U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL SEEKS STAY FOR
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 11/18/98
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
Today, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), asked
the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) to stay the reassignment of Mr.
Neil Jacobs from his position of Assistant District Director,
Investigations, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in Dallas,
Texas, to a non-supervisory job in the Central Regional Office, also in
OSC requested the stay after determining that its ongoing
investigation provided reasonable grounds to conclude that Mr. Jacobs’
protected whistleblowing was a contributing factor in INS’s determination
to reassign him. The MSPB has three days to rule on OSC’s stay request.
The Board generally grants initial OSC requests for stays.
Mr. Jacobs engaged in protected whistleblowing when he
testified before the U.S. House of Representatives, Subcommittee on National
Security, International Affairs and Criminal Justice of the Committee on
Government Reform and Oversight at a hearing regarding “Citizenship
USA.” In his testimony, Mr. Jacobs testified about possible fraud and
other abuses involving the INS Dallas District Office’s processing of
10,000 naturalization applications.
Prior to his testimony, Mr. Jacobs had received national
recognition for his accomplishments. For example, Jacobs was honored at the
White House for his role in “Operation Jobs,” a program he implemented
in Dallas whereby illegal aliens are removed from jobs and replaced with
welfare recipients. He received a “Golden Hammer” award from
Vice-President Al Gore for his reinvention efforts and a Ford Foundation
award for his innovations in government. Mr. Jacobs also received an INS
award for bravery, and numerous “Outstanding” annual performance ratings
and special achievement awards.
Following his testimony, INS conducted several
investigations into allegations about Mr. Jacobs’ conduct and performance,
and then, after considering removing him from his employment, eventually
proposed to demote and geographically reassign him. The agency conducted
additional investigation, and ultimately sustained only one of the five
reasons or charges and part of another. However, INS ordered a 21-day
suspension and reassignment to a non-supervisory position for allegedly
inappropriate distribution of quality step increases (QSIs) and four
incidents involving inappropriate remarks, offenses that do not appear to
warrant such harsh discipline.
OSC requested a stay to complete the investigation and
conduct a legal review of the information obtained to determine if the
disciplinary action was taken against Mr. Jacobs because of his protected
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel provides an
independent avenue to protect merit system principles in federal government.
OSC receives, investigates and prosecutes before the MSPB, allegations
concerning the commission of prohibited personnel practices, with priority
given to whistleblowers. In addition, the Office provides a secure channel
for federal workers to disclose information regarding legal violations,
gross mismanagement, fraud, waste and abuse.