NPR: A federal office that ran aground under the Bush administration is about to get a new leader. The White House plans to nominate Carolyn Lerner to run the Office of Special Counsel, which represents federal whistle-blowers and other victims of discrimination within the government.
Whistle-blower groups applaud the nomination and call it long overdue.
“She’s a great choice,” says Debbie Katz, a private lawyer who represents government whistle-blowers. “She’s going to have her work cut out for her.”
….The morale problem is partly due to the tumultuous reign of the last head of the office, Scott Bloch … Bloch was removed from office at the end of the Bush administration and later pleaded guilty to withholding information from Congress.
….Since the start of Bloch’s tenure in 2004, whistle-blowers across the federal government have said they have had no good place to turn. “Literally hundreds of whistle-blowers every year who can’t afford a due process hearing or trial are defenseless when they try to defend the public against betrayals of trust,” says Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project. “They can be fired virtually at will, and if they go to the Office of Special Counsel, they’ll be on an endless treadmill that goes nowhere.”
… Lerner founded a civil rights and employment law firm in Washington, D.C., and she has worked on the sorts of retaliation and discrimination cases that characterize the workload of the Office of Special Counsel. She must be confirmed by the Senate before her five-year term can begin.