Record Number of Cases for OSC in 2014
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC), the small, independent federal agency with a mission to safeguard the merit system by protecting employees from prohibited personnel practices (PPP), particularly whistleblower reprisal, had a record-breaking fiscal year 2014, according to its annual report.
In FY 2014 OSC received over 5,000 cases for the first time ever, including significant increases in the number of PPP and whistleblower disclosure cases from past years, according to Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner.
The Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA), Defense (DOD), and Homeland Security (DHS) led the government in providing cases to OSC. 1,504 OSC cases came from the VA, 1,365 came from DOD, and 489 from DHS.
OSC reported obtaining a 15 percent increase in the number of corrective action matters on behalf of employees who were victims of PPPs. The agency cited its success in protecting whistleblowers from retaliation, protecting employees from discriminatory hiring practices, obtaining stays of personnel actions, corrective action for LGBT federal employees, among others.
Amidst several accomplishments touted by Special Counsel Lerner, the agency received poor marks for the service delivered across its program areas, with the majority of respondents indicating they were very dissatisfied with the courtesy, clarity of oral communications, clarity of written communications, timeliness, and results provided by OSC.
OSC anticipates its workload to increase even more in FY 2015, where it expects to receive over 6,000 new cases, a more than 60 percent increase over the ten-year averaged annual case load. The agency’s case backlog is also growing, challenging the small agency to meet growing demands with limited resources.
“OSC is one of the most cost-effective methods of promoting good government, preventing violations of merit system principles, and protecting taxpayers, by curbing fraud, waste and abuse. OSC does so with very limited resources, but we are stretched beyond our carrying capacity,” Special Counsel Lerner wrote in the message accompanying the report. “As Special Counsel, I look forward to working with Congress to identify how OSC can perform its important mission even better. A strong OSC makes for a more efficient, accountable, and fair federal government.”
The OSC annual report was posted online by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).
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