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Search Tags: Carolyn Lerner
A customer service representative at the IRS who repeatedly greeted taxpayers calling a help-line with a chant urging President Barack Obama's re-election in 2012 could now be facing significant disciplinary action, according to the Office of Special Counsel. It's one of three cases of improper political activity at the agency recently uncovered by OSC. Meanwhile, three career officials at Customs and Border Protection are under fire by OSC for allegedly manipulating the hiring process to install job candidates favored by political leadership into career appointments.
Union and CBP officials call for reform of outdated OT pay system, saying the purpose of Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime was misinterpreted.
Tags: workforce , management , Catherine Emerson , Jeh Johnson , DHS , Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee , John Tester , OSC , National Border Patrol Council , Brandon Judd , Ronald Vitiello , CBP , administratively uncontrollable overtime , pay and benefits , Lauren Larson
The Office of Special Counsel, the agency tasked with investigating federal-agency whistleblower claims and protecting whistleblowers, themselves, from retaliation has seen demand for its work skyrocket in the wake of recent legislative changes. Now, Carolyn Lerner, the head of the OSC, said she hopes the small agency's budget will keep pace.
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The Office of the Special Counsel wants to see the law governing the political activity of federal employees updated. Carolyn Lerner, head of the OSC, told Federal News Radio the law is outdated and has led to unintended consequences. The act was created in 1939 when "typewriters were about the most advanced means of communication," Lerner said.
A group of lawmakers has proposed an update to the law governing federal employees' political activity that would exempt some state and local employees and allow for a range of penalties other than automatic suspension for minor violations.
Not all claims of agency wrongdoing wind up with the agency IG's office. Some employees turn to the Office of Special Counsel, the independent investigative agency that acts under the authority of the Whistleblower Protection Act. OSC's relatively-low profile has grown since Carolyn Lerner, the head of the office, joined the agency about nine months ago.
The Office of Special Counsel found the HHS Secretary's remarks in February at a gala violated the law prohibiting federal employees from engaging in partisan actions. Kathleen Sebelius contends she didn't break the law.
State and local investigations make it difficult for investigators to probe possible Hatch Act violations by federal employees, said Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner. The Office of Special Counsel is asking Congress to remove OSC's duty of policing state and local issues, so it can focus on federal cases.