An official stay request submitted by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has been approved by the Merit Systems Protection Board on behalf of ATF Special Agent Vince Cefalu, the agent recently issued termination papers in a Denny's Restaurant parking lot. The stay request was submitted to the Department of Justice and requests the removal of Cefalu be postponed for 45-days so the OSC has an opportunity to investigate the circumstances surrounding the termination. Specifically, the order requests more time to investigate "whether the agency's decision to remove him from his Senior Operations Officer position violated the First Amendment and constituted a prohibited personnel practice under 5 U.S.C. 2302(b)(12)," according to documents.
The stay request reveals Cefalu was fired for "lack of candor." ATF managers determined Cefalu's lack of candor based on testimony given under subpoena in a hearing on a criminal defendant's motion to suppress evidence according to the stay request. The OSC is arguing Cefalu cannot be terminated because he was not "cross examined about 'the basis of his opinions,' 'he fully disclosed to the court the existence of limitations on his knowledge,' 'his subjective opinions were based on his earlier experience in dealing with local law enforcement officials,' and he was 'sincere.'" In short, ATF managers fired Cefalu because they didn't like the opinions he gave under oath during testimony; testimony he was subpoenaed to give and testimony in which he had an obligation to tell the truth or face a perjury charge.
Cefalu has stated his firing is also a result of him co-founding ATF whistleblower website Cleanupatf.org and being publicly outspoken about Operation Fast and Furious.
The OSC has also requested Cefalu be returned to work as a full time ATF Special Agent with full pay and "duty status until the stay expires or is otherwise lifted."