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Aug 11, 2006

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Joe Carson

I suggest we are talking past one another. I contend OSC is a systemic, years-long, lawbreaking failure in complying with its statutory duties to protect federal employees from PPP's, particularly (but not limited to) whistleblower reprisal.

"Lawbreaking" is the key word. OSC is either complying with its statutory obligations to those who seek its protection from PPP's or it is not. If it is, then you are right, I am incorrect in claiming it to be "lawbreaking," but I believe I am still correct in stating there has been no independent oversight of OSC's compliance with its statutory duties to protect federal employees from PPP's since it was created as an independent agency in 1989.

If I am correct in claiming OSC has systemically failed to comply with its statutory duties to protect federal employees from PPP's, then Elaine Kaplan, as other career and appointed, past and present attorneys employed by OSC should be evaluated for disciplinary action by the licensing organizations.

If I am correct in claiming OSC has systematically failed to comply with its statutory duties to protect federal employees from PPP's, then POGO is, like it or not implicated, as evidenced by your giving an award to Elaine Kaplan (for what - her lawbreaking failure to protect federal employees from PPP's?)

I suggest you visit a blog I created to spur calls for independent oversight of OSC's compliance with its statutory duties to protect federal employees from PPP's, (no www, after the http) if you wish to discuss specifics about OSC's public record and its statutory obligations to those who seek its protection.

About 40% of OSC's employees are licensed attorneys, most of whom have job duties involving protecting federal employees from PPP's, which, by law, is OSC's primary function and which, by law, includes acting in the interest of those who seek its protection. To this point, they have not "blown whistles" on OSC's lawbreaking failure to protect those who seek its protection, in my opinion, contrary to the "doubly sworn" duty as attorneys and federal employees. Neither have attorneys in so-called "whistleblower advocacy groups" or in the private sector who represented clients while they sought OSC's protection or afterwards, despite their positive legal duty to be "zealous advocates" of their clients' wellbeing, implicitating their professional ethics.

My first post made a number of statements, you did not clearly specify which your found incorrect.

Can POGO, at any time since 1989, assure any federal employee that OSC is complying with its statutory duty to protect federal employees from PPP's? If so, based on what? If not, why not and why has POGO not detailed it concerns about OSC's non-compliance with its statutory duties to protect federal employees from PPP's?

OSC does not have to behave as we might wish in areas where it has discretion, but it does have to comply with its statutory obligations, if American government is based on rule of law. If it is not doing so, the established mechanisms for seeking redress are the Courts and Congress.

Connie the Contractor

Mr. Carson -

You are incorrect. POGO has long focused on improving the work of the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), and the protections afforded Federal employees who report misconduct, fraud, waste and abuse. The fact is that, with few exceptions since its creation, OSC has done a poor job of protecting Federal employees. There are many reasons for this. First, most complaints filed at OSC really don’t have merit, so many employees aren’t deserving of protection. Second, the ones that do have merit and involve genuine political retaliation are very difficult for OSC to deal with. Instead, OSC prefers to focus on outright petty management retaliation cases among career employees, which are hardly a big deal, and which receive little public attention.

You also need to keep in mind that while OSC can restore an aggrieved Federal employee’s position and pay, there is little they can do to restore the employee’s status and responsibility in an agency that wants to get rid of the person. That would require changing lots of people and a cultural attitude. That isn’t going to happen.

But you are definitely wrong about POGO and the OSC. If you check the record, you will see that POGO was a big supporter of Elaine Kaplan, the previous Special Counsel. In fact, they gave her an award in 2003.

Joe Carson

No one - not in Congress, the administration, federal employee unions, or government oversight NGO's as POGO - can tell any federal employee, based on results of any Congressional or other independent oversight, that if they responsibly act to uphold the merit system principles of the federal civil service, that the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, created in 1989 as an independent executive branch agency, for the primary purpose of protecting federal employees from "prohibited personnel practices," particularly whistleblower reprisal, will comply with its statutory obligations to protect them.

These obligations include acting in the interest of those who seek its protection.

If OSC complies with the law, the Federal Air Marshalls do not need to go public with their concerns.

Lots of people criticize President Bush for using the "war on terror" as a cover for a power grab to advance the political ends of his political base, that he really does not want it resolved because he and his backers obtain significant political gain from its existence.

I suggest a similar criticism can be leveled at organizations as POGO - if they really wanted to help concerned federal employees, instead of using their plight to advance their own interests - they would ensure the Office of Special Counsel obtained adequate independent oversight to verify its compliance with its statutory duties to protect concerned federal employees. This they have not done, not in 17 years, since OSC was created as an independent agency in 1989.

Instead, they focus on claims that the current Special Counsel is a homophobe or did not fully comply with regulations in hiring a consultant. It's just self-serving politics as usual, with even greater hypocrisy than those they criticize for acting in self-interest.

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