Judge rules against NDOT whistleblower | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Judge rules against NDOT whistleblower

The Associated Press

CARSON CITY- A lawsuit filed by a Nevada Department of Transportation official against the state has been dismissed in Carson District Court.

Judge Michael Griffin ruled against ”whistleblower” Tom Fronapfel, who claimed he became the subject of retaliation by his supervisors after he accused the agency of an improper action.

His superiors denied the allegation.

The lawsuit stemmed from a 1996 plan to put the state’s Metropolitan Planning Division directly under NDOT Director Tom Stephens.

Fronapfel, NDOT’s assistant director of planning, claimed the move was in violation of state law and fought it.

Stephens rescinded the plan, even though Deputy Attorney General Brian Hutchins later issued an opinion that the plan was legal.

Under state law, employees who expose wrongdoing are protected from harrassment from their superiors.

The state hearing officer rejected Fronapfel’s claim that the law was broken, saying that without any actual wrongdoing to blow the whistle on, any harassment was not in violation of the law.

Fronapfel appealed the decision.

”The hearing officer correctly concluded that improper governmental conduct did not occur,” Griffin ruled.

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