The Field Review - Local

Good Faith? Amended Petition on Terminated Valley International Airport Police Chief

On April 20, 2022, John David Osborne, the prior Valley International Airport (VIA) Police Chief amended his petition. Now he claims he is a protected informant of the “Texas Whistleblower Act.”

Now Mr. Osborne will have to show, per Texas Government Code 554.0004, the following:

Sec. 554.004.  BURDEN OF PROOF;  PRESUMPTION;  AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE.  (a)  A public employee who sues under this chapter has the burden of proof, except that if the suspension or termination of, or adverse personnel action against, a public employee occurs not later than the 90th day after the date on which the employee reports a violation of law, the suspension, termination, or adverse personnel action is presumed, subject to rebuttal, to be because the employee made the report.(b)  It is an affirmative defense to a suit under this chapter that the employing state or local governmental entity would have taken the action against the employee that forms the basis of the suit based solely on information, observation, or evidence that is not related to the fact that the employee made a report protected under this chapter of a violation of law.

The Texas Whistleblower Act is a stance adversely affected employees can take when the following occurs:

Sec. 554.002.  RETALIATION PROHIBITED FOR REPORTING VIOLATION OF LAW.  (a)  A state or local governmental entity may not suspend or terminate the employment of, or take other adverse personnel action against, a public employee who in good faith reports a violation of law by the employing governmental entity or another public employee to an appropriate law enforcement authority.(b)  In this section, a report is made to an appropriate law enforcement authority if the authority is a part of a state or local governmental entity or of the federal government that the employee in good faith believes is authorized to:(1)  regulate under or enforce the law alleged to be violated in the report;  or(2)  investigate or prosecute a violation of criminal law.

Although an interesting angle, it does not appear this is the reason Mr. Osborne was separated from employment, per our reading. He would also have to prove the “good faith,” concept.

Although it appears there was an attempt to implement the Rule 11 agreement, per Court Records on the Cameron County Public Portal, there is no indication on what element or subject matter is up for discussion, as an agreed point.

There are still a lot of unknowns which will should be disclosed. What was the FBI interested in? What was the DA interested in? Why was Mr. Osborne given trespass warnings?

The warnings, by themselves, are very interesting. It also raises a lot of questions, related to the validity of the information provided by Mr. Osborne to a Harlingen City Commissioner.

Did the Commissioner take the information in “good faith,” and present it to the others? In doing so, was a separate employment action taken? Was that employment action proper? Or was it made based upon bad information?

The amended petition can be found HERE.

Also, did Mr. Osborne, really retire from the Harlingen Police Department, or was this part of the “good faith,” transaction?

Why did his “good faith,” not take a complaint from a citizen that reported stalking and using Harlingen Police Department as the authority to stalk the citizen?