A couple of significant changes to federal laws that protect whistleblowers take effect today. Under any federal contract that’s signed from now on, subcontractors will get protection against reprisal when they report waste, fraud or abuse. The new law is part of this year’s defense authorization bill which lets contractor employees report wrongdoing to managers within their own companies. Previous laws required them to take their complaints to the government. Margie Garrison is the Defense Department’s deputy inspector general for administrative investigations. She testified to Congress in favor of the changes and talked with Federal News Radio’s Jared Serbu about why they’re important.
In a move cheered by whistleblower advocates, the Merit Systems Protection Board has ruled that the new Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act applies retroactively. The board says it was swayed by the vast and varied arguments filed on behalf of Coast Guard employee Thomas Day. The agency reassigned Day after he reported contracting irregularities. His case is still pending. Associate Special Counsel Bruce Fong directs the Office of Special Counsel’s Investigation and Prosecution Division. He joined Tom and Emily to talk about what the ruling means.
Stan Czerwinski Director, Strategic Issues Government Accountability Office
Federal agencies spend more on grants than they do on procurements. Somewhere north of $700 billion per year. The White House recently consolidated two bodies overseeing grants into one — the Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR). But, the Government Accountability Office says COFAR needs a little attention itself. GAO made several recommendations to the agency, including more transparency. Stan Czerwinski is the director of strategic issues for GAO. He joined Tom and Emily to discuss the details of the report.
Thomas Graedel Committee Chairman National Research Council
It’s not laws or politics, but culture that most prevents the federal government from tackling issues of sustainability. That’s one finding in a new report from the National Research Council. A committee of academics, industry experts and former government officials looked at how agencies are addressing long-term challenges like the need for energy, clean water and healthy ecosystems. It found a lot of room for improvement. Committee Chairman Thomas Graedel, a professor of industrial ecology at Yale University, joined Tom and Emily to discuss the report’s findings.
Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, which airs from 6-10 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, D.C. region and online everywhere. Tom has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. Before coming to Federal News Radio, he was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines.