POGO often talks about how not to treat whistleblowers—retaliating against them, ignoring them, and marginalizing them—yet we often do not hear about how government agencies should treat someone who shines the light on significant wrongdoing.
This morning’s broadcast of Democracy Now! provides an example of how legislators, and inspectors general (IG), can pick up the baton from a whistleblower. Democracy Now’s host Amy Goodman interviews Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer and former vice president of his power plant who blew the whistle on inadequate storage of radioactive material at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant 20 years ago. While the Nuclear Regulatory Commission did not confirm his allegations, then-Ohio Senator John Glenn and the IG substantiated his allegations.
In 2008, the Vermont State Legislature appointed Mr. Gundersen to serve in an oversight role of Energy Nuclear Vermont Yankee and in an advisory role on nuclear reliability issues to the Vermont State Legislature.
We hope that this move by the Vermont legislature serves as an example of how whistleblowers who take courageous stands, at great risk to their own careers and their families, can be tapped to serve as public servants.
-- Ingrid Drake