Brian Liebich, who formerly led tests of foundations of freeway structures for the state Department of Transportation, has resigned as chair of the prestigious Transportation Research Board's committee on that topic and no longer participates in its work, according to William Kearney, a spokesman for the National Academy of Sciences, the federal board's parent organization.
Caltrans fired Liebich in 2011 for alleged theft and violations of pay and overtime rules. He has denied the charges and appealed to the State Personnel Board.
State and federal authorities are investigating malfeasance, data falsification and management lapses that occurred at Liebich's former branch during his tenure. The Bee has detailed those problems in an ongoing investigation.
The transportation board became aware of these matters when The Bee inquired about Liebich's chairmanship late last month, Kearney said.
Liebich resigned soon afterward. He could not be reached for comment, and Kearney declined to comment on the reasons for Liebich's resignation.
Senior leaders of the Transportation Research Board named Liebich to the voluntary post in 2010. Kearney said technical knowledge, experience and the recommendations of other experts inform such selections.
The committee identifies research needs and provides ideas and information to transportation experts to help set research priorities. The group also reviews presentations for the board's annual meeting and develops conferences and workshops.
The Transportation Research Board is an arm of the National Research Council, itself an operating unit of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering, the nation's most esteemed scientific societies. Liebich is not a member of either academy.