U.S. Office of Special Counsel
1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 218
Washington, D.C. 20036-4505
OSC: Personnel Violation At Energy Dept Facility
Watchdog Agency Wins Corrective Action
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 8/28/07***
CONTACT: Loren Smith, 202-254-3714,
WASHINGTON, DC – An official at the U.S.
Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois improperly
canceled a recruitment announcement once he learned his preferred candidate
was not in the running, and then reworded the announcement to ensure that
candidate would win.
The cancellation of the announcement constituted a violation
of the Prohibited Personnel Practices (PPP) statute designed to protect the
merit system and worker rights. The law is enforced by the U.S. Office of
Special Counsel OSC), a federal independent watchdog agency.
After receiving a complaint, OSC conducted an investigation
and found that there had been a violation of 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(6).
The agency agreed to a settlement whereby the candidate who
received preferential treatment will be removed, and a new recruitment
action announced for the position. Further, no officials involved with the
previous announcements will be overseeing the new one, and previous
applicants will be notified and invited to reapply. The official responsible
for the violation has retired.
The U.S. Special Counsel, Scott Bloch, said, “Stopping
violations such as this one is crucial to the functioning of the merit
system. They may seem minor, but if allowed to proliferate quietly, they
will inevitably erode public confidence. OSC will remain vigilant against
all violations of our statutes.”
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent
investigative and prosecutorial agency and operates as a secure channel for
disclosures of whistleblower complaints. Its primary mission is to safeguard
the merit system in federal employment by protecting federal employees and
applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially retaliation for
whistleblowing. OSC also has jurisdiction over the Hatch Act and the
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). For more
information please visit our web site at
www.osc.gov or call 1 (800) 872-9855.
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