(Washington, DC) – Today, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) is applauding the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) decision to grant a stay request from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) that prevents the Marine Corps from indefinitely suspending without pay “MRAP” whistleblower and GAP client Franz Gayl. The OSC sought, and was granted, a 45-day stay on the Marine Corps’ proposed suspension of Gayl, which was slated to begin today. The stay gives the OSC time to investigate the proposed suspension and decide whether to take further steps in the matter.
“GAP applauds the MSPB for granting OSC’s stay request and preventing the Marine Corps from forcing Mr. Gayl out of the agency by cutting off his pay before OSC has the chance to investigate the Marine Corps’ retaliation,” said GAP attorney Jonathan Cantú in response to the ruling. “As the OSC stated in their stay request, ‘it is difficult to imagine a case that would be more appropriate for an initial stay order than this one [where] a public whistleblower … has put his career at risk out of concern for the safety of service members in combat.’ The actions of OSC and MSPB should also be a signal to the Marine Corps to give up their wrong-headed campaign of retaliation against a dedicated employee who simply wanted to protect his fellow Marines.”
Gayl, a Marine Corps science adviser, exposed the fact that the Corps failed to provide American troops in Iraq with MRAPs – Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles – in a timely manner. These vehicles better protect soldiers against improvised explosive devices and roadside bombs. Had MRAPs been available to troops, Gayl maintains, they could have prevented many casualties and deaths. In June of this year, shortly before leaving his position, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated that the deployment of MRAPs saved “thousands of lives.” Nonetheless, for his whistleblowing, Gayl has been the target of retaliatory investigations and workplace harassment, including the elimination of meaningful duties and the loss of his security clearance.