Attorney Steve Lebau recently had the honor of representing Joe Stenaka, a dedicated career public servant and distinguished Veteran, in a whistleblower complaint against his supervisor at the U.S. Department of Veterans.
FedScoop broke the story, reporting:
"A Department of Veterans Affairs watchdog has dismissed three misconduct allegations against a top federal IT official brought by the agency’s former chief information security officer.
"According to two copies of a January report obtained exclusively by FedScoop, the VA’s Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection (OAWP) did not substantiate three complaints filed against Joseph Stenaka in October 2020 by Paul
"Stenaka at the time of the complaint was executive director for information security operations within the department’s Office of Information and Technology (OIT), and in that role he reported directly to Cunningham. Both Cunningham and Stenaka have since
departed from their roles at the VA. …
"The allegations filed against Stenaka came just a month after the IT official submitted a protected whistleblower complaint in which he raised concerns about negotiations between Cunningham and software company Splunk over a cloud computing contract.
"In his whistleblower complaint at the time, Stenaka alleged that Cunningham gave up to 10 terabytes of perpetual licenses from an existing Splunk Perpetual Contract for a discount on a future Splunk SaaS cloud contract and received only 'pennies on the
dollar' for what the Splunk contract was worth.
"Stenaka suggested Cunningham’s comfortable relationship with Mark Jarek, the director of business development and strategy at Splunk, gave rise to inappropriate negotiations with Splunk and there was concern the VA would lose up to $170 million due to this.
"The U.S. Code forbids personnel action against any federal employee who discloses information in a bid to stop gross mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority, or to highlight a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety."
As a result of this win, Mr. Stenaka’s personnel file remains unblemished and accurately reflects his stellar work. He was also awarded compensatory damages and attorney fees.
For the full story, click here.