The deal expands the range of issues that the agency must bargain with the union over, as well as gives the union the added ability to slow agency activities by requiring its express written approval prior to implementing certain changes, according to the complaint.
The complaint alleges that Cuccinelli abused his authority by entering into the agreements on behalf of ICE because of questions about whether he was lawfully serving as deputy secretary of Homeland Security. His official title was senior official performing the duties of the deputy secretary.
The whistleblower complaint, which was sent on Monday to Congress, the Office of Special Counsel and the DHS Office of Inspector General, was brought by a current federal employee who wishes to remain anonymous.
The agreements are an example of the “prior administration’s effort in its waning hours to cement a legacy at taxpayer expense,” wrote David Seide, Senior Counsel at Government Accountability Project in the complaint.
Cuccinelli disputed the allegations, telling CNN the agreements were done to address unresolved issues.
In a statement, he said, “The union in question has had a significant number of issues that have gone unresolved through multiple administrations. With the advice and counsel of the Office of the General Counsel, I executed appropriate agreements to finally address many of these previously unresolved issues.”
“As best I can tell, the primary basis for the complaint is that I did my job well, to the chagrin of the complainer,” he added.
When asked why the agreement was signed on his last day in office, Cuccinelli said “that was when the work was completed.”
The National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council did not respond to request for comment.
An ICE spokesperson told CNN on Tuesday the department is reviewing the terms of the union agreement.
“DHS takes whistleblower complaints very seriously and supports the rights of whistleblowers to engage in protected activity. As provided for by statute, the Department is reviewing the terms of the agreement,” the agency spokesperson said in a statement.
Fahey was replaced by a career official in an acting capacity.
Cuccinelli said, given the timing, it would have been “unfair to put the acting director into such a position” to sign the agreements, when. He had already been working with the general counsel’s office to complete the work.
According to the complaint, the Biden administration may have time to undo the union deal, since the agreements are subject to disapproval by the head of DHS if done within 30 days of the date of the agreement.