William Henck has worked inside the IRS Office of the Chief Counsel as an attorney for over 26 years. We posted his personal account, including his testimony to a retaliatory audit conducted by the IRS against him, this past February in “Inside the IRS.” We followed up with subsequent posts including part 2, part 3, and part 4.
Yesterday we learned that the IRS disseminated the following announcement by email:
Gary Gray, Deputy Associate Chief Counsel (Procedure and Administration), recently announced his plans to retire, effective August 31st, 2014, after 34 years of Federal service. Gary joined the Office of Chief Counsel in January 1999 as Assistant Chief Counsel (General Litigation) and later served as Assistant Chief Counsel (Collection, Bankruptcy and Summonses) before assuming his current position in 2007. Prior to joining the Office, from 1984-1999, he was an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, where he ultimately held the position of Assistant Chief, Appellate Section, Tax Division. From 1980-1984, Gary was a Captain in the Army JAG Corps.
Over the past 30 years, Gary has been a driving force in the development of the law with respect to IRS collection and information gathering and the defense of the Government’s interests in bankruptcy. As the principal reviewer of bankruptcy appellate matters while at the Tax Division, Gary played a key role in nearly every significant bankruptcy case decided by the Courts of Appeal during his tenure, arguing many of the cases personally. Since coming to the Office of Chief Counsel, Gary has been a critical part of the implementation of new legislation, the development of new collection processes, and the defense of IRS collection actions in the Tax Court. His hard work, critical eye, and collaborative spirit have been a model for Chief Counsel attorneys and managers and his contributions will be sorely missed.
The IRS also announced Gray’s replacement, Fred Schindler. Schindler achieved notoriety in connection with the famous IRS Anaheim conference that brought the IRS’s lavish spending on itself to public notice. Politico reported that Schindler was placed on administrative leave following the conference and, according to congressional sources, slated for termination.
The IRS message continues with the announcement of Schindler’s appointment:
We are pleased to announce that Fred Schindler will assume the role of Deputy Associate Chief Counsel (Procedure and Administration) effective September 1st, 2014. Fred joined the Office of Chief Counsel in 1998 as an attorney in the General Litigation Division and later served as Assistant to the Branch Chief, Special Counsel, and Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel in the Collection, Bankruptcy, and Summonses Division. In 2006 Fred was selected into the IRS Executive Development Program. He served as Director, Collection Policy, in the Small Business/Self Employed Operating Division from 2006 through 2010, and as Director, Implementation Oversight, in the Affordable Care Act Office from 2011 until rejoining Counsel in October 2013 as Counselor to the Associate Chief Counsel (P&A).
Bill Henck comments:
I don’t know Mr. Schindler personally, but others have told me that he is a good attorney and a good person. Maybe a subsequent investigation exonerated him regarding the Anaheim conference. However, this appears to be one more example of the arrogance displayed by IRS chief counsel management. They rammed through his selection to a Senior Executive Service position without any explanation regarding his role at the conference. They did it because they can.
It is highly unusual for a replacement to be named in the same e-mail announcing someone’s retirement. For whatever reason, they decided not to go through the usual selection process.
I called IRS public affairs this morning put in a request for comment by noon today. I was asked to submit my inquiry by email with contact information. I have confirmed receipt of my message by the IRS public affairs office; the IRS has so far declined to comment. I will update this post if I hear back from the IRS.