for immediate release, Tuesday, June 20, 1995
Lawyers for Steve Jones, the former Safety Manager at the U.S. Department of Defense's
Tooele, Utah chemical weapons incinerator have filed a motion seeking to name the Army
as a defendant in Jones' illegal termination lawsuit.
Jones' lawyers from the Government Accountability Project (GAP) claim that the Army
functioned as his "joint employer" because military staff exercised substantial control over
operations at Tooele. In a deposition taken by GAP, Henry Silvestri, General Manager for
EG&G Defense Materials, the Army's contractor at Tooele, admitted that he told Jones to
defer to a military supervisor saying, "I probably said if that means kissing his ass on the
front steps at noon, let me know and I'll come hold your hat." Silvestri recently took an
"early retirement" from EG&G at age 53.
Another senior EG&G manager, Joseph Hanny, who was Director of Administrative
Services at Tooele, also stated in a deposition that the Army "micromanage[d] the facility.
If the Army is accepted as a defendant in the whistleblower protection case now before a
U.S. Labor Department Administrative Law Judge, Jones' lawyers will be able to examine
military documents and question Army officials. The Army has refused to voluntarily
submit to discovery despite Jones' requests for access to relevant files.
Jones was fired by EG&G Defense Materials, Inc., the Army's contractor at Tooele on
September 14, 1994, the day after he refused to sign a document certifying that the safety
risks listed in a consultant's report were "acceptable." That study listed more than 3000
hazards associated with the incinerator, nearly 100 of which were in a category presenting
the highest possible risk. Based on the report, Jones says he believed that the condition of
the incinerator presented a high probability of fatalities and release of nerve agent into the
"It's absolutely clear that the Army called the shots at Tooele," explained Joanne Royce,
one of Jones' lawyers at GAP. "That's why we're asking that they be compelled to
produce relevant documents about this case and respond to our questions. The military
should not be above the law."
Craig Williams, national spokesperson for the Chemical Weapons Working Group
(CWWG), a coalition of groups seeking alternatives to incineration, added, "In its
obsession with chemical weapons incineration -- no matter the risk nor the cost -- the Army
has trampled on the rights of its workers in the same way it ignores the concerns of local
communities. This case will provide more evidence of the Army's blatant disregard for
public health and worker safety. "
Relevant portions of the Henry Silvestri and Joseph Hanny depositions are available on
CWWG Home Page