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An administrative law judge has ruled in favor of an Anchorage whistleblower who claims that Bald Mountain air service based in Homer fired him after he reported several safety issues to the federal aid Aviation Administration but as KB BA’s Erin Bolton reports the airliner plans to appeal the ruling.
US Department of Labor administrative law judge Scott R Morris issued the 72-page ruling on October 10 Morris found that the aviation company violated whistleblower protections after it fired Anchorage pilot Brian Bell , just 2 days after a surprise FAA inspection in 2012 that resulted in roughly $67,000 worth of fines Bell in another Bald Mountain employees complaints about the airliner safety in training practices spur that inspection Bell reported several safety violations to the FAA ranging from falsifying training records to flying with faulty or damaged equipment while customers were on board Bell’s attorney Paal stock.
This is Mr. Bell and I very pleased with the ruling. We think we won and could be out on all the major issues .
Bald Mountain argued in the case that it planned to fire Bell before he spoke with FAA officials last week’s ruling follows a 2016 Occupational Safety and Health Administration report finding that Bald Mountain failed to show clear and convincing evidence that it planned to do so. The latest ruling does acknowledge evidence that supports Bald mountains claimed . But it said the timing of Bell’s firing violated his protections as a whistleblower Bald Mountain attorney errands Burbank , said his client plans to appeal the ruling next week with the Department of Labor’s administrative review board .
There are several other legal issues that Bald Mountain would like to have the administrative review board examine.
In particular Sberbank wants the board to review Morris is order requiring Bald Mountain to pay Bell roughly $500,000 in back pay with interest Bell claims that Bald Mountain blacklisted him after he was fired in late 2012 in Morse is ruling found that circumstantial evidence supported his claim however spur back and Bald Mountain say Bell did not sufficiently pursue employment in the aviation industry , though the onus will be on them to prove that. If their appeal is taken up .
And the review board has the ability to decide whether or not to take the petition up that would then require Mr. Bell to file a petition of his own and in opposition and then they have the ability to decide those issues. That was very specific issues within the next roughly 120 days .
Stock lawyer said his client is ready for a possible appeal , but he doesn’t think the review board will accept bald mountains petition because the company argued it wasn’t liable for back pay because of its alleged plans to fire Bell prior to his complaint to the FAA.
It’s hard to argue a case on both liability and damages caused to arguing damages sometimes confusing liability so they contested liability. But if they wanted to contest damages . They should have done that you were talking about , I think they’ve waived that claim .
Spur back declined to say if Bald Mountain plans to appeal any other issues in the case , such as Morse is ruling requiring the company to expunge bells personnel file of any records connected to his report to the FAA Bald Mountain was also ordered to pay bail $10,000 for pain and suffering and to offer him a job as a pilot. The airliner will be required to post a list of whistleblower protections at its facilities as well and provide training on those protections to employees reporting in Homer I’m Erin Bolton .
Petersburg’s hospital board last week made another pitch to the borough Assembly about the importance of coming up with a plan for a new or renovated Medical Center assembly members sounded receptive to the idea of making the project a high priority for the borough care fest case Joe Vick Nicky reports.
The aging Medical Center buildings owned by the borough and employs about 120 people. Parts of the building date back to 1955 Medical Center CEO , Phil Hofstadter hoped for an agreement to seek solutions .
I think important messages at the facility that is currently there , is it is fully depreciated. It’s pretty much at the end of life . There’s a lot of things going wrong with it . Under underneath the hood not necessarily cosmetically but on their verdicts . There’s some serious risks we can , we can talk about that . I think it’s important today not to say , you know , we’re number one , you know how really get funding for it . Where are we going to get funding for it . Where we are going to play , said I think what’s important is to sort of agree that you know what’s under the hood is is sort of a risk in that we need to come together and figure out what we’re going to do next .
Assembly member Jeff mutually wanted to know if the hospital board had made a decision about whether to pursue a new building or renovate the old one board members said they hadn’t yet made a decision , but several explained it didn’t make sense to put so much money into an old facility Timken Amin was one.
The choices are. And then on the 16 they keep daylight hours freely existing which I think is a waste of money . First , you still have fish . These are the building but you could at an ad for long term care if something like that . The choice becomes if it won the most efficient modern system . No , no , no .
And Hofstadter noted at the Medical Center could make such a decision without community input pmc had a building condition assessment completed in 2015 in architectural firm found a majority of the quote systems components and finishes have exceeded or are near the end of their service life and should be replaced unquote estimates put the cost of upgrading the existing building at $16 million or building new at more than 40 million Medical Center‘s Director of Nursing Jennifer Bryan or explain the main reason for a new building is to avoid an emergency shutdown of the old facility.
We want it to be pretty early. Once you know to be more efficient and all those things , but ultimately we just don’t want it to be shut down and closed because of a failure .
Hospital staff also talk more about a recent sewer failure that had staffers scrambling to make repairs and cleanup again here’s Hofstadter.
Those are the things that currently me awake at night. Yeah , well , the facility to be good for year 2 , 3 years 4 years but takes , it’s going to take 5 to 10 years before we really get secure the funding find a site figure out how we’re going to do it and then maintained or building and maintain services for the community and and then build a new building , so it’s going to take time , even if we had money fall out of the sky today .
Hospitals administrators asked for repair work to be listed among the borough’s annual capital project priorities and asked for a new hospital building to be a top priority for the municipality they’re are also hoping to gather public input from the community about what services are considered essential to that end , the medical planning to host some community cafes starting up in mid-November Assembly member occurred while heater didn’t think those forums would get much interest.
You’re not going to get full community participation on this and I think if you’re talking about a new building , you know , everybody thinks that we’re going to have to dig into our pockets of $50 million but a big portion of that’s going to come from outside funding sources , so we’re really not going to do that much , but the point is though , you have to bring everybody along with this with what you have to offer.
While he encouraged more outreach about the services of the Medical Center offers and what would be lost if those can’t continue. Some of the possibilities for funding our grants from federal or state governments or other sources or a revenue bonds that’s death at the hospital could repay with revenue instead of raising taxes would still require approval by local voters . The next steps are a study for a new or renovated building updated cost estimates and more discussions with the Assembly about where a future hospital could be located in Petersburg I’m Joe Vicky .
Finally tonight a correction to a story last week about the Essential Air Service program and Damien the contract between Pathfinder aviation and Damien runs until 2020. Not this year . In 2020 the US.is expected to ask for proposals for continuing air service under the fully subsidized EAS program . It was stated previously that the contract with Pathfinder is ending this year .
And that’s all. For this edition of Alaska news nightly if you missed any of tonight’s stories were online at Alaska Public.org like us on Facebook at Alaska Public Media and follow us on Twitter at a key public news we had reports tonight from Baxter in Juneau Andrew kitchen and Zakaria Hughes and encourage Zoe civil on St Paul Island Dan brass in Fairbanks Erin Bolton Homer and Joe Vicky in Petersburg are you engineers M and Swenson Wesley early is our producer and I’m Casey growth . Good night .
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