WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The American Federation of Government Employees today called for an investigation into the Office of Special Counsel (OSC). The request follows a highly unusual move by OSC chief Scott J. Bloch, who has given a handful of OSC career employees 10 days to agree to move to offices thousands of miles from their Washington, D.C., homes, or face termination. All the affected employees work in the OSC's whistle-blower protection unit and were hired by Bloch's predecessors. None of Bloch's hand-picked hires are being transferred.
According to a letter delivered to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee by three government watchdog groups, those selected for transfer were senior employees who had questioned either the OSC's current management practices or policy decisions made by Bloch.
"The word 'ironic' doesn't even begin to describe this situation, in which federal employees entrusted with protecting other federal workers from retaliation for whistle-blowing find themselves suffering apparent retaliation for raising red flags on management problems," said AFGE General Counsel Mark Roth. "This is yet further evidence of the contempt with which the current Administration regards the duty of public workers to protect the public interest."
The three watchdog groups--the Government Accountability Project, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, and the Project on Government Oversight--have called on Congress to investigate the transfers. "AFGE seconds that motion wholeheartedly," added Roth.