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Pentagon to Fire Supervisor of Whistle-Blower

June 15, 1985|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said Friday that it will comply with the Merit Systems Protection Board's order and fire Charles O. Starrett Jr. as director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency.

The announcement was made a day after the board said that Starrett should be fired and two subordinates demoted for attempting to punish whistle-blower George B. Spanton.

The board, which handles civil service complaints, said an attempt to force Spanton to transfer from West Palm Beach, Fla., to the West Coast in 1983 was an effort to punish him for talking to reporters and federal investigators outside the agency.

Took Complaints Public

Spanton was the agency's resident auditor at Pratt & Whitney's Government Products Division, a subsidiary of the Hartford, Conn.-based United Technologies Corp. He produced several audits critical of the jet engine manufacturer, accusing it of excessive price increases, then went public after concluding that his findings were being ignored.

Spanton retired on Jan. 1, 1984. The company has denied the allegations.

The decision to fire Starrett, effective next Monday, was disclosed in a statement. Spokesman Fred Hoffman said that the Pentagon would also heed the board's directive to demote Paul Evans, the agency's Atlanta regional director, and Arlin Tueller, the Atlanta regional audit manager, to non-supervisory jobs.

"The decision of the board is, of course, subject to appeal by Mr. Starrett to the federal Circuit Court of Appeals," the Pentagon said, adding that it "strongly supports" the policy of protecting whistle-blowers "from harassment by superiors."

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