Thursday, January 31, 2013

U.S. Office of Special Counsel visit U.S. Office of Special Counsel website

Semester: 2013 Spring

Project Type: Dispute System Evaluation, Stakeholder Assessment

Students: Olga Kamensky and John Abbruzzese

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency whose mandate cover violations of four federal statutes: the Civil Service Reform Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Hatch Act, and the Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

The Alternative Dispute Resolution Unit’s Mediation Program provides alternative means for resolving Civil Service Reform Act and Whistleblower Protection Act cases (collectively known as Prohibited Personnel Practices (PPP)) and USERRA cases.

For the past ten years, OSC has used mediation and conciliation for select PPP and USERRA cases.  In the spring of 2012, HNMCP partnered with OSC to formulate a broad range of recommendations on a series of critical threshold ADR program questions.  In this second project, students will delve deeper into the issues identified in the first study, examining issues of evaluation, ADR convening and preparation, confidentiality, and settlement agreements.

Our Work

  • Conduct interviews with external stakeholders (parties to OSC cases) focusing on issues of evaluation, preparation, confidentiality, and settlement agreements.
  • Research comparable enforcement agencies (EEOC, SEC, NRC, etc.) or non-profit or other private industry ADR program.
  • Suggest informational web content.

Deliverables envisioned:

  • Prepare and present final report to OSC Senior Staff that includes recommendations for increasing the effectiveness of OSC’s overall mission and its ADR program, particularly with respect to 1) evaluation in mediation and 2) needs of parties in decision-making and preparation for mediation, and identify other areas that the ADR Unit should consider based upon stakeholder interviews and study of comparable ADR programs.
  • Draft suggested web page content to implement findings concerning a) ADR convening needs of parties and b) ADR preparation needs of parties.