In response to a Justice Department request, the Interstate Commerce Commission has dropped plans to reinstate two officials until a grand jury completes its investigation into dealing the officials may have had with organized-crime-connected trucking companies.
The officials, Robert L. Oswald, 43, and Richard W. Kyle, 50, were placed on administrative leave by the ICC June 8 following public reports that they were under investigation. Oswald was the ICC's secretary and chief of congressional relations; Kyle was congressional relations deputy.
Both continue to receive full pay - $47,500 a year for Oswald and nearly $40,000 a year for Kyle - while on leave. However, the ICC was making plans to find them less sensitive jobs at the regulatory agency when the Justice Department expressed its objections.
"It is the considered judgment of the Justice Department and the ICC that Oswald and Kyle should not be returned to duty with the commission in any capacity at this time," in ICC spokesman said this week.
The grand jury is looking into the possibility that Oswald and Kyle might have passed along information on ICC decisions to trucking companies with organized-crime ties before the decisions were made public. Neither Oswald nor Kyle has been available to reporters for comment.
In a June 30 letter responding to a complaint against Oswald. ICC Chairman A. Daniel O'Neal said that when Oswald returns to duty at the ICC he will be assigned duties "separated from the sensitve responsibilities of secretary and congressional relations officer."
An ICC spokesman said O'Neal meant to say that Oswald would not be reinstated as secretary while the investigation continues.
The complaint, by Robert L. Ruttenberg of Ruttenberg Travel Service in Reading, Pa., alleges that Oswald told Ruttenberg he was on his "s . . . list" after Ruttenberg complained at an ICC hearing that he did not receive commission documents on time. Oswald denied making such a remark.