In January 2005, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) implemented a plan, in part, to address a backlog of pending cases. This report discusses actions related to the development of this plan, including whether required practices and procedures were followed in contracting for the services of a management consulting company and in hiring an intermittent employee as a consultant. Also, the report identifies avenues of redress available to OSC employees for filing prohibited personnel practice allegations against OSC, and other redress options that could be made available.
Matter for Congressional Consideration
|Due to the unique nature of OSC and the difficulties involved when a prohibited personnel practice allegation is made against the Special Counsel or the Deputy Special Counsel, Congress may wish to consider affording OSC employees (and former employees and applicants for employment) alternative means of addressing prohibited personnel practice allegations other than going through OSC. These means could include establishing (1) a right to an external investigation through an independent entity, where the entity would forward its findings to the President, who would decide the appropriate action, as is done when OSC handles allegations of prohibited personnel practices against Senate-confirmed presidential appointees; or (2) an expansion of the personnel actions that could be the basis for an appeal directly to the MSPB.||In late September 2008, Congress added language to the Inspector General Reform Act of 2008, H.R. 928, to establish by statute the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency and within the Council to establish an Integrity Committee. The bill also provides that an allegation of wrongdoing by the Special Counsel or Deputy Special Counsel may be referred to the Integrity Committee. H.R. 928 was signed by the President on October 14, 2008, Public Law 110-409.|
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Administrative Resource Center||1. The Director of ARC's Division of Procurement should ensure that documents prepared by program offices requesting contracting assistance--such as statements of work and sole-source justifications--are carefully reviewed for compliance with competition requirements.|
|Office of Special Counsel||2. The Special Counsel should put in place procedures to ensure that only those officials who have taken the required training and been designated as contracting officer's representatives act in that role and that program staff do not exceed their authority in interacting with contractors.|
|Administrative Resource Center||3. The Director of ARC's Division of Procurement should ensure that ARC contracting staff, through regular communication with the program offices they support, ensure that only authorized program officials act as contracting officer's representatives.|