Office of Special Counsel Releases Open Government Plan; Some Required Plans Still Missing

Although it was not required to do so under the Open Government Directive, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) recently released its open government plan, spotlighting an initiative to prevent employer retaliation against whistleblowers. The plan also includes the agency’s initiative to proactively disclose documents identified by external stakeholders and staff, including advisory opinions, materials related to whistleblower disclosures, policy materials, and more. We appreciate the agency’s work to make its work more open and transparent.

The White House’s second National Action Plan makes protections for whistleblowers an essential part of open government; it requires all federal agencies to be certified under OSC’s 2302(c) program every three years. The OSC program requires that agencies provide information about the Whistleblower Protection Act and the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act during new employees’ orientation and display posters at agency facilities on disclosures and prohibited retaliation practices.

OMB and VA Plans Missing

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of Veteran Affairs are each required to release an open government plan. Under the Administration’s updated guidance, their plans were due on June 1st, 2014. As Executive Director Patrice McDermott made clear in a recent Roll Call op-ed, transparency should be the foundation of the VA’s recovery from its recent health care failings. The OMB should serve as an example for other agencies’ plans. Instead, it is a glaring omission.

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