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Elaine Kaplan Named OPM's General Counsel

By Ed O'Keefe
Elaine Kaplan
Elaine Kaplan, photographed in 2000, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by James M. Thresher/The Washington Post)

Elaine Kaplan will serve as one of President Obama's lead advisors on federal human resource issues in her new role as general counsel of the Office of Personnel Management. The agency's acting director, Kathie Ann Whipple, appointed her to the job today, calling her "uniquely qualified" to serve OPM. Currently a senior deputy counsel at the National Treasury Employees Union and the former head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, Kaplan also led the Obama transition team's government operations group. While she was appointed by OPM's acting director, she is expected to keep the job whenever John Berry, Obama's pick to lead OPM, wins Senate confirmation.

Kaplan's legal career began more than 25 years ago in the Solicitor’s office of the Labor Department. She joined NTEU in 1984 and supervised its federal caseload until 1998, when President Clinton appointed her to lead the OSC. Kaplan joined employment law firm Bernabei and Katz at the end of her term in 2003, then rejoined NTEU in 2004. She has also served as an adjunct professor at American University's School of Public Administration since 2004.

Some observers suggest Kaplan's new OPM job could mean the end of a legal battle between the federal government and NTEU regarding the Federal Career Intern Program.

A Brooklyn, N.Y. native, Kaplan graduated from the State University of New York in Binghamton in 1976 and earned a J.D. from Georgetown University in 1979.

By Ed O'Keefe  | March 17, 2009; 4:55 PM ET
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I have had considerable experience dealing with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) during the period it was headed by Elaine Kaplan. I can say unequivocally that this is one woman who does not belong in any public office. An appointment as a lawyer for the OPM gives Kaplan the chance to do maximum damage to our civil service. I know because my case was placed on the Special Counsel's website as the 1 in more than 1000 complaints the Special Counsel settled favorably for a veteran in 1998. What the Special Counsel really did was to get a Forest Service employee caught red-handed misapproptiating $20,000 to bribe me to withdraw from a civil service selection only a one-week suspension instead of time in a federal prison, where she belonged. Before, during, and after Kaplan's tenure with the Office of Special Counsel, this agency guaranteed every federal supervisor that he or she could suppress whistleblowers with complete impunity, deny employment to veterans, and appoint totally unqualified people to high positions throughout the civil service. Now that she is again in a position to do more damage to the civil service, we can expect corruption without limit in every agency. The carnage in New Orleans and the streets full of homeless veterans are just preludes to the disasters we can now expect.

Posted by: cwheckman | March 19, 2009 3:11 AM | Report abuse

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