Federal Drive Show Blog - July 1, 2013

Monday - 7/1/2013, 11:20am EDT

This is the Federal Drive show blog. Here you can listen to our interviews, find more information about the guests on the show each day, as well as links to other stories and resources we discuss.

Today's Interviews:

Jared Serbu
Defense Reporter
Federal News Radio

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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.

Read Jared's related article.

Bruce Fong
Associate Special Counsel
Investigation and Prosecution Division, Office of Special Counsel

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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

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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

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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.

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