- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 20, 2004

Gregory R. Watchman is taking over as the head of a D.C. nonprofit that helps whistleblowers root out corporate and government wrongdoing.

Mr. Watchman, 44, joined the Government Accountability Project (GAP) in May as the new executive director. The organization, with a $2 million annual budget, protects the rights of people who speak up about abuses in the workplace and represent whistleblowers in legal cases.

Mr. Watchman said his main job is to set the strategy for the organization and its programs.

That means lobbying for stronger legal protections for whistleblowers, figuring out which whistleblowers to represent in litigation and working with companies to set up a whistleblower policy. The organization represents about a dozen people in court each year.

Mr. Watchman also is in charge of the group’s 22 staff and additional office in Seattle.

The former deputy assistant secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal office that tracks workplace safety, said he has been working lately on establishing an international whistleblower program to expand GAP’s services.

The challenge of the position is stretching the group’s limited resources, Mr. Watchman said. GAP gets its funds from foundations, individual donors, and attorneys’ fees from its litigation program.

He also acknowledged that the group has to check diligently for fake whistleblowers. “Some of the claims we get are false, but most are valid and have some merit,” he said.

Conrad Martin, chairman of GAP’s board of directors, said the board picked Mr. Watchman because of his work at the Labor Department during the Clinton administration.

While at OSHA, Mr. Watchman directed the agency’s whistleblower-protection programs and established the Whistleblower Task Force in 1997 to identify administrative reforms to improve the programs.

“Greg Watchman is the right leader for GAP at this moment in time when we are growing with new program endeavors and new opportunities and challenges in our core work of defending and protecting free speech in the workplace,” Mr. Martin said.

Mr. Watchman lives in the District with his wife, Laura, and their daughter.

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