The NOAA Office of General Counsel Awards – 2007

The Department of Commerce General Counsel's office recently recognized eight individuals for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the agency at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., in December, 2007.

Alexa, Jason and Brett served as co-counsel for NOAA's General Counsel's Office in all aspects of the development of the Administration's proposed Coral Reef Conservation Act. They provided significant contributions to the drafting of the Administration bill, including working on technical issues, such as the program's authority to enter into cooperative agreements with other entities, and assisting on complex exemption issues. Combining the strengths of several General Counsel offices, Alexa, Jason and Brett have been deeply involved in the coordination and negotiation of issues both within and outside of the Department of Commerce and have helped the Corals program respond to comments from other agencies and stakeholders. In all of these efforts, they have demonstrated an exceptional ability to work well with colleagues and build consensus among disparate interests. These three attorneys have approached their assignments with a level of energy and professional ability deserving of recognition.

Ann Favazza, GCNE

Ann provided invaluable paralegal support during several recent administrative enforcement proceedings by compiling meticulous exhibit lists, keeping track of the Agency's many trial exhibits, and preparing detailed and complete trial notebooks that were indispensable to successful prosecution of the Office of General Counsel Law Enforcement's (GCEL) cases. Due to her extensive knowledge of the agency's enforcement matters, she was able to work effectively with the Sustainable Fisheries Division, the National Marine Fisheries Service permit office, the Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) and the Office of General Counsel's Northeast Region, to develop a new system for identifying and monitoring permit sanctions to preserve the integrity of the sanction as well as to assist with the integration of OLE's new case management system with GCEL's system.

Mary A. Foote, GCNW

Mary Foote provided outstanding contributions to General Counsel's Northwest Region. Some of her more significant accomplishments for 2007 included revising and streamlining the office's financial processes in order to provide for easier reporting to managers and to more quickly assess funding projections for future years, a system now adopted by other General Counsel offices; reorganizing office filing systems; and assisting with the preparation of administrative records for litigation. Mary performs her duties with a high level of professionalism and can be counted on to competently complete any task to which she is assigned.

Lindy S. Johnson, GCIL

Lindy Johnson was instrumental in securing designation in principle for the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized Agency of the United Nations. This PSSA designation, one of only ten marine areas globally, augments domestic protective measures by alerting international mariners to exercise extreme caution when navigating through the area. She also crafted two additional measures to help reduce the risk of damage to the Monument from international shipping activities: amending the six existing Areas to be Avoided (ATBAs) in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and establishing a ship reporting system for vessels transiting the Monument. Ms. Johnson's legal talent, her interpersonal skills, and her ability to work effectively with others in NOAA and in the Department significantly contributed to fulfilling the Department's and NOAA's mission and strategic plan to protect living marine resources.

Alma J. Lyons, GCIL

Alma Lyons made important contributions to the efficient and effective operation of NOAA's Office of General Counsel for International Law and the headquarters Office of General Counsel. She was critical to the successful planning and participation at the Office of General Counsel's International Law Training Seminar and supports the Senior Counselor with his administrative responsibilities in all financial and administrative matters. Ms. Lyon's loyalty, integrity, commitment, adaptability, hard work, and ability to grow professionally are emblematic of the best NOAA support staff has to offer.

Jonathan Pollard, GCAK

Jonathan Pollard substantially contributed to the successful development of rulemakings to list North Pacific right whales as a separate endangered species and to designate critical habitat for this species in the North Pacific Ocean. Mr. Pollard provided legal guidance to NMFS staff, reviewed draft rules and supporting impacts analyses, and coordinated his efforts with other attorneys in NOAA and the Department of Commerce Office of General Counsel. Mr. Pollard's in-depth understanding of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the rulemaking process allowed him to develop a successful strategy for closely coordinating both actions. Mr. Pollard's legal acumen and ability to work efficiently and effectively with others in NOAA and in the Department significantly contributed to fulfilling the Department's and NOAA's mission and strategic plan to protect living marine resources and meet the objectives of the ESA.