When an Army civilian police officer disclosed that other officers were receiving unearned pay approved by the manager, the Army rewarded his whistleblowing efforts by promptly trying to fire him, the Washington Post reports.
Whistleblower Kenneth Delano has been temporarily spared by the intervention of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), postponing the procedure for 45 days until a full investigation can be carried out.
Delano’s original disclosure was reported to the Defense Department’s inspector general back in August 2013. Two other officers were receiving $25,000 dollars each in a process approved by managers. While the Army did in fact stop paying the officers, it followed up by ordering an investigation of a car crash Delano had suffered. Delano’s patrol car had been damaged. Steering routinely malfunctioned on the car.
The investigator, interestingly enough, was one of the officers Delano had reported for receiving extra pay without any corresponding increase in work. He protested the investigation, citing a conflict of interest, but his request for a new investigator was denied. The officer concluded that Delano had actually damaged the car, and also reported that Delano further made misleading statements during the investigation. The Army subsequently tried to fire Delano, but the OSC jumped in at just the right time to intervene.
“Based on the totality of facts, OSC concludes that there are reasonable grounds to believe that retaliation for whistleblowing at least contributed to the Army’s decision to propose Delano’s removal,” the OSC said.
Now, the firing is stayed at least for 45 days, and the Army will have to bide its time until a determination is made. The OSC will continue its investigation into the allegations without interference. The names of the employees making an extra $25,000 a year for nothing have not been released by the OSC.