Arizona Daily Star from Tucson, Arizona on October 3, 1992 · Page 21
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Arizona Daily Star from Tucson, Arizona · Page 21

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Tucson, Arizona
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Saturday, October 3, 1992
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Page 21
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Section B Page Five fflbf Arizona Hailo Star Tucson, Saturday, October 3, 1992 Regulators urge $130,000 in fines for Palo Verde safety harassment By Walter Berrv In April 1989, an administrative law judge ruled that Thomas, an engineering technician who complained about valve testing and a computer system at Palo Verde, was wrongfully transfered and denied a promotion. Last July, a judge ruled that Mitchell, an electrical engineer who has worked at Palo Verde since 1985, was harassed and discriminated against after raising concerns about emergency lighting. The NRC said it proposed a $50,000 fine in Thomas' case and an $80,000 fine in Mitchell's case. APS lawyers did not immediately return telephone calls seeking comment on the proposed fines. "It's a little small and a little late," Thomas said. "I also don't think the fines are nearly enough to get the attention of APS as to the seriousness of this problem." "I think the fines are long overdue," Mitchell said. "I haven't had a promotion in seven years." The fines are the fourth since 1989 for APS related to safety or allied problems at the $9.2 billion plant. Last month, NRC inspectors interviewed a cross section of Palo Verde's 3,000-mem-ber work force to check out reports that plant managers were discouraging safety complaints from workers. Palo Verde spokesman Don Andrews said yesterday that the plant's management en courages employees to report potential safety problems, and that APS does not "dis-crimate against anyone and that includes whistle blowers." Meanwhile, a Department of Labor judge continued hearing testimony on a former Palo Verde worker's complaint that he was discriminated against because of prior whistle-blowing activities. William Conway, APS executive vice president for nuclear operations, testified in a hearing on Thomas J. Saporito Jr.'s complaint that he instructed supervisors to treat Saporito "the same as any other employee." Saporito was fired from a Florida plant in 1988 after alerting federal officials about alleged safety violations. Saporito worked as an instrument control technician at Palo Verde's Unit 2 between September and December of last year. I Saporito said he was denied additional work this year at Palo Verde because he told APS officials of numerous security and safety violations. - , George Lyons, an attorney for APS, said 1 7 contract workers including Saporito were recommended for employment at Unit 1, but only 13 were needed. . , . Conway previously worked at the Flprida Power and Light Co. , - Conway said Saporito failed to report to his supervisor enough in Florida and "that was the reason for his termination" there. The Associated Press PHOENIX Federal regulators proposed $130,000 in fines yesterday against the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station's operator for discriminating against two employees who complained about safety problems. Arizona Public Service Co., which operates the triple-reactor plant 55 miles west of here for a consortium of utility companies in four states, has appealed both cases to the secretary of labor. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's regional office in Walnut Creek, Calif., said the agency proposed the fines in the cases of Sarah C. Thomas and Linda Mitchell. Canchola Continued from Page IB circles, to wrangle a face-to-face meeting with President Bush and some of his Cabinet members. Bush, he said, addressed an issue Canchola raised several months ago when Vice President Dan Quayle passed through Tucson the treatment of Mexican na tionals who cross the border to shop in Arizona. Bush said he was aware that people Arizona and New Mexico want a freer flow of border traffic, said Canchola, but he added that "people in California say they want walls and fences built." The president and his aides did not offer anything specific, but Canchola said he did win a promise from Jack Kemp, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to visit the border community. Governor unveils Man sh00ts w'fe himself; she survives environmental license plates PHOENIX (AP) Gov. Fife Symington unveiled Arizona's new environmental license plate yesterday, attaching one to the front of his state car and handing out a half-dozen others to other state officials. The license plate depicts a sunset scene with silhouettes, two lizards and a cactus and includes the legend, "protect our environment." It was designed by Joanne Caro-selli, a former graphic design student at Glendale Community College. Her design was chosen from among the 461 submitted in a state-sponsored competition last November. "It is important to the future of Arizona that we begin educating our children about the environment, particularly about how we manage the environment," Symington said before accepting his license plate, which bears the number AZ-1. "The funds provided from the sale of the environmental license plate are essential contributions to Arizona's schools and I encourage everyone to support this effort." The license plates are available at a cost of $25 in addition to normal registration fees. Symington said $17 of the $25 would go to the state Department of Education to support Arizona's statewide environmental education program. "The license plate is just a symbol of what we want to do with the Arizona environment," said Sen. Karan English, D-Flagstaff, chairman of the Senate Environment Committee. She said the idea for the license plate came after the environmental education program was designed several years ago and a source of funding had to be found to pay for it. House Environment Committee Chairman Bill Mundell, R-Chandler, called the license plate "a symbol that Arizona is committed to the environment." A six-member panel of experts in design, license plate manufacturing, environment and law enforcement chose 12 finalists in the design competition. Symington and his wife, Ann, chose the winning design. Others who received the new license plates yesterday were English, Mundell, Environmental Quality Director Ed Fox, Game and Fish Director Duane Shroufe, state schools Superintendent C. Diane Bishop, Symington's deputy chief of staff, Rita Pearson, and Caroselli. Lawyer gets probatfpn in police-chase incident Tucson attorney Ralph Malanga will serve two years' unsupervised probation for fleeing from a Tucson police officer who had pulled him over for speeding last year. Malanga, 43, pleaded guilty to attempted fleeing in the Nov. 10 incident, in which he led the officer on a high-speed chase through several red lights before a police supervisor called off the officer. Malanga, who was sentenced Wednesday by Judge Pro Tern Richard Nichols of Pima County Superior Court, is a former assistant public defender in Pima County with a propensity for publicized problems. While working in that office, he was held in contempt for wearing green tennis shoes to court and for throwing his keys at a security guard. The latter charge was dropped after he apologized. After leaving the office in 1988, he was again held in contempt of court for walking out of a February 1990 drug trial in which his client told the judge that Malanga and he had snorted cocaine and drunk liquor before coming to court. That case ended in a mistrial. CHANDLER (AP) An estranged husband who shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself died of his head wound late Thursday, but his wife survived, police reported. Randy Bennett, 34, was found unconscious next to his wife's car in the parking lot of her apartment complex. He died a short time later at St. Joseph's Hospital. His wife, Carol Bennett, 36, was found sitting in the driver's seat of her car, the door open, the window on the passenger side shattered by a bullet, Lt. John Summers said. She had been shot in the face but was conscious when taken to Scotts-dale Memorial Hospital, where she was reported in critical condition. Bennett had called his 1 3-year-old son over to the car, shot his wife and then shot himself in the temple, Summers said. They had been separated three months. 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