Germany and Brazil, and college graduates performing sponsored research prior to beginning their graduate studies. The results of Dr. Heckman’s work are summarized in his book, The Pantanal of Poconé, published by Kluwer Scientific Publishers, as well as 17 other publications, most co-authored by German and Brazilian scientists, which appeared in refereed scientific journals or books. Dr. Heckman and members of his group were also well represented among the lecturers at German, Brazilian, and international conferences held during and after the project.
After the conclusion of the project in the Pantanal, Dr. Heckman was sent by the German Academic Exchange Service as an exchange scientist to the Fundação Centro Tecnológico de Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. His work at the laboratory in 1995 led to his being sent back again in 1996. Some of the results of this work have already been published.
Based on his extensive experience identifying aquatic plant and animal species in South America, Dr. Heckman has begun writing a book series to facilitate the identification of all aquatic insects known from that continent. The first two volumes, entitled Encyclopedia of South American Aquatic Insects: Collembola, and Encyclopedia of South American Aquatic Insects: Ephemeroptera, have already been published, and the third volume, Encyclopedia of South American Aquatic Insects: Plecoptera, is now in press. This series will enable scientists in South America to identify the species they encounter, which was previously virtually impossible for anyone, except for a small number of experts scattered at museums throughout the world.
Dr. Heckman also worked as a civilian airline captain in Laos and Cambodia during the final years of American involvement in the Vietnam War and holds an airline transport pilot and aircraft and powerplant mechanic’s licenses. The airlift in Cambodia is described in his book, The Phnom Penh Airlift, Confessions of a Pig Pilot, published in 1990 by McFarland. He has also made professional and commercial translations of German, Protuguese, Russian, and Dutch manuscripts into English and translated Portuguese manuscripts into German. If he were not a veteran of war service in the United States Air Force, he would certainly be considered an ideal employee in almost any field. During his working career beginning in 1964, Dr. Heckman has worked under the hardest conditions imaginable and has never been absent from his workplace because of sickness.
Discrimination in the United States
Missing form Dr. Heckman’s work history is any full-time employment in the United States, with one exception described below. It is obvious from U. S. Department of Labor statistics that veterans of the Vietnam Era are very poorly represented in academic careers. The treatment of Dr. Heckman’s job applications in the United States amply illustrates why this is true.
In 1969, Dr. Heckman was told by Dr. John Barlowe of the Department of Systematics and Ecology at Cornell University not to apply to the Graduate School after he heard that Dr. Heckman had just returned from Vietnam. Cornell had offered fellowships to graduate students whose Graduate Record Examination scores were more than 100 points lower than Dr. Heckman’s. Subsequently, Dr. Heckman was denied fair consideration for various Federal and State fellowship programs and scholarships. After he won a New York State Regents War Service scholarship by competitive examination, the State of New York illegally denied him an incentive award, which every student was entitled to, meaning that his war service scholarship did not gain him any more support that he would have received if he had not won any scholarship at all.
From 1978 through 1998, Dr. Heckman was turned down for many academic and civil service positions in the United States in favor of non-veterans with far poorer certifications based on their records of proven ability and achievement. At the same time, the Immigration and Naturalization Service was denying his wife America citizenship because he preferred working professionally in foreign countries to joining the growing army of unemployed and underemployed veterans in the United States. Although lawsuits he filed ended in a Federal judge forcing the Department of Justice to recommend his wife for citizenship after a six year court battle and gained him a small settlement from the State University of New York, Dr. Heckman was forced to conclude that the United States Government had specifically asked him to serve in armed conflicts against the communist bloc during the Cold War and then blacklisted him for life because he did.
Department of Agriculture discrimination
In 1997, Dr. Heckman applied for a vacancy as a research scientist in Alaska and was offered $20,000 to withdraw from the selection. He was told that if he did not accept the offer, the selection would be cancelled. As a preference veteran, he was blocking the list for a less qualified non-veteran that the agency wanted to hire. The offer was made by F. Stuart Chapin III, a professor recently hired by the University of Alaska from the University of California at Berkeley, where he had spent the Vietnam War with a draft deferment. Also making the offer was Tricia Wurtz, a Forest Service employee in a cooperative program with the university. The offer was later confirmed by Wurtz’s supervisor, Hermann Gucinski, who came to the United States as an economic refugee from Germany after World War II.
After Dr. Heckman obtained written proof that the offer had been made, he filed a complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which was forced to conclude that Wurtz and Gucinski had committed a “prohibited personnel practice.” The right of the Forest Service to hire new employees was suspended, and Dr. Heckman was offered a “settlement agreement,” which included an option for a job at Olympia, Washington, supposedly equivalent to the one in Alaska. Wurtz was suspended for one week without pay, and Gucinski was given a letter of reprimand. No consideration was given to the fact that Wurtz and Gucinski had attempted to commit grand larceny by misappropriating $20,000 from funds earmarked for equipment purchases or the fact that they had attempted bribery with a sum greater than $10,000. In addition to ignoring these felonies committed, the Special Counsel did not attempt to determine any knowledge and complicity in the bribe offer by Station Director Thomas Mills, Gucinski’s immediate supervisor. Mills is not a scientist but holds a PhD in forestry with a strong emphasis on economics. That a subordinate would have attempted to keep the misappropriation of $20,000 secret from a person with such strong qualifications in economics is scarcely credible.
Between the time Dr. Heckman began working at Olympia on May 24, 1998, and the arrival of the new program manager, Deanna Stouder, on August 10, 1998, his work progressed rapidly. He had submitted a manuscript on the encroachment of exotic plants into the Olympic National Forest for publication, and he was completing work on several other manuscripts. During the summer, he performed a considerable amount of field research in the western side of the Olympic Mountains at sites recommended by his supervisor, Peter Bisson. He also arranged to purchase equipment for his research, including a microscope and electronic analysis devises.
Reprisal for whistleblowing by the Forest Service
The Government Accountability Project (http://www.whistleblower.org ) displayed a list of procedures frequently used by Federal agencies to take reprisal against whistleblowers, and Station Director Mills followed these procedures very closely in taking reprisal against Dr. Heckman for reporting the $20,000 bribe offer designed to circumvent his veterans’ preference. Because no scientists had ever been fired by the Pacific Northwest Research Station, Mills hired Deanna Stouder from the Department of the Interior at Ohio State University, who had experience terminating a scientist. She could not begin her work until August 10, 1999, because of the hiring freeze that had been ordered by the Office of Personnel Management because of Dr. Heckman’s disclosure. As soon as she arrived, however, she cancelled all purchases of necessary equipment, prohibited Dr. Heckman from continuing to work overtime during the peak summer sampling season, refused to even allow him to record the hours he was actually working as uncompensated free time, and commanded his supervisor to give him four “assignments” that substantially changed his job description and working conditions and were different in nature from anything that had been given to any other scientists working at the laboratory. After his supervisor, Peter Bisson, gave him a fully satisfactory performance rating in February 1999, she spoke with Bisson for several hours behind closed doors and convinced him to change the rating to unsatisfactory. To justify the rating, Bisson wrote some unjustified negative comments about the first draft of one of the four “assignments” and alleged that they had been written by an anonymous expert on the subject. Inexplicably, the unsatisfactory rating was accompanied by a recommendation that Dr. Heckman be retained in his current job.
Redress through the agency grievance system
After receiving the unjustified rating of unsatisfactory, Dr. Heckman filed an informal agency grievance. This grievance enumerated all of the irregularities and inconsistencies in his treatment by Bisson and Stouder, stressing the fact that the unsatisfactory rating was given without any warning that anything about his performance had been deficient in any way and that a rating of unsatisfactory should be preceded by implementation of a performance improvement plan. It also mentioned the fact that Dr. Heckman was finding shortcomings in ongoing research by Forest Service grant recipients and recommending improvements, which could have been assumed to generate ill will and be the cause of further reprisal.
Dr. Heckman’s family had not yet relocated from Germany, and he had applied for his annual leave to visit them in March 1999. On the day before he was to leave, travelling on a low-cost, non-refundable air ticket, Peter Bisson informed him that he would not be permitted to take the leave because he had filed an agency grievance. Bisson and Stouder had also made him change his plans for travelling during the Christmas holidays at the last minute. Dr. Heckman asked for a written order of the cancellation since the leave had been approved in writing by Bisson two months earlier. Bisson then stated that he was not cancelling the leave, but he then sent Dr. Heckman a memo by e-mail stating that if he took the leave, he would probably be terminated.
After Dr. Heckman left for the leave, Deanna Stouder contacted him by e-mail informing him that she would take no further action on his grievance. Dr. Heckman immediately sent a formal grievance to Station Director Mills and followed it up a few days later with a large number of documents to support his complaints. From early April until June 16, Mills took no action whatsoever in response to Dr. Heckman’s grievance. On May 20, 1999, Dr. Heckman was terminated for “unsatisfactory performance,” although no evidence whatsoever was provided showing that any of his performance had been unsatisfactory. On June 16, Mills sent a long letter which addressed none of the issues raised in Dr. Heckman’s grievance but raised and discredited many bogus complaints that Dr. Heckman had not made in his grievance. He stated that unless Dr. Heckman renewed his request for an investigation, he would close the file. Dr. Heckman did insist that an investigation be made, and the grievance was assigned to an investigator, who turned it over to another investigator several months later. The grievance was finally dismissed in December 1999 without any investigation on the grounds that actions taken during the probationary year are not subject to review under the grievance system. The grievance system therefore turned out to be a farce, and the Department of Agriculture used the information filed with the grievance as a basis for preparing their defense in the appeal before the Merit System Protection Board. Reprisal for filing a grievance is strictly forbidden in theory, but in practice, reprisal, including dismissal, in response to justified grievances is commonplace, and no safeguards prevent it. The Merit System Protection Board is prohibited from considering agency grievances when adjudicating appeals. Many Constitutional lawyers also consider reprisal for grievances to be a violation of the First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances. Dr. Heckman, however, has come to believe that service in the Air Force or one of the other armed services during the Vietnam War effectively revoked all of the veterans’ Constitutional rights.
Supervisor Bisson stated that the main reason for rating Dr. Heckman’s performance as unsatisfactory and terminating him one day before the completion of his probationary year is that he “resisted” changing a report he had submitted as one of the four “assignments” he was given eight months earlier. The changes demanded involved “toning down” criticisms of a class of methods referred to as “rapid bioassessment.” Bisson was the person responsible for coordinating a study by a group from Utah State University designed to develop a new method of “rapid bioassessment,” which the Forest Service was supporting with grants totalling at least $208,000 during 1998 and 1999. The leader of the group, Professor Hawkins, had already included Peter Bisson as one of 11 authors of a 7 page publication in a fishing magazine that had been produced by his group. This kind of credit for publications is necessary to enhance Bisson’s own chances for promotion or retention.
“Rapid bioassessment” has been described as a “management tool” designed to permit surveys of streams by persons with little education and training. It is alleged that it well permit agencies to save money by employing personnel with little education and training to perform the environmental research required by law. Bureaucrats envision high school dropouts working for the minimum wage going rapidly from stream to stream, noting down a few easy to recognize features on a numerical scale and feeding the numbers into a computer, which assigns an index value between 0 and 5 to each stream. This index value is supposed to tell engineers exactly what they need to do about the stream to achieve unspecified goals. The method of calculation used by the computer is never revealed, and neither are most of the features used in the evaluation. About a dozen of these methods have been developed at great cost to the taxpayer over the past 15 years. The proponents of each methods typically publish comparative evaluations showing that their methods produce flawless results while all of the other methods are deficient in various ways. Not surprisingly, reputable scientific journals refuse to accept manuscripts on rapid bioassessment for publication, but the proponents of these methods have one journal of their own that publishes virtually all of these manuscripts. This journal is subscribed to by very few libraries.
On the first page of his grant application, Professor Hawkins stated that the methods of rapid bioassessment already developed are not satisfactory. The application was deemed convincing enough by the Forest Service to justify providing Hawkins with a total of at least $208,000 for projects during two summers to develop an entirely new method based on the English RivPac system. After Bisson gave him a copy of the methods being used by Hawkins’s group, Dr, Heckman wrote a short report with recommendations for changes. First, a preservative was being used that causes damage to most organisms sampled, making it impossible to identify the specimens later on. Second, this preservative is extremely toxic and thought to cause cancer, endangering the health of the participants in the project. Third, no physical or chemical analyses of the water are completed, so differences in the water quality cannot be determined. Fourth, the sampling methods fail to take seasonal and geographical differences into account. Finally, the results provide no data that permit the Forest Service to meet the statutory requirements of the Northwest Forest Plan, and particularly the Endangered Species, Clean Water, and National Environmental Policy Acts.
These criticisms of a project Bisson was personally responsible for coordinating led to Bisson’s recommendation that Dr. Heckman write a report on effective methods for performing field studies of streams. On September 23, 1998, Bisson demanded two reports, each containing specific portions of the original report but written toward fulfilling completely different goals. One of these reports concerned an evaluation of “rapid bioassessment” methods. This report showed that the RivPac system in England depends upon information from a survey performed to determine all species inhabiting the English streams and rivers, which cost the equivalent of several hundred million dollars to complete. Given the fact that the Pacific Northwest is about 2½ times the size of England, it can be concluded that the preliminary examination to facilitate Hawkins’s method would cost roughly a billion dollars. How he intended to implement a RivPac system without this basic survey was never stated. The conclusion that any reasonable person would make with this information is that the Forest Service would be throwing away money on a junk science project if it were not ready to first come up with a billion dollars to perform the initial survey. At the hearing before the Merit System Protection Board in January 2000, Bisson testified that Hawkins had still not delivered any reports on the results of his project. In the meantime, in August 1999, the United Stated District Court for the Western District of Washington had cancelled at least nine timber sales due to the failure of the Forest Service to perform the research required by the Northwest Forest Plan, citing many of the same objections to the research being performed that had been highlighted in the report Dr. Heckman had ostensibly been fired for submitting. Reluctantly, the administrative law judge of the MSPB had to admit that the disclosures about these methods in Dr. Heckman’s report were a second set of disclosures protected by the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act.
The MSPB did not recognize other disclosures as protected, although any reasonable person would have to consider them to be protected. One of these was an evaluation of an electric fishing method that Bisson himself was using to survey the fishes in streams on the Olympic Peninsula. One of Dr. Heckman’s assigned reports showed that these methods had been found unreliable for such surveys by the early 1960s. It also cited a report published in 1998 showing that these methods can decimate populations of rare or endangered species. Obviously, Bisson’s use of his share of a $130,000 grant for this survey was a gross waste of funds, and its use in streams that Bisson admitted was inhabited by endangered species was a criminal violation of the Endangered Species Act.
Help from the U. S. Office of Special Counsel
At the time the investigator for the U. S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) recommended that Dr. Heckman accept the employment offer at Olympia, Dr. Heckman asked him whether the agency would just take the opportunity to take reprisal against him for revealing the $20,000 bribe offer. He said that Dr. Heckman should have more trust in the good faith of Station Director Mills, but promised that if any reprisal was attempted, the OSC would take further action. The Forest Service gave Dr. Heckman no performance report until a few weeks after the OSC issued a letter announcing that the file on Dr. Heckman’s disclosure had been closed. It took no action at all on the complaint of reprisal that Dr. Heckman filed a few days after he received the unsatisfactory rating or on the complaint about the attempted cancellation of his previously approved leave. It finally proposed taking no action about his termination until it received several Congressional inquiries. It then announced that it would investigate Dr. Heckman’s complaints, but that the OSC could not begin the investigation for at least seven months, during which Dr. Heckman should remain without employment. This gave Dr. Heckman the option of taking his complaint directly to the Merit System Protection Board, which should have provided him a favorable decision within 120 days.
The Merit System Protection Board’s protection of veterans and whistleblowers
In hindsight, Dr. Heckman’s appeal to the Merit System Protection Board (MSPB) was a waste of time and money, although it did provide a record of the facts and documents pertinent to the case. Since 1994, the MSPB has had jurisdiction over appeals filed under the Uniformed Services Employment and
Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), and since 1998, it has had jurisdiction under the Veterans’ Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA). However, it has never rendered a decision in favor of a veteran in any appeal. Furthermore, whistleblowers lose almost every appeal, as well. The dereliction of duty typical of the MSPB is shown by the fact that two of the four whistleblowers reinstated by the MSPB since 1989 were simply fired again by the agency after they returned, and the MSPB refused to reinstate them a second time. Decisions by the MSPB can be appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. According to Congressional testimony, this court is noted for being more favorable to Federal agencies than any of the other courts of appeals in the United States. According to one report, since the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act was passed in 1989, the Court of Appeals has rendered 70 decisions in favor of agencies and 0 decisions in favor of whistleblowers.
The MSPB is supposed to render a decision in each appeal within 120 days. The first appeal was filed by Dr. Heckman in June, 1999, and the hearing was completed in January, 2000. During this period, the appeal had been dismissed without prejudice and refiled twice to keep the administrative law judge from exceeding the 120 day limit. The initial decision was rendered in May 2001, about 23 months after the appeal was filed. A petition for review of the initial decision was submitted within 60 days, and in August 2002, the MSPB issued a refusal to review the decision justified by one sentence. The decision has been appealed to the United States Court of Appeals. The 120 day limit was stretched to a total of 38 months, and the decision is fraught with errors of law and fact. Ironically, the administrative law judge who rendered the initial decision, Sidney Farcy, placed much emphasis on alleged but unsubstantiated tardiness in completing assignments during a period of only eight months. Under this test, his own 19 month delay in rendering his decision would clearly make his own performance unsatisfactory enough to warrant his own removal from the Federal service.
Discrepancies in Sidney Farcy’s initial decision
The initial decision by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), Sidney Farcy, was a long, rambling collage of unrelated facts that failed to distinguish material from immaterial evidence and misstated both the law and the facts to reach the decision preordained by the prejudices within the Federal civil service. The thought processes evident in the decision defy all logic.
From the initial decision, it is clear that the MSPB had jurisdiction over Dr. Heckman’s appeal under USERRA, the VEOA, and the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act. Whether it would otherwise have jurisdiction is disputed and depends upon whether or not Dr. Heckman had completed the probationary year. Although Dr. Heckman had completed all of the working time required for his last pay period and was officially on unpaid overtime on the day he was terminated, the ruling by Judge Farcy that the year had not been completed is not further challenged for the sake of argument. We can accept Farcy’s ruling that Dr. Heckman made two disclosures protected by the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act and that under these circumstances, the Forest Service has the burden of providing “clear and convincing evidence” that there was reason to terminate Dr. Heckman anyway, even if he had not made the disclosures. Under the veterans’ laws, the agency also has the burden of proof, but it must prove its case only by a preponderance of evidence, a lower standard of proof. Legally, clear and convincing evidence is the highest burden of proof in civil cases, equivalent to the burden on a prosecutor attempting to have the court impose a death sentence in a criminal case.
Aside from his findings that Dr. Heckman’s reports of the $20,000 bribe offer to rig the selection and the gross waste of funds used for the “rapid bioassessment” project are disclosures protected under the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act and that the U. S. Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture had to provide clear and convincing evidence that Dr. Heckman would have been terminated for other reasons, almost every detail in ALJ Farcy’s decision was an error of law or fact. Some of the most glaring errors include the following:
1. While giving lip service to the need of the Forest Service to provide clear and convincing evidence to support its allegations, he assumed in his ruling that no evidence is required other than an unsupported allegation to justify a dismissal during the probationary year.
2. He correctly stated that after a protected disclosure is made, the agency must show that there was an “other” reason for taking action against the whistleblower, but he clearly expressed the opinion that the “other” reason could be a dislike of the protected disclosure by supervisory personnel and the “resistance” of the whistleblower against retracting his disclosure and thereby falsifying his reports. In other words, he ruled that the protected disclosure and the “other” reason for termination could be one and the same.
3. He stated that scientific research must conform to “budgetary and political realities,” which in the context of the appeal means that he believes that a scientist working for a Federal agency must be ready to falsify his scientific results if called upon to do so by his supervisor to show “teamwork.”
4. He deemed the testimony of only one Forest Service witness to be sufficient to constitute clear and convincing evidence, even though that witness denied having the capability of testifying as an expert on the scientific matters at issue. All evidence to support the case of the Forest Service came from only three witnesses. None claimed the status of an expert witness. Of these, Station Director Mills and Program Manager Stouder alleged that all of their testimony on issues of fact was based on hearsay, mainly from Peter Bisson. Bisson was the only witness who claimed to have first hand information to present. Furthermore, the testimonies of both Stouder and Bisson were shown during cross examination to have included perjury on several points. In spite of this, ALJ Farcy assumed that the impeached testimony of Bisson alone and thearsay from two others quoting the first was sufficient to meet the “clear and convincing” burden prescribed by law.
5. In addition to the dislike by agency personnel of the protected disclosures, ALJ Farcy chose progress on a salmon carcass study as an additional “proof” of the alleged unsatisfactory progress by Dr. Heckman, even though this particular assignment was not supposed to begin until the autumn of 1999, about six months after Dr. Heckman was terminated. He further stated that an example of the unsatisfactory progress on this project is demonstrated by the fact that Dr. Heckman had prepared a proposal to conduct this project together with Ron Plotnikoff of the Washington State Department of Ecology but had not made any proposal to perform this project in Alaska, as well. This ruling was contradicted during the hearing by the lengthy testimony of Mark Wipfli, which affirmed that Dr. Heckman had concluded an agreement with him to perform the necessary sampling in Alaska. This agreement was also acknowledged by Peter Bisson, which is why the Forest Service had never made the allegation of a lack of an Alaska component in the future project. It was first improperly raised by the ALJ in his decision. This was just one of many cases of ALJ Farcy acting as counsel for the Forest Service when the agency’s arguments were insufficient to support its case.
6. ALJ Farcy uncritically accepted all statements made by the three Forest Service witnesses, concluding that Dr. Heckman’s performance was unsatisfactory exclusively on the say-so of one of these witnesses. Unsatisfactory performance is precisely defined in Federal regulations, yet no reference was made to the violations of the fundamental requirements necessary to demonstrate that an employee’s performance has not been satisfactory.
7. The analysis under veterans’ laws requires only that the veteran show he was treated differently from other employees doing approximately the same jobs. ALJ Farcy ruled that there are no other employees doing the exactly same job as Dr. Heckman, so he refused to make the analysis and concluded that there was no proof that the Forest Service personnel wished to discriminate against veterans. In fact, the Department of Agriculture employs thousands of scientists, many doing the same kind of job as that described in Dr. Heckman’s settlement agreement. The wish to discriminate against veterans is amply demonstrated by the fact that two senior Forest Service scientists were prepared to misappropriate $20,000 to pay a bribe in order to prevent a veteran from being hired. The Forest Service produced no evidence at all that its personnel had had a change of heart. As under the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act, the burden of proof under the veterans’ laws should have been on the agency.
8. ALJ Farcy totally ignored the fact that the four “assignments” described on September 23, 1998, completely changed the duties of Dr. Heckman, which itself is a prohibited form of reprisal. Farcy justified this by implying that Bisson had planned to give such assignments but neglected to put it in the settlement agreement or tell Dr. Heckman. This ridiculous ruling means that employees can be bound to work according to “secret plans” known only to their supervisors.
9. The safeguards of the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act were introduced by Congress because supervisors typically resent disclosures that bring them into discredit. During his testimony, Station Director Mills admitted that he had had to answer to the Chief of the Forest Service and the Secretary of Agriculture and been discredited in their eyes because of Dr. Heckman’s disclosures. ALJ Farcy improperly ruled that because of this, Dr. Mills was especially motivated to see to it that Dr. Heckman would succeed in his new job.
10. The initial decision mentions that Dr. Heckman had also applied for a vacancy at LaGrande, Oregon, and because of his veterans’ preference, the job could not be filled from the ordinary list without offering the job to Dr. Heckman. He admitted that Station Director Mills did not want to hire Dr. Heckman and waited to fill the vacancy until he could find a Forest Service employee to accept the position from an internal agency list on which Dr. Heckman’s could did not appear. ALJ Farcy saw nothing objectionable in the explanation that Dr. Mills did not want the position filled by someone he did not know. This, of course, violates the purpose of having an open selection since it excludes everyone who applies, except for personal friends of Mills. The ALJ failed to recognize the fact that appointment of friends instead of more qualified outside applicants to public positions is corruption.
Errors of material fact made by ALJ Farcy
Some of the most obvious errors in the initial decision concern the application of the term “unsatisfactory performance” to Dr. Heckman’s record. A few of the more prominent of these errors are illustrated by the following examples:
1. Before evaluating the performance of any Federal employee, regulations require that his supervisors provide him with a copy of his performance standards and explain how these standards are applied to his work. ALJ Farcy admitted that there was no evidence that Dr. Heckman had ever been given a copy of the performance standards. After being given his first unsatisfactory performance report less than three months before his termination, Dr. Heckman demanded and was promised a meeting with a personnel specialist by Supervisor Bisson. This meeting was never held because Program Manager Stouder objected and prevented Bisson from arranging it. Nevertheless, ALJ Farcy justified this by falsely implying that a person is not entitled to know his performance standards during the probationary year.
2. Dr. Heckman showed that the timely completion of his assignments required him to work more than 60 hours per week without compensation and without even being permitted to log the time on his records as free time. He further showed that this had been brought to the attention of the agency by the grievance he filed at the beginning of March, 1999, and that nothing was done to correct the situation. Nevertheless, ALJ Farcy justified this by stating that as an “exempt” employee, Dr. Heckman was required to work as many overtime hours as demanded of him without compensation. He ignored the fact that such a requirement violates both Federal statutes and regulations.
3. ALJ Farcy further justified Dr. Heckman’s termination on the grounds that he had not “completed” his assignments, even though the evidence clearly showed that two of the four could not possibly have been completed because one was not scheduled to begin until about six months after Dr. Heckman was terminated, and the other required knowledge of a plan for thinning the forest in the Colville National Forest which would not be decided upon sooner than one to two years after Dr. Heckman’s termination. The other two assignments were submitted, and both of them were evaluated positively by all expert reviewers to whom they were sent. Both of them was sent by Dr. Heckman by one reviewer, and one of them was also sent by Bisson to two additional referees. The highly positive evaluations are in the appeal file and were not contested by any of the Forest Service witnesses, who denied being able to speak as experts on the subjects of the reports. There were no bad reviews of these two completed reports, although Bisson, Stouder, and Mills testified that they were not satisfied with them because they planned to use a method of “rapid bioassessment” whether or not the method could be shown to be satisfactory. Their testimony further revealed that Stouder had not read either report, and none of the three had read one of the reports. Furthermore, the reports demonstrated that Station Director Mills was wasting at least $250,000 on junk science projects being conducted by Bisson and his friends, and one of the reports had already been acknowledged by Farcy to be a disclosure protected under the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act.
4. One of the most absurd descriptions of events was ALJ Farcy’s explanation of why he believed that Dr. Heckman had been given the four assignments in writing on September 23, 1998. He stated or implied that Supervisor Bisson had suggested that Dr. Heckman do some research on the western side of the Olympic Mountains and that Dr. Heckman had produced a manuscript for publication from that work. He opined that these suggestions did not constitute assignments and that Program Manager Stouder became concerned in late August or early September that this work was taking Dr. Heckman’s time away from his assignments. For that reason, Bisson was instructed to provide a detailed description of his assignments, which he did on September 23. It did not seem to occur to Farcy that since Dr. Heckman had admittedly not been given any “assignments” until September 23, Stouder could not have become concerned in late August or early September that Bisson’s suggested work could be taking time away from “assignments” that were not given until several weeks later. He further failed to note that the manuscript describing the results of work on the Olympic Peninsula had been submitted for publication by the end of July and had to await the arrival of Stouder, who began working at Olympia on or about August 10, 1998, for approval as a Forest Service publication. A piece of work cannot be taking time from other work after it is completed and submitted. Finally, Farcy failed to explain why Bisson had suggested work that he did not want done.
5. Although records and testimony showed clearly that Stouder had not been hired by the Forest Service until about August 10, 1998, ALJ Farcy persisted in alleging that she became the program director in early June of 1998 because she had made a one or two day visit to Olympia at that time.
6. Because Dr. Heckman testified that he had been permitted to use a demonstration microscope by a salesman for about a week in July, 1998, ALJ Farcy concluded that he had a suitable microscope available to him in late November, 1998, to examine insects on salmon carcasses in the field.
7. ALJ Farcy, acting as a self-designated expert witness, ruled that Dr. Heckman’s disclosure of formalin being dangerous to the students using it and the general public was not protected, in part, because it might be the ethanol rather than the formaldehyde that presents the danger to the users. Webster’s dictionary, as well as any comprehensive book on chemistry, shows that formalin contains no ethanol. It is also general knowledge that ethanol is used in many beverages, and large amounts are consumed by the American public each year. In contrast, formaldehyde is embalming fluid and instantly toxic to all common forms of life.
8. Again acting as an expert witness, ALJ Farcy concluded that Dr. Heckman had failed to show that the formalin was being used in a dangerous way by the students in the forest. However, the applicable section of the Federal manual on toxic substances, which was submitted as evidence, clearly states that formalin may not be used without a glove box, exhaust fan, emergency shower, nearby first aid clinic, and access to medical care, none of which are available in the forest.
9. In one part of the decision, ALJ Farcy opines that the job of a scientist in the Forest Service is to obtain a consensus among many different people with disparate viewpoints. Elsewhere, he stated that his supervisor called Dr. Heckman’s performance unsatisfactory for the GS-14 level because the completion of one grant proposal required many telephone calls, e-mail messages, and changes to drafts of the proposal in response to suggestions made by various participants. From these comments, anyone reading the decision would have to conclude that Dr. Heckman should have rapidly obtained a consensus among persons located all over the States of Washington and Oregon and elsewhere as far east as Indiana without using a telephone or e-mail and without making any changes in his draft of the proposal in response to requests from these persons.
10. ALJ Farcy concurred with Deanna Stouder that seven manuscripts completed and submitted for publication between late July and early December 1998 were not of interest to the Forest Service. He ignored the evidence that Stouder had signed submission forms for all seven manuscripts, indicating that they were to be official Forest Service publications, and that after publication, they were included in the lists of publication by the Pacific Northwest Research Station. Finally, Stouder was asked whether the Northwest Forest Plan was an important factor in deciding whether research was of interest to the Forest Service. Contradicting Bissons’s opinion, she stated that it was not. She alleged that the research of interest to the Forest Service was whatever the senior personnel decided among themselves was of interest.
11. The second assignment, which was submitted as a 224 page manuscript with citations of 243 publications, was repeatedly confused in the initial decision with a short sampling plan requested by Bisson in late February 1999. A scientist at the laboratory in Olympia, Dr. Martin Raphael, was asked to review the first draft of the sampling plan and make suggestions. Because he did, his response was continually cited by Bisson and ALJ Farcy as proof that the second assignment was unsatisfactory, even though Dr. Raphael never saw the second assignment and, furthermore, provided a statement under oath that his response in no way suggested that the draft of the short sampling plan was unsatisfactory.
Why the decisions were made
It would be possible to extend the lists of errors in the initial decision by ALJ Farcy to a book length report. However, even the examples given here are sufficient for any reasonable person to conclude that ALJ Farcy made the decision that was expected of him because the MSPB sees as its purpose of existence the defense of the Federal civil service against laws that are generally unpopular with Federal supervisory personnel, such as the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act and veterans’ preference laws. The MSPB has never ruled in favor of a veteran, and rulings in favor or whisleblowers are extremely rare.
Dr. Heckman’s petition for review of the initial decision was prepared pro bono by lawyers for the organization, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The petition clearly showed that the initial decision was rife with errors of law and fact. The MSPB was faced with the duty of supporting the dismissal of Dr. Heckman for purely political reasons without any legal grounds for doing so. The two administrative law judges, Susanne Marshall and Beth Slavet, did the only thing that they could do to fulfill their perceived political duty. They had to refuse to review the decision without making any comment other than one sentence alleging that ALJ Farcy had not been shown to have made any errors in law.
More than three years after Dr. Heckman was terminated, Mr. Steve Nelson of the MSPB spoke before a group from the American Legion about the enforcement of the veterans’ laws. He was asked by a legionnaire whether the MSPB had ever ruled in favor of a veteran. Tacitly admitting that it had not, Mr. Nelson alleged that veterans were helped in other ways. He then cited two cases of veterans receiving favorable settlements, and Dr. Heckman’s case was mentioned as one of them.
Other reprisal by the Forest Service
Knowing that the appeal process can take years or even decades, Dr. Heckman began seeking work elsewhere. He was turned down for more than 12 announced vacancies in his field by agencies of the State of Washington. The persons selected in every case were non-veterans already employed by the agencies or previously employed in agency projects on a contract basis. Although the positions were Federally funded and most required an experiences scientist, only one of the persons hired had earned a master’s degree and none had earned a PhD or equivalent. None had as much experience in the field as Dr. Heckman, indicating that the agencies were violating a Washington law requiring that veterans of the Vietnam Era be given preference in public employment.
During discovery in a lawsuit filed by Dr. Heckman, affidavits were obtained showing that Forest Service Program Manager Deanna Stouder had given derogatory information about Dr. Heckman to a state agency selection committee chairman sufficient to prevent Dr. Heckman from being hired. This release of public records by a Federal agent without the knowledge or permission of the person concerned is a criminal violation of the Privacy Act, and the release of information to hurt the chances of someone finding employment is a criminal violation of the Washington State anti-blacklisting statute.
The special efforts of the Forest Service to see to it that Dr. Heckman never works in the United States again have already prevented Dr. Heckman from earning even a cent from American sources for more than four years. Dr. Heckman has been able to earn less than $2000 each year, and this money comes exclusively from European publishing companies, which occasionally send Dr. Heckman documents to edit or translate. If a communist were subjected to this kind of blacklisting, Dr. Heckman believes that the newspapers would be howling about McCarthyism, and the American Civil Liberty Union would have taken over the communist’s legal defense. However, this kind of discrimination in reprisal for combat service in the Vietnam War seems to be acceptable in America.
The lawsuit against the Washington State Departments of Ecology and Fish and Wildlife
The lawsuit against the Washington agencies was filed in the Superior Court of Thurston County, where Judge Richard Strophy granted the agencies summary judgement. This decision has been appealed. Dr. Heckman’s lawsuit is one of four filed recently by veterans, whose rights to veterans’ preference have been violated by agencies of the State of Washington. While Attorney General Christine Gregoire has been responsible for having a dangerous sex offender released because her office allegedly lacked the legal resources to file formal charges within the required period of time, she has found more than $185,000 in financial resources to block the legitimate claims of the veterans to their earned preference in public employment. Within two days the sex offender had attacked another woman. The priorities of Attorney General Gregoire are clear: keep Vietnam War veterans from working first, then prosecute dangerous criminals if enough time and money are left.
The decision in the lawsuit Mitchell v. Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, 109 Wn. App. 88, 34 P. 3d 267 (2002), the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division I, in Seattle declared the Washington veterans’ preference statute to be unconstitutional whenever the veteran is not “substantially equally” qualified to the preferred non-veteran. This decision violates the precedent set by a decision made in 1955, which affirmed that the statute is always constitutional, even if the veteran is deemed not to be as qualified as the non-veteran the agency wishes to hire. In 1955, the judges recognized the fact that an agency hostile to veterans can deceptively manipulate the job descriptions to make it seem that a less qualified non-veteran is more qualified than a veteran.
Although the Washington State Employment Security Division receives nearly $4 million per year from the United States Department of Labor to provide special employment services to veterans, its statistics show that veterans do not have a significantly better chance of being placed in a job than anybody else. Attorney General Gregoire takes her money for legal action to prevent veterans from finding employment from the “revolving fund,” which could well mean that some of this money is taken directly from the Federal grants to give veterans special employment services and used to protect agencies seeking to discriminate against veterans.
The circumstances of the lawsuit would leave little doubt that a jury would decide in favor of Dr. Heckman. For that reason, Judge Strophy saw that his only chance to protect the agencies from being publicly embarrassed for discriminating against veterans was depriving Dr. Heckman of his right under the United States Constitution and Constitution of the State of Washington to a trial by jury. These are the facts:
1. Dr, Heckman applied for and was denied at least 12 jobs by the Departments of Ecology and Fish and Wildlife, varying from assistant director to entry level specialist. All of the jobs demanded competence in Dr. Heckman’s field.
2. Dr. Heckman placement scores were uniformly 100% without any veterans’ preference points, and his scores on a number of specific examinations for the vacancies were 100%. Except in two cases, his scores were better or substantially equal to those of the non-veteran hired, and in two cases, there is strong evidence that the scoring was rigged to favor pre-selected agency employees.
3. None of the persons hired had earned a doctoral degree.
4. Only one of the 12 applicants hired had earned a master’s degree.
5. Most of the jobs required scientific or technical competence usually possessed only by an applicant with a doctoral degree and considerable post-doctoral experience. The agencies justified hiring persons with substandard qualifications by crediting their own employees with the equivalent of a master’s degree after only one year of employment by the state at a level of responsibility not required a master’s degree and crediting them with the competence of a PhD after two years of work for the agency at a level not even requiring a master’s degree. That means that performing a routine job at the Department of Ecology for two years is considered to be the equivalent of more than five years of full-time university graduate study with numerous examinations and the requirement of producing a publishable scientific dissertation. Applying this logic, a state hospital could hire a high school drop-out as janitor and after five years advance him to Chief of Brain Surgery without requiring him to set foot in a university or medical school.
6. Only 1 of the 12 applicants had served on active duty in one of the armed forces, and the two years of peacetime service did not entitle that one to veterans’ preference at the time of the selection.
7. Only 1 of the 12 applicants hired had ever co-authored a scientific publication, and his four or five publications compare very unfavorably to the more than 70 publications authored or co-authored by Dr. Heckman.
8. At least 11 and probably all 12 of the persons hired either worked directly for the agency or had worked for it on a contract basis. Washington law does not permit an agency to give preference to its own employees in determining qualifications and suitability for employment, but it does demand that veterans be given such preference.
9. All 12 positions were funded entirely or in part by Federal agencies, but the statutory requirement of providing special consideration to disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam Era was ignored before, during, and after the selections.
10. Dr. Heckman could well have demonstrated age discrimination to a jury, as well, considering the fact that none of the 12 successful applicants were initially hired by the agency at an age older than 40.
11. An affidavit provided by one selection committee chairman for the Department of Ecology affirmed that he had been told by a personnel chief not to hire Dr. Heckman without checking with her because Dr. Heckman had filed employment discrimination complaints. He also affirmed that he had used information given him by a person who identified herself as a U. S. Forest Service program manager named “Pam” to justify not selecting Dr. Heckman for the vacancy. Further inquiries by the United States Attorney confirmed that “Pam” was actually Deanna Stouder. Release of these personnel records by any means without Dr. Heckman’s permission is a criminal violation of the Federal Privacy Act and the Washington State anti-blacklisting statute. Dr. Heckman had listed five references who have known or worked with him for more than 20 years, but the Department of Ecology made no attempt to contact any of them.
12. Washington has a large veteran population. According to local availability, the Department of Personnel has determined that a minimum of 9.1% of the employees of each state agency should be Vietnam Era veterans. Fewer than 5.4% of the Washington Department of Ecology employees are veterans of the Vietnam Era. That means that this state agency employs less than 59% of minimum number of Vietnam Era veterans that it should. Any percentage less than 80% is regarded as statistically significant, creating a prima facie case for discrimination against such veterans. Furthermore, Dr. Heckman reviewed the DD-Forms 214 of the veterans employed by the Department of Ecology and found that the number of Vietnam Era veteran employees who actually served in Vietnam is significantly lower than the equivalent percentage for the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. He further found that only 2 of more than 1400 Department of Ecology employees actually served in combat units in Vietnam during the war.
13. Because the Department of Ecology had failed to provide any defense for the statistical evidence of its discrimination against veterans, especially veterans who had served in combat during the war, Judge Strophy supplied a defense in order to justify his summary judgement. He introduced the argument that the Department of Ecology would have trouble finding veteran qualified to work for it. Why veterans, per se, should be any less qualified than non-veterans to work for the Department of Ecology was not explained. Because this argument was first introduced while Judge Strophy was explaining his decision, there was no opportunity to refute it. Under Washington law, a judge so prejudiced against members of a protected class involved in litigation is obliged under Washington law to recuse himself from the lawsuit.
14. In its rebuttal to Dr. Heckman’s administrative complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and investigated by the Washington State Human Rights Commission, agents of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife provided wild allegations concerning material facts outlined in Dr. Heckman’s application material. Producing a false document of this kind is clearly a misdemeanor for a state employee under Washington law.
15. Information gained through the lawsuit revealed that the successful applicant for one vacancy had already been given the job on a temporary basis. Although his application showed only five years of total work experience and no special qualifications for the job, he was given an examination score of 97% while every other qualified applicant for the vacancy, including Dr. Heckman, was given the minimum passing score of 70%. The interview requirement was dispensed with because of the alleged superior qualifications of the pre-selected applicant.
16. In a selection for the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Dr. Heckman earned an examination score of 88%, which was the highest of the six qualified applicants. The applicant selected had received a score of 70%, the lowest score of the six and the minimum passing. The agency alleged that she had shown more “enthusiasm” during the interview, failing to emphasize that she was already working for the agency and personally knew the selection committee members.
17. Both the Washington State and the United States Constitution guarantee litigants a trial by jury where issues of fact must be decided. Judge Strophy improperly denied Dr. Heckman his right to present his case to a jury.
Summary of criminal actions
The lawsuits filed by Dr. Heckman have revealed a whole series of criminal actions, which civil service employees can apparently commit with absolute impunity. Moreover, because their action are done under cover of their official duties, they have immunity from civil liability. It can be concluded that these individuals are above the law and have complete protection from the American judiciary. If they were subject to the law, however, their actions would have to be deemed organized crime as defined by the RICO statute.
The record shows that the following felonies were committed by Forest Service employees:
1. Attempted grand larceny involving $20,000 of Forest Service funds earmarked for equipment purchases, demonstrated by an e-mail message from Tricia Wurtz to F. Stuart Chapin, III, and her supervisor, Hermann Gucinski;
2. Attempted bribery involving the sum of $20,000, confirmed by the investigation of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, although the word “bribe” was carefully omitted from the official reports;
3. Perjury committed by Peter Bisson and Deanna Stouder during the hearing before the MSPB and proven by recorded responses during cross-examination.
In addition, the following misdemeanors were demonstrated by documents, including sworn statements by the persons involved:
1. Release of information from Federal personnel records by Deanna Stouder of the Forest Service to Dale Norton of the Washington State Department of Ecology, violating the Federal Privacy Act, and
2. Misdemeanor for the same exchange of information under the Washington anti-blacklisting statute.
Acts defined as “prohibited personnel practices” were also committed, and one of them was the only act for which anyone received any punishment:
1. Interference with a Federal civil service selection, for which Tricia Wurtz was punished with a week’s suspension without pay, and Hermann Gucinski was punished with a letter of reprimand. Gucinski;s punishment was milder, apparently because he told the investigator that he did not know it was wrong to misappropriate $20,000 for a bribe paid to deny a veteran his preference rights.
2. Reprisal for whistleblowing, which any reasonable person would recognize from the circumstances but which the MSPB denied was the main reason for Dr. Heckman’s dismissal, although admitting that it was a contributory reason.
3. Reprisal for filing an agency grievance;
4. Interference with veterans’ preference rights;
5. Abuse of authority.
There is also some question about the disposition of about $27.000 remaining from the $30,000 appropriated by the Forest Service to provide Dr. Heckman with basic research equipment. During the hearing before the MSPB, it was affirmed by Mills and Stouder that the Forest Service had appropriated $30,000 for these purposes and that Stouder had authorized that only about $3000 be spent, most on equipment that was first delivered to Dr. Heckman a few weeks before his termination. Stouder testified that she knew nothing about what had been done with the remaining $27,000. Dr. Heckman’s request for an accounting of this money, made under the Freedom of Information Act, has still not been answered.
Employees of Washington State have also committed a series of criminal actions:
1. An affidavit by Dale Norton includes the statement that the personnal chief, Martha Tennis, had told him not to make the final selection for one vacancy without checking with her because Dr. Heckman had filed a discrimination complaint. Martha Tennis in her sworn statement denied that any such conversation took place. This indicates that one of these two employees committed perjury, a felony under Washington law.
2. Providing false information to the Washington Human Rights Commission by employees of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife constitutes a misdemeanor under Washington law.
3. Exchanges of information to hurt Dr. Heckman’s chances of being hired in reprisal for his having filed discrimination complaints constitute misdemeanors under Washington’s anti-blacklisting statute.
In summary, a remarkably large number of minor violations are evident in the records, include violation of the “letter or spirit” of veterans’ preference, which is a first class civil infraction under Washington law, as well as a series of acts under Federal statutes, including abuse of authority in ordering Dr. Heckman to change a scientific report to cover up gross waste, reprisal taken for filing an agency grievance in the form of leave cancellation and threat of dismissal if he took the leave, interfering with Federal selections, and denial of veterans’ preference rights. The only one of the felonies, misdemeanors and prohibited actions that resulted in prosecution or punishment was interfering with a Federal selection. Investigation, prosecution, or punishment have not been initiated for any of the other criminal acts. Since several of the crimes could have resulted in prison sentences for the perpetrators, it can be assumed that the civil servants had been assured of “immunity and protection” from persons in high positions in the Federal and State bureaucracies.
Psychological warfare against veterans
Most veterans are acutely aware of the damage done to their reputations and employment opportunities by the ceaseless campaign of the entertainment industry to make veterans appear to be psychos or stupid brutes. Obviously, employers would not be encouraged to hire people depicted as being so objectionable.
Dr. Heckman has recorded a variety of experiences showing how veterans are not only damaged financially but also abused psychologically in the hate campaign directed against them by those who refused to serve during the Vietnam Era. The persistent myth propagated in America is that if somebody fails to obtain employment, it is somehow his or her fault and not the fault of those deliberately practicing discrimination.
The failure of the news media to report anything about this problem has kept the general public ignorant about what is going on. The first response to accounts of Dr. Heckman’s employment problems is usually that something must be wrong with his resume. If this were true, however, why does presenting this resume consistently gain Dr. Heckman high grades on civil service evaluations? He has frequently been given scores of 100% without any preference points or scores placing him first on the lists of applicants. In spite of this, he is never selected for a job.
The next response is that Dr. Heckman must do poorly at interviews. This might be true if Dr. Heckman were ever invited to legitimate interviews. In fact, Dr. Heckman was not invited to a single employment interview in the United States from the date of his honorable discharge in 1968 until November 1997, when I was invited to Fairbanks, Alaska, so that the Forest Service personnel could offer him a bribe to withdraw from the selection.
Similarly, after Dr. Heckman began applying for employment with agencies of the State of Washington, he received no invitation of interviews until after he began to file discrimination complaints. Thereafter, he was invited to interviews, apparently to allow the agencies to prepare records supporting their allegations that he had been fairly considered for the vacancies, when, in fact, the successful applicants had already been pre-selected.
Finally, the allegation is made that there must be some defect in Dr. Heckman’s record or dealings with people explaining why he is not hired. Again, this argument does not stand up in light of the fact that Dr. Heckman has had a long record of continuous employment in foreign countries, and that his scientific achievements have been good enough to get him mention in Who’s Who in the World.
If Dr. Heckman had not gained the experience of successful scientific work abroad, he might be psychologically oppressed by the unreasonable assumption that the fault for his lack of unemployment opportunities in the United States is his own. Many veterans who have lacked the opportunity to experience meaningful employment over a long term because of persecution in America at the hands of former draft evaders have been made psychological wrecks though the cleverly orchestrated defamation campaign that has ruined their lives. Dr. Heckman has heard many absurd allegations since he returned to the United States, but perhaps the most bizarre is the statement made by a veterans’ service officer from the American Legion at the American Lake facility of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Dr. Heckman and his wife were told that his employment problems are his own fault because he served in Vietnam without being drafted. That means that the veterans’ service officer believes that in time of war or national emergency, it is everyone’s duty to avoid the draft, and that if someone actually volunteers for service, then the government should rightfully take reprisal against him by keeping him unemployed after his war service is completed.
Statistically, the effects of the vicious, sneaky, and cowardly attacks on veterans after the Vietnam War can be seen in the fact that 40% of the homeless in America are veterans. The connection between not being able to find decent employment and homelessness should be clear to anyone, although the United States Department of Labor, which as long had the responsibility of enforcing veterans’ employment laws, still finds it hard to officially admit that this connection exists.
Teamwork in organized crime
Veterans, whistleblowsers, and members of other classes frequently subjected to discrimination in America are usually accused of not showing “teamwork.” Indeed, “teamwork” is very important for protecting organized criminals from punishment for their crimes, as shown by the activities of Forest Service personnel and their collaborators in other agencies.
In Dr. Heckman’s case, the bribe offer in Alaska was made by F. Stuart Chapin, III, who spent the Vietnam War at Berkeley, Tricia Wurtz, a non-veteran, and Hermann Gucinski, a non-veteran who immigrated to the United States as an economic refugee from Germany after World War II. The reprisal was orchestrated by Station Director Thomas Mills, another non-veteran of the Cold War period. Dr. Heckman was directly supervised by Peter Bisson, who was of draft age during the Vietnam War but avoided the draft by protracting his studies at universities in Oregon until Nixon ended the draft. Deanna Stouder came from a project at Ohio State University, a university at which the term “unrepentant veteran” was coined for Vietnam Era veterans who admit to their military service.
The inverted pyramid of non-achievement is a curious sidelight of Dr. Heckman’s experience. The head of the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the United States Forest Service is charged with performing the research in the national forests required by Federal law. Its director, Thomas Mills, is not a scientist at all. He received his PhD in forestry with a strong emphasis on economics. His testimony before the MSPB would make any reasonable person question the wisdom of the Department of Agriculture in employing a supervisor without technical competence in the work he is supervising. Program Manager Deanna Stouder had co-authored only five publications in her entire career by the time of Dr. Heckman’s appeal hearings. She had never authored a publication alone, which is not surprising in view of the level of knowledge she displayed at the appeal hearing. In spite of her obvious scientific shortcomings, she was appointed as the supervisor of Peter Bisson, who had co-authored more than eight times as many publications as she had. Bisson, in turn, was assigned to supervise Dr. Heckman, whose publication record was qualitatively and quantitatively far superior to Bisson’s. Apparently, the general rule in the Federal civil service is that veterans must be employed at levels considerably below their levels of competence, while a non-veterans who took advantage of loopholes in the law to avoid military service must always be appointed as the supervisor of better qualified veterans.
The group in Alaska revealed even worse levels of performance. The list of publications by the members of the cooperative program at the University of Alaska showed that Tricia Wurtz had co-authored a single three-page publications in a forestry magazine during the previous five years. She was the only one of seven Forest Service scientists retained by the agency during a reduction in force several years earlier, ostensibly because their scientific productivity had been even worse than hers. In contrast, Dr. Heckman submitted seven manuscripts for publication during the first seven months of his employment and had already authored more than 60 publications in books and refereed scientific journals at the time he came to work for the Forest Service. However, it became clear during the course of the appeal before the MSPB how important it is for supervisory personnel habitually committing criminal actions to have subordinates with PhDs who are willing to commit perjury on demand. The effects of the sentiments against veterans and resentment against veterans’ preference should be clear to any reasonable person in this case.