Federal Drive Show Blog - December 19, 2013

Thursday - 12/19/2013, 9:08am EST

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:

John Mahoney
Chairman of the Labor and Employment Practice Group
Tully Rinckey

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Earlier this year, a federal appeals court said two Defense Department employees could not appeal their demotions. That's because their jobs were deemed sensitive to national security. One managed a commissary. The other was an accounting technician.

The ruling has stoked controversy over federal employees' due process rights. Now there's even legislation in Congress. John Mahoney is the chairman of the labor and employment practice group at the law firm Tully Rinckey. He discusses the potential impact on feds.

Larry Meinert
Head of the Mineral Resources Program
U.S. Geological Survey

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Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey are working to confirm the strategic importance of a crater under Iowa. They're examining old mining channels to see if they contain important rare Earth elements now only available in China. If only those old-time miners knew. For details on what's going on, Tom and Emily spoke to the head of the Mineral Resources Program at USGS, Larry Meinert.

Steve Sebastian
Managing Director for Financial Management and Assurance Issues
Government Accountability Office

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The Homeland Security Department has received a clean financial audit for the first time in the agency's history. Its 2013 books were audited by KPMG. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) calls this achievement a milestone, but auditors identified a list of eight material weaknesses in DHS accounting. Steve Sebastian explains what this means. He's the managing director for financial management and assurance issues at the Government Accountability Office.

Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

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NASA, the Patent and Trademark Office and the Federal Communications Commission are three agencies that put a premium on management, employee engagement and training. They earned spots in the Partnership for Public Service's new list of top places to work in government. Federal News Radio Executive Editor Jason Miller posed the same three questions to NASA, PTO and the FCC. Their answers paint this picture of the optimal workplace.

Jared Serbu
DoD Reporter
Federal News Radio

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No sooner had the General Services Administration launched SAM, its System for Award Management, the trouble began. Slow speeds, frequent outages, even a serious cyber vulnerability. But a year and a half later, GSA says the system is fixed. Federal News Radio's Jared Serbu says it's looking forward to the next ten years.

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.