Federal Drive Show Blog - July 19, 2013

Friday - 7/19/2013, 2:42pm 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:

Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

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After five months as the Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner, Tom Sharpe has a pretty good idea of how he'd like to transform FAS. The biggest change that Sharpe is advocating for is to make FAS the main source of contracting for everything from technology to automobiles to janitorial services. Federal News Radio's executive editor Jason Miller joins the Federal Drive with details and reaction to the Federal Acquisition Service's plans.

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Jared Serbu
DoD Reporter
Federal News Radio

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The Defense Department is now working on a detailed contingency plan that takes the automatic budget cuts into account. This is several months after submitting a 2014 budget plan that assumed sequestration would be undone by Congress. Federal News Radio's DoD reporter Jared Serbu joins the Federal Drive with more details.

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Susan Tsui Grundmann
Chair
Merit Systems Protection Board

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So you're furloughed, and you think it's just not right. If you want to appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board, you'll have to get in line. The agency that handles federal employees' personnel claims says 2,100 furlough appeals have come in so far. Another 1,000 or so are in the pipeline. Susan Tsui Grundmann, the chair of the Merit Systems Protection Board, tells the Federal Drive MSPB employees are working overtime to process the claims.

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Michelle Colby
Branch Chief of Agricultural Defense
Homeland Security Department

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Normally when you think of saving animals, you think of veterinarians. But this guest shows that it's more than that. Michelle Colby, a veterinarian and branch chief at the Homeland Security Department, is responsible for shepherding a new vaccine that protects animals from foot-and-mouth disease through licensure. For her work, Colby has been nominated for a Service to America Medal.

PHOTOS: Meet the 2013 Service to America Medal Finalists

Related Story: DHS fast tracks licensing of animal vaccine to prevent potential outbreaks

Rex Facer
Associate Professor of Public Finance and Management
Brigham Young University's Romney Institute of Public Management

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The Army Depot in Tobyhanna Pennsylvania is the frontlines of a battle over federal pay. White-collar employees paid under the general schedule get a cost-of-living bonus for living near New York City. But their blue-collar colleagues on the federal wage system do not. Their pay is based on the cost of living in Scranton, Penn. To shed light on the disparities, the Federal Drive turns to Rex Facer, a public finance and management professor at Brigham Young University as well as a a member of the Federal Salary Council.

Ed Zurndorfer
Registered employee benefits consultant

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A few bad actors in the loan industry target members of the military and their families. In the 2013 Defense Authorization Act, Congress ordered the Pentagon to find ways of protecting military families from predatory loan practices. Many of these loans come through so-called affinity marketing programs. Registered employee benefits consultant Ed Zurndorfer joins the Federal Drive with advice for identifying and avoiding bad loan deals.

Heard Tom and Emily talk about another story during the show, but don't see it here? Check out our daily federal headlines for the latest news affecting the federal community.