DESIGNATED AGENCY LIAISONS
Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent federal agency charged
with receiving and investigating allegations of prohibited personnel
practices, and when appropriate, seeking corrective and disciplinary
action. See 5 U.S.C. §§ 1211-1219 and 2301-2302. (See selected excerpts
on reverse side) Agencies are required to cooperate with OSC
investigations by providing information and copies of relevant records and
documents, and by making employees available to testify on matters under
investigation. See 5 C.F.R § 5.4. To
facilitate OSC investigations some agencies have, either formally or
informally, designated an agency employee to serve as a liaison with OSC.
of agency liaisons has been of mutual benefit for agencies and OSC.
From the agency’s perspective, a liaison can reduce disruption in
the workplace, and ensure that
witnesses and subjects understand their rights and responsibilities in
connection with the investigation. From OSC’s perspective, a liaison can
facilitate timely responses to requests for documents, timely access to
witnesses, and a secure site for interviews. A liaison can also ensure
that witnesses are aware of their responsibility to give truthful
testimony, that subjects are aware that OSC permits them to be represented
by counsel during their interviews, and that subjects and witnesses are
aware that the agency may not require the presence of agency counsel at an
interview. Agency liaisons can also have an important role in facilitating
amicable resolution of the issues under investigation.
been OSC’s experience that the interests of OSC and the agency are best
served when the roles of the designated agency liaison and the OSC
investigator are fully understood.
An agency liaison can expect that the OSC investigator will:
OSC expects the agency liaison to:
"When required by the Office [of Personnel Management], the Merit Systems Protection Board, or the Special Counsel of the Merit Systems Protection Board or by authorized representative of these bodies, agencies shall make available to them, or their authorized representatives, employees to testify in regard to matters inquired of under the civil service laws, rules, and regulations, and records pertinent to these matters. All such employees, and all applicants and eligibles for positions covered by these rules shall give to the Office, the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Special Counsel, or to their authorized representatives, all information, testimony, documents, and material in regard to the above matters, the disclosure of which is not otherwise prohibited by law or regulation. These employees, applicants, and eligibles shall sign testimony given under oath or affirmation before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths. Employees are performing official duty when testifying or providing evidence pursuant to this section."