Wednesday, January 12


Whistleblower Staff Claiming Retaliation
Forced Moves to New “Midwest Field Office”

The U.S. Special Counsel, the principal protector of federal whistleblower and merit system rights, has abruptly ordered more than 20 percent of his headquarters legal and investigative staff to relocate or be fired. According to a letter of protest filed today by three national whistleblower watchdog groups, those targeted for forced moves are all career employees hired before Bloch became Special Counsel, as part of a purge to stifle dissent and re-staff the agency with handpicked loyalists.
"This crude purge attempt is just the latest stage in Scott Bloch’s reign of terror at the Special Counsel,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch who referred to Bloch’s previous issuance of gag orders to staff directing them not to discuss problems with the office. “The only thing this Special Counsel has brought to the merit system is new techniques for circumventing it.”

In a January 7th press release, Bloch claims that the Detroit office was created “after extensive discussions with staff and an outside assessment team’s review of the Agency structure.” In fact, none of the affected staff was notified in advance, let alone party to “discussions,” about the move. Moreover, the assessment review did not recommend creation of a new office; in fact the creation of the new office and the transfer of senior executives to field offices is directly contrary to the assessment team’s recommendations.

“The irony is overwhelming – how could the federal protector of whistleblowers make a bigger mockery of his agency's mission than this?” asked Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight, adding that members of Congress have already called for Bloch’s removal and employees may now have to rely on Congress to intervene to stop the move. “The pattern of behavior from the Special Counsel certainly indicates he took this job to dismantle the office, rather than its mission."

But of course that's the point. Bush systematically appoints cabinet secretaries and top bureaucrats whose sole responsibility is to undermine the mission of their agency and ultimately leave it gutted and useless.


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