OSC Seal

 U.S. Office of Special Counsel
 1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 218
 Washington, D.C. 20036-4505


CONTACT: CATHY DEEDS, 202-254-3600

      Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch is pleased to announce that the chronic backlog of cases has been reduced for the first time in years, and announced several new initiatives to advance and guard merit system principles, streamline customer service, and improve case processing.

Backlog of Cases Reduced

      Upon taking office in January 2004, Special Counsel Bloch publicly pledged to give full and fair resolution to all meritorious cases filed with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), and worked diligently to reduce the unacceptably high number of backlogged cases. At the end of the first year, he and his team have reduced the pending backlog by over 80 percent. Last year, the number of pending whistleblower claims was 690, prohibited personnel practice claims were more than 600, and Hatch Act complaints numbered nearly 200. Moreover, OSC has doubled the internal referral rate of meritorious cases for further action in the investigation and prosecution unit. Presently, the numbers of pending older complaints are approximately less than 100, 30, and 40, respectively, due to the outstanding work of the professional staff, and several new internal procedures that the Agency divisions will build upon to implement permanent solutions.

USERRA Enforcement Role Expanded

      OSC has the sole enforcement authority to prosecute the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) of 1994 violations among the Federal workforce. USERRA requires full reemployment with benefits to all demobilized Reserve and Guard forces returning to their civilian jobs while also prohibiting any discrimination in employment because of past, present or future military service. Special Counsel Bloch takes this law seriously and has been active in enforcing it. He filed the first ever OSC claim with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) in June 2004. On December 10, 2004, President Bush signed a new law, the Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2004 (PL 108-454), which provides for a three-year demonstration project that authorizes OSC to investigate about half of the Federal sector USERRA claims.

Customer Service Unit Created

      A new customer service unit will be created to better serve the public and Federal employees and OSC operational units. Having specific personnel assigned for this purpose will help OSC gain a reputation of better customer service within the Federal workforce. Currently, this function is handled by rotating OSC staff to handle specific inquiries from the public or help with filing complaints and/or filling out forms.

      OSC’s mission is to serve Federal employees who may have a legitimate complaint and also to the public who may not understand the Agency mission or jurisdiction, or who may have other questions.

New Midwest Field Office Created

      Special Counsel Bloch also announced the creation of a new Midwest Field Office, in Detroit, MI, scheduled to open in March 2005. Presently, OSC has two field offices, in Dallas, TX and Oakland, CA. After extensive discussions with staff and an outside assessment team’s review of the Agency structure and organization, the decision was made to enhance field operations and “power down” from a D.C.-centric based operation. The Special Counsel believes that by expanding this modular team approach, it will foster healthy competition and flexibility among more efficient units and will ultimately keep the backlog of cases down. Some DC staff will be reassigned to the field offices in OSC’s effort to strategically align the agency to meet critical mission requirements.

      Special Counsel Bloch is eager to meet the new challenges in 2005, and build upon successes of the first year. “The mission and goals of OSC remain the same -- to secure justice for all Federal employees who come to this Office expecting results. We will do so in a more timely fashion.” Bloch explained, “The reorganization is directly related to the Agency mission to help us create a more efficient Federal workforce, inspire integrity, and safeguard public trust. I have full confidence in my professional staff and believe these changes will strategically place people in the right positions of leadership and allow for greater personal development of our dedicated employees.”



The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency and operates as a secure channel for disclosures of whistleblower complaints and abuse of authority. Its primary mission is to safeguard the merit system in Federal employment by protecting Federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially retaliation for whistleblowing. OSC also has jurisdiction over the Hatch Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). For more information please visit our web site at www.osc.gov or call 1-800-872-9855.