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U.S. Office of Special Counsel

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    The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) today announced its selection of Cindy L. Snyder, a former Administrative Assistant for Budget and Accounting at the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), as the third recipient of the Special Counsel’s Public Servant Award. The Special Counsel provided the award to Ms. Snyder in recognition of the important whistleblower disclosures that she made to OSC concerning violations of law, rule, or regulation and financial mismanagement at the NCPC.

     Ms. Snyder’s disclosures to OSC triggered investigations by the Inspector General for the General Services Administration and Clifton, Gunderson, L.L.P., a private accounting firm. Those investigations revealed, among other things, significant financial mismanagement at NCPC, including violations of the Anti-Deficiency Act, a federal law designed to ensure that agencies do not enter obligations or expend funds in excess of their appropriations. The investigations also revealed misuse of a government calling card by NCPC’s Chief Operating Officer as well as violations of the federal printing statute. Copies of the investigative reports, as well as the Special Counsel’s letter transmitting the reports to the President and Congress are available for inspection by the public. 

     As a result of Ms. Snyder’s disclosures and the resulting investigations, the NCPC has implemented a wide variety of procedures to improve financial and budgetary accountability at the agency and to ensure that the procurement of printing services complies with the law. NCPC also took disciplinary action against the Chief Operating Officer, whom the investigative reports had identified as the party responsible for the majority of the violations. 

     In announcing the award, Special Counsel Elaine Kaplan observed that “By coming forward to OSC to make her disclosures, Cindy Snyder made a real difference. Ms. Snyder’s disclosures resulted in comprehensive investigations, which revealed significant violations of law as well as financial mismanagement. As a direct result of Ms. Snyder’s whistleblowing there have been important reforms at NCPC, which we hope will help that agency maintain public trust and confidence in its operations in the future.” 

     Special Counsel Kaplan further observed that she was “disappointed by comments in the press, attributed to NCPC’s Chief Operating Officer, which unfairly disparaged Ms. Snyder’s motives in coming forward.” She noted that “the use of unfounded personal attacks upon a whistleblower is an unfortunate strategy that is sometimes employed to deflect attention away from the wrongdoing the whistleblower has revealed.” By presenting Ms. Snyder with the Special Counsel’s Public Servant Award, Special Counsel Kaplan stated, “we reject this diversionary tactic and publicly recognize Ms. Snyder’s courage and adherence to the highest standards of public service.”

     The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency whose basic mission is to guard against prohibited personnel practices, with special emphasis on protecting government whistleblowers. Special Counsel Elaine Kaplan established the Special Counsel’s Public Servant Award Program in March 2001. The award was established to recognize the contributions that federal employees make to the public interest when -- often at great personal risk -- they make significant disclosures of violations of law, rule, or regulation; gross mismanagement; a gross waste of funds; a serious abuse of official authority; or a specific and substantial danger to the public health and safety.