- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 6, 2006

A research chief in the District’s health department has filed a federal whistleblower complaint against the D.C. government, saying her supervisor threatened to fire her after she testified before the D.C. Council about contracting irregularities.

Christina Williams, 42, chief of the research and grants arm of the District’s Addiction Prevention and Recovery Administration (APRA), said her supervisor planned to fire her in the months after she testified about a computer contract under D.C. Council scrutiny earlier this year.

Miss Williams’ complaint, filed on Monday in federal court in the District, seeks $4 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

In the complaint, she also states that, after her testimony, her staff was cut from 10 to four employees and moved to an office without telephone lines.

D.C. officials declined to comment on Miss Williams’ accusations yesterday.

The complaint names the D.C. government, Robert Johnson, APRA’s senior deputy director, and David Anthony, the agency’s chief of staff, as defendants.

“Attorneys for the District are reviewing the complaint and will file a timely response,” said Traci Hughes, a spokeswoman for the D.C. Office of the Attorney General.

According to the complaint, Miss Williams was charged with implementing a computer software system that tracked detailed data concerning clients and contractors. However, she was unable to get a copy of the contract, and the computer system ultimately experienced technical problems.

At a D.C. Council hearing in February, council member David A. Catania, at-large independent, said the computer system should have been running two years earlier.

During the hearing, Miss Williams told Mr. Catania, chairman of the council’s Committee on Health, that the system wasn’t fully operable. In her complaint, Miss Williams states that Mr. Johnson later complained to her about her testimony and said she “made it appear the agency was doing something wrong.”

Miss Williams is the second high-ranking manager in the city’s health department in a year to file a whistleblower complaint against the District in federal court.

Her attorney, John F. Karl Jr., said yesterday Miss Williams remains employed by the District.

Last year, Thyra Lowe, former deputy administrator for the city’s Emergency Health and Medical Services Administration, sued the District, saying her job was eliminated because she protested the misuse of federal grants.

In that case, attorneys for the District have disputed the accusations and want the case dismissed.

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