Social Security Administration (SSA) whistleblower Ronald Klym was abruptly placed on administrative leave and told to leave the Milwaukee building Thursday afternoon, following his disclosures of wrongdoing to the media earlier this week.
Chief Judge Christopher Messina briefly spoke with Klym Thursday and told him to clear out his desk and leave right away.
Klym agreed to this demand, closed out his computer account and walked out, but before he did, he asked to have a third-party witness present for his departure. This third-party witness was one of the security guards at the Milwaukee facility, who was not under direct control of SSA.
Just before Klym was instructed to leave, he was called in for a performance review by Trevor Pelot, his former supervisor, who had been promoted to director of the office on Monday. He scheduled the meeting, even though he was no longer Klym’s supervisor.
“They’re violating the rules they set for themselves,” Klym told TheDCNF.
The meeting came about after M.D. Kittle, an investigative journalist at Watchdog.org, contacted Pelot Monday afternoon. Kittle’s piece, which was published Wednesday, laid out Klym’s whistleblower case against SSA in full detail.
Klym decided to keep the door open to Pelot’s office when he went in for a meeting. Pelot told him he had violated the public trust and that he was not working in the interests of the public, which is when the meeting abruptly ended.
Within about 30 minutes, Messina arrived at Klym’s desk to tell him he needed to clear out.
Apparently Klym, a senior legal assistant, “violated the public trust” by discussing problems at SSA with the press. He works for administrative judges who decide Social Security disability benefits cases and has been with SSA for 16 years.
For several of those years, Klym tried to discuss serious management problems with officials and legislators, only to be either ignored or retaliated against by the agency.
“It’s a pattern of activity,” Klym told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Unreasonable work demands, having disciplinary actions held over you over a time frame, and I’m not the only one in the Milwaukee office who is going through this.”
In short, to hide the backlog of claims for disability benefits, the Milwaukee office regularly transfers claims around the country to make it appear as though it’s actually reducing the backlog and making major progress. The progress, however, is nothing more than sleight of hand.
Now, agency officials have taken a much more heavy-handed approach to silencing him.
Klym is due back in the office on Monday, at which point he will have a discussion with Judge Messina on his future with the agency.
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