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 U.S. Office of Special Counsel
 1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 218
 Washington, D.C. 20036-4505


CONTACT: CATHY DEEDS, 202-254-3607 or 202-550-8785, cdeeds@osc.gov
      DALLAS – The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) today announced its selection of Anne Whiteman, an 18-year air traffic controller at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), as a recipient of the Special Counsel’s Public Servant Award. Ms. Whiteman disclosed to OSC that air traffic controllers and management at the DFW Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) routinely covered up serious operational errors, in violation of an FAA order.

      Ms. Whiteman’s disclosures triggered an investigation by the Department of Transportation Inspector General (DOT IG) that substantiated her allegations. The investigation confirmed that air traffic controllers and management systemically covered up operational errors and that for the past seven years an improper management practice had been in place at DFW which was responsible for covering up and failing to investigate these errors. The DOT IG concluded that the cover-ups represented safety deficiencies and undermined the public’s confidence in the air traffic control system. (See OSC press release, 6/23/05, detailing transmittal of the report.)

      Due to Ms. Whiteman’s courageous efforts, FAA was able to correct a dangerous policy and serious mismanagement at one of its major TRACON facilities. Operational errors at DFW are now reported and investigated in a timely manner. All personnel involved in the cover-up of operational errors were disciplined and all air traffic controllers were required to undergo training and recertification to continue working at DFW. Whiteman has provided a great benefit to the flying public.

      Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch presented the 2005 Public Servant Award today to Ms. Whiteman for her contributions as a whistleblower to the public safety and airline safety.

      In announcing the award at OSC’s Dallas field office, Special Counsel Bloch praised Ms. Whiteman for her courage in speaking out. Bloch stated, “Thankfully, as a result of the investigation prompted by Ms. Whiteman’s disclosures, DFW’s operations have been brought into line with the FAA order. In addition, the facility is subject to periodic review by FAA to ensure its continued compliance with its order and its proper reporting and investigating of operational errors. To me this is a perfect example of a case where a civil servant was willing to take on “the establishment” to protect us all. She believed in this job and more than anything, believed in our nation’s safety.” Bloch continued, “Today I am here to recognize in some small way, the contribution and courage of Anne Whiteman. Her disclosure had a happy ending: safer, more efficient management of air traffic at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. We thank her for her courage in reporting these allegations. We thank her for persistence in repeating allegations that apparently no one wanted to hear or listen to. We thank her for working so hard to help correct the misconduct of some of her FAA supervisors, and ultimately, helping to protect the public.”

      Ms. Whiteman is the fifth federal employee to receive such an award. The program was established in 2001 to recognize the contributions that federal employees make to the public interest when – often at great personal risk – they make significant disclosures of violations of law, rule, or regulation; gross mismanagement; a gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; or, as was the case here, a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety. The Public Servant Award is a non-monetary and merit-based award. Its purpose is to publicly recognize the most significant contributions made by federal whistleblowers who have either filed disclosures with OSC or who have sought relief from OSC on the grounds that they have suffered retaliation.



The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency and operates as a secure channel for disclosures of whistleblower complaints and abuse of authority. Its primary mission is to safeguard the merit system in federal employment by protecting federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially retaliation for whistleblowing. OSC also has jurisdiction over the Hatch Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. For more information please visit our web site at www.osc.gov or call 1-800-872-9855.