IRS Tax Whistleblower Articles

Martin and Whitlock to Switch as OPR and
Whistleblower Heads

By Nathan J. Richman
Tax Notes Today

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On August 3, Lee Martin, acting director of the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility, will take over as director of the IRS Whistleblower Office, and Stephen Whitlock, current director of the Whistleblower Office, will take over as OPR director, the IRS has announced.

The announcement came in a July 23 internal message to IRS employees.

In addition to serving as acting director of OPR since the retirement of Karen Hawkins this month, Martin has been serving as deputy director of OPR. (Prior coverage .)

Before joining OPR, Martin was director of enterprise network operations in the IRS's information technology organization. Before joining the IRS, he held management positions with AT&T and with SmartPages.com, according to the announcement.

Whitlock, before serving as the first director of the Whistleblower Office, had also served as deputy director of OPR and had previously been director of the IRS commissioner's complaint processing and analysis group. The IRS noted that before joining the IRS, Whitlock "held numerous leadership positions" in the Office of the Inspector General and the Department of Defense.

Dean Zerbe of Zerbe, Fingeret, Frank & Jadav PC commended Whitlock on the work done in starting up the Whistleblower Office. "Steve accomplished a great deal and got the program going in the right direction," he said. The Whistleblower Office lost two other members of its top management recently, presenting a challenge to the new head, Zerbe noted.

Zerbe said that Martin's skill set from his prior experience looks like a good fit for his new role, adding that he hopes that Martin, and other new members of the Whistleblower Office, will expand on the work done by Whitlock. "I think it is a chance to really revisit the role of the Whistleblower Office," he said. The program is already succeeding at bringing in information, but there is a chance to build on that early success, he said.

Erica L. Brady of the Ferraro Law Firm wished Whitlock well on his return to OPR. "We will miss Director Whitlock he has done a great job in the post, shaping the Whistleblower Office and getting it as far as he has, and I am sure that acting Director Martin will carry the torch even further," she said.

Brady said that she and her firm look forward to getting to know Martin as the new head of the Whistleblower Office. "It will be interesting to see how someone that has come from outside of government" will shape the Whistleblower Office, she said, adding that the private experience should make the importance of whistleblower information particularly clear to Martin. "We hope that acting Director Martin makes paying awards a high priority during his tenure, as this is what will attract additional whistleblowers to come forward," she said.