Joe Davidson, who writes about the federal government for The Washington Post, points out that there are a lot of so-called appreciation days.
There’s Houseplant Appreciation Day in January, Truck Driver Appreciation Week in September and National Nurses Week in May, not to be confused with Emergency Nurses Week in October or Perioperative Nurses Week in November.
He said he ignores all of them but one — National Whistleblower Appreciation Day. To mark the day, the National Whistleblower Center held its annual event Tuesday. The Capitol Hill celebration featured remarks from whistleblowers and the lawmakers, advocates and family members who support them. The gathering took place during an annual series of panels, workshops and films known as the Whistleblower Summit. Find a video of the event below.
Davidson of the Post notes that:
National Whistleblower Appreciation Day reminds us just how little appreciation the government too often demonstrates for many who suffer retaliation by agency supervisors.
Several speakers told their own stories of doing the right thing and getting punished for it. They were recognized for their courage and promised more protection.
“I was one sister they could not stop,” said Sheila White, whose seven-year battle with railroad shipping company Burlington Northern & Santa Fe (BNSF) was fought all the way to the Supreme Court. White offered both inspiration and practical advice: “Documentation is your best friend.”
A group of federal government auditors used the day to restate their support for whistleblowers by offering better reporting tools and data. Inspector general offices are independent auditing and investigative programs within federal agencies. The report and a new website came from the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE).
Michael Horowitz, Justice Department IG, said at the event that federal investigators want to encourage whistleblowers to come forward. The new website is also aimed at educating the government agencies that the IGs oversee, he said.
“We don’t want to be in a situation where we address retaliation,” Horowitz said. “We want to prevent retaliation.”
The organization report on whistleblowing included cases gleaned from 12,000 IOG reports. They involve a range of different agencies, from the Postal Service to Homeland Security. Bad acts include drug shortages at a VA hospital, disability fraud, mislabeled drugs, abusive supervisors, bloated travel accounts, airline inspection shortfalls and more.
Several speakers took time to remember Ernie Fitzgerald, who died in February at the age of 92. In 1968, A. Ernest Fitzgerald revealed a $2.3 billion cost overrun in the Air Forces’ Lockheed C-5 aircraft program.
For the full video from the event, see below. For more comments from the speakers see the NWC Twitter feed.