MSPB issues stay in veterans' preference case

The Office of Special Counsel announced it had obtained an order to stay for 45 days the Justice Department’s selection of candidates for two supervisory positions while OSC investigates allegations lodged by two preference eligible veterans.

The Office of Special Counsel announced it has obtained an order to stay for 45 days the Justice Department’s selection of candidates for two supervisory positions while OSC investigates allegations lodged by two preference eligible veterans. 

According to the agency, the vets filed complaints with OSC alleging that DOJ encouraged them to withdraw from competition for the jobs so DOJ could hire its preferred non‐veteran candidate.

OSC said this is the first time it has asked the Merit Systems Protection Board for a stay for a prohibited personnel practice case unrelated to retaliation.

OSC said it asked for the stay because it “has a reasonable belief” that DOJ’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program may have violated rules barring agency officials from giving applicants “an improper preference or advantage for employment for the purpose of improving or injuring the prospects of any particular person.”

According to the MSPB order, ICITAP officials allegedly met with the two vets individually and told them both that the highest-ranked candidate was a non-veteran who could not be hired unless they withdrew from competition. Those officials allegedly suggested that the two candidates “weigh their options and confer with each other,” but the vets did not withdraw from competition, the order stated. When ICITAP nonetheless tried to hire its preferred candidate, human resources officials prevented them from doing so, and the agency later canceled the vacancy announcements without making a selection, according to the order. The agency later re-advertised both positions.

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