News | Nov. 22, 2016

DLA Aviation Leader Commentary: Supporting each other, at the heart of DLA culture, values

By Stephen Davis, DLA Counsel –Aviation, chief counsel

Challenging circumstances reveal a person’s true character. This has never been more true than when Defense Logistics Agency Counsel – Aviation’s Personnel Law Team found itself in a trying situation that revealed the team’s outstanding character through their dedication to its mission and their teammate’s welfare.

At times, lawyers have been stereotyped as self-centered, cold, uncaring individuals with situational values.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The team’s actions under challenging circumstances reflected their loyalty and caring, showing that members have incorporated DLA Values into their ethos. DLA values that provide the foundation for all the actions we take and decisions we make in support of our customers, stakeholders, workforce, and partners.

The team recently demonstrated their commitment to DLA’s strategic goals, specifically Warfighter First, and People and Culture.

The team, composed of lawyers David Evers, Daniel Moebs, Katherine Yourth, Tiffany Higuchi, and Tammy Draper, paralegal, is highly motivated, grounded in the DLA and DLA Office of General Counsel’s core values, and exceed the highest ethical and professional standards.  They have a broad span of duties supporting DLA Aviation and Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, in the areas of personnel, environmental, and administrative law.

When a team member was incapacitated do to a serious and unexpected illness, the rest of the team demonstrated their extraordinary dedication to their clients’ missions and their fallen teammate.  The team’s actions during this six-month crisis exemplified DLA values of resiliency and accountability. 

The Personnel Law Team focused on their clients and the mission in redistributing and taking on new challenges to compensate for their teammate’s absence while keeping a positive attitude and portraying a strong sense of duty to the warfighter.  Not only did the team go above and beyond in supporting its clients, they also showed extraordinary compassion for their fallen teammate.  Not a day went by that someone from the team was not providing comfort and support during their teammate’s long and challenging recovery. 

This team serves as a prime example of the positive effect that living DLA values can have on the organization and its people.  During this time the team met all deadlines and won many significant cases.  They prevailed in a removal case decided by the Federal Labor Relations Authority which saved the agency thousands of dollars in potential litigation loss.  They won significant cases in front of the Merit Systems Protection Board involving furlough appeals, military leave and employees removed for making threats. Also, the team processed disciplinary and barment actions against employees who stole thousands of dollars by selling scrap metal and keeping most of the funds.  They helped the assistant U.S. attorney in several cases ending with decisions in federal court favoring the agency.  The team also provided representation during unemployment hearings saving DLA thousands of dollars. 

All while, the team continued to advise command and installation support senior leaders, supervisors, and management officials, as well as human resources and equal employment opportunity specialists.  The team reviewed actions in many areas to include environmental, personnel and important agreements between DLA and other entities.  The team gave Use of Force briefings to all security members and reviewed important policy programs such as the new traffic regulations.  The team met every challenge and ensured continued support for DLA.