Holding the Government Accountable

"Purge" at agency responsible for whistleblower protections

The press release, the letter, Congressional call for Bloch's removal, and prior abuses by Bloch.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), Government Accountability Project (GAP) and POGO sent a letter today to both Senators Collins (R-Maine) and Lieberman (D-Connecticut) (respectively the chair and ranking minority member of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs) on abuse and retaliation caused by Scott Bloch, the U.S. Special Counsel. The Office of Special Counsel, which Bloch heads, is responsible for protecting federal employee whistleblowers. However, Bloch has created a culture of fear at the OSC, emulating the practices he is supposed to defend federal employees against.

Twelve employees (approximately 20 percent of the legal and investigative team at headquarters, including two of the four career senior executives at OSC) are being involuntarily reassigned across the country to Dallas, Oakland and the new Detroit field offices. They are also being given an egregiously short amount of time (ten days) to agree to the reassignments or be fired. Meanwhile there are eleven vacancies at OSC's federal office. Because of the vast expense of relocating employees and the simulatenous need for them in the federal office, the move makes no financial sense and amounts to waste.

This reorganization, as well as the creation of the Detroit field office, appear to be the result of Bloch's dictatoral management style. Bloch, in a press release announcing the creation of the Detroit office, asserted that the office was created “after extensive discussions with staff and an outside assessment team's review of the Agency's structure.” Yet there were no "extensive discussions with staff" and the assessment team's review did not recommend a new office in Detroit or anywhere else for that matter. Also, this review suggested reducing the layers of management in OSC's investigative and prosecution divisions--Bloch has added to them since the review.

It is likely that Bloch is attempting to clear the way for his own hand-picked employees, who he did not hire competitively, by relocating career public servants who have dissented internally. Virtually all of the career employees being forced to move or be fired, have engaged in mild discussions with Bloch in disagreement with his management and policy decisions since he came to OSC from the Justice Department's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives just over a year ago.