The House unanimously passed a bill last week to grant federal employees more time to have their personnel cases heard while Merit System Protection Board’s (MSPB) hands are tied due to lack of political appointments.
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Citing partisan political motivations, several Senators are calling on the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) to investigate the questionnaire the Department of Energy (DOE) received from President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team.
On July 13, 2017, the Merit Systems Protection Board, currently without a quorum and consisting of only one member (Vice Chairman Mark Robbins) extended a stay of a Department of Veterans Affairs physician’s removal after the request was made by the Office of Special Counsel.
Attesting that it has a substantial interest in a legal issue presented by Salazar v. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Office of Special Counsel filed a “friend of the court,” or amicus curiae, brief on August 3, 2016, with the Merit Systems Protection Board arguing that an employee who makes a disclosure in his normal course of duties should not be subject to an elevated standard when attempting to prove a prima facie case of whistleblower retaliation.
On April 7, 2016, and April 12, 2016, the United States Office of Special Counsel filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in two separate cases: Acha v. Department of Agriculture, and Benton-Flores v. Department of Defense, respectively. The Acha case is currently pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, while the Benton-Flores case is on remand to an MSPB administrative judge.
On February 13, 2018, the United States Office of Special Counsel released updated Hatch Act Guidance on Social Media to “help federal employees understand what the Hatch Act does and does not allow when using social media.”
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) Committee Chairman, Ron Johnson (R-WI), sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting an in-depth examination of the Office of Special Counsel’s (OSC) procedures and oversight mechanisms.
A Special Agent at the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms filed an Individual Right of Action appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board, alleging that his supervisors retaliated against him after he disclosed his suspicion that another agent had improperly shot at a fleeing suspect, provided an inaccurate report of the shooting incident, and had committed perjury during the subsequent criminal trial.
Tune in this week for a special show on whistleblower programs with the Justice Department’s Deputy IG, a Deputy Counsel at Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General, and the Office of Special Counsel's Chief of Investigation and Prosecution.
With a little over a month left until the election, many government employees are trying to ascertain what they can and can’t do on social media based on the Hatch Act regulations.