Category Archives: Websites/Databases/Blogs

Whistleblowers/Eco-Heroes – New Tools For Embattled Public Servants

Source: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), December 2014

From the press release:
A unique new online legal help center for federal, state and contract employees confronting whistleblower-related issues was unveiled today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Besides proving breakdowns of the scope and strength of whistleblower-related laws, the site enables public employees to schedule free consultations with PEER attorneys….

The new web center provides breakdowns on topics such as –
Recent changes in federal whistleblower law;
How new federal scientific integrity policies work;
New whistleblower protections for employees of federal contractors, subcontractors and grantees;
The evolving and expanding whistleblower responsibilities of Inspectors General;
Whistleblower protections in environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act and Superfund; and
The False Claims Act and whistleblower bounty programs.

The coverage of whistleblower laws, especially at the federal level, has grown in recent years. The importance of these statutory whistleblower rights has been magnified by a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court decision largely stripping government workers of on-the-job First Amendment free speech protections.
Besides federal law, the PEER website displays a detailed analysis and comparison of whistleblower laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The site specifies which states cover what disclosures, under which circumstances and with what remedies….
Examine new legal resource center for public agency and university scientists
Look at diminished First Amendment protection for government workers
See rating of each state whistleblower law
Revisit the case of Chief Chambers of the U.S. Park Police

These vendors take in hundreds of millions of dollars serving Massachusetts colleges and universities

Source: Mary Moore, Boston Business Journal, September 12, 2014

They seldom get the headlines of a Harvard University or a Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but hundreds of companies in Massachusetts support higher education institutions across the state under contracts that total in the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars. The Boston Business Journal reviewed the money spent in the 2013 fiscal year on independent contractors by more than two dozen colleges and universities in Greater Boston – the most expensive contracts at each school — and found a total of more than $709 million. That doesn’t count several dozen additional nonprofit colleges or universities and hundreds if not thousands of smaller contracts at each institution. Four of the biggest contracts were at Harvard University. Three of those, totaling $164 million, went to construction companies and one, for $40 million, went to Brigham and Women’s Hospital for a research subcontract….

…With contracts totaling $16 million, Aramark, a food service provider, was one of the most prevalent vendors among local colleges and universities, with contracts at Simmons College, Wheaton College, Regis College, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Berklee College of Music and Stonehill College. Looking forward, construction companies and related functions, such as architects, will continue to score the biggest vendor contracts at colleges and universities, said Jim Murtha, chairman and CEO of Maguire Associates, a higher education consulting company in Concord. Construction is the type of big-ticket function that most higher education institutions cannot bring in-house, he said. Yet, new types of pricey contracts are starting to evolve – for one, outsourced facilities management services, Murtha said. Those contracts include everything from janitorial services to painting lines on a ball field. Smaller colleges, in particular, are finding it less expensive to outsource all of these functions to one vendor, rather than running part of it in-house – janitorial services, for example – and signing smaller contracts with different service providers to fill the gaps….

Dirt Diggers Digest Guide to Strategic Corporate Research

Source: Philip Mattera, Dirt Diggers Digest, September 2014

From the blog post:
This is an updated and greatly expanded version of a guide that I began publishing under the auspices of the Corporate Research Project more than ten years ago. Until now it has had three main parts covering sources of general company information, sources for analyzing a company’s key relationships (institutional investors, creditors, major customers, etc.), and sources for reconstructing a company’s accountability record (legal entanglements, labor relations, environment compliance, political influence, etc.).

Designed to be a resource for a wide variety of activist researchers, the guide focused on sources that applied to a broad range of businesses. Along with dozens of additional entries in the existing parts, the new version of the guide contains a section which for the first time provides detailed lists of industry-specific sources in the following categories:
∙ Specialized directories and data compilations
∙ Trade associations
∙ Trade publications
∙ Unions representing workers in the industry
∙ Watchdog groups monitoring the industry
∙ Regulatory agencies and disclosure documents

The guide provides hundreds of such sources for all major industries, among them aerospace, chemicals, electric utilities, mining, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, steel, telecommunications, and trucking. The directories, trade publications and data compilations include many resources known mainly to industry insiders. The lists of unions include both those representing workers in each sector in the United States as well as international labor federations bringing together unions from around the world dealing with the industry. The lists of watchdog groups include diverse organizations working to get companies in the sector to act in a more responsible manner.

Pay For Success Deals in the United States

Source: Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), April 2014

As Pay For Success models continue to evolve around the world, different markets are applying the concept in different ways. In the United States, deals are evolving from the “bottom up,” with local circumstances shaping how PFS deals progress at the state, county, and city level. This makes for a dynamic landscape of activity. In an effort to keep the field informed of efforts underway across the country, NFF has created the PFS U.S. Activity Map below. The map provides a general snapshot of PFS deal progress across the US as of April 2014. Roll over a particular state on the map to view deal progress in active states.

Pay for Success Social Impact Finance

Source: ReadyNation, 2014

This page provides a wide range of information on applying pay for success social impact finance to prenatal and early child development and learning.

Pay for success social impact finance is potentially an excellent way for business and philanthropic leaders to increase funding and demonstrate the economic power of quality early childhood investments. To help make this potential a reality, ReadyNation is leading an active effort to develop the research, operational and legal frameworks needed to set up successful early childhood pay for success (PFS) arrangements and provide advisory assistance….

Upcoming Events
Responses to State and Federal Requests for Information
Pay for Success Contract Documents
General Readings on Early Childhood Pay for Success Social Impact Finance
General Readings on Pay for Success Social Impact Finance
Kauffman-ReadyNation Working Group
Pay for Success in the News
U.S. Map of State Statutes and Activities


Source: ProcureSource, 2014

Cooperative purchasing has had a long history in government, education and with nonprofits and throughout this time the landscape has changed significantly. Legislation has been changed, options have expanded and use of cooperative contracts has become an industry norm and best practice.

This widespread acceptance has spurred the creation of many national cooperative choices — as well as confusion about the differences, advantages of each and uncertainty of the value. Agencies still need to do their due diligence to ensure compliance but gathering the documentation and reviewing information from multiple sources in multiple formats is not an easy task.

Welcome ProcureSource. We are the starting point for identifying your cooperative purchasing options. Conduct your search, access contract documents and find the information needed to confirm if the contract is eligible for use under your state laws. When you are ready to move forward, ProcureSource can point you to the cooperative or supplier to begin using the contract. …

…Contract information, documents and other cooperative and supplier details are pulled from publicly available websites that host this information. Additionally, cooperatives will submit this information directly. ProcureSource standardizes all of this information to make searching for contracts and conducting your due diligence easier. …

Website Chronicles State Subsidies To Businesses

Source: Mara Lee, Hartford Courant, December 3, 2013

In a few months, anyone will be able to call up, and search, by town or by program, for every company that received state subsidies, how much it received, and what kind of job growth its leaders promised in return.

The site is a work in progress — some companies, such as UBS, are not where they should be, and right now, the amount of money each company received is not up.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed an executive order that requires the state Department of Economic and Community Development to have the website completed by March 31, 2014.

Anyone interested in deeply digging into who is receiving state largesse, the data is available elsewhere at DECD, the agency that makes most of the decisions on which businesses deserve state support. The agency’s more than 100-page annual report will be out in a few weeks, and a detailed report through Sept. 30 is available here.
Connecticut Business Assistance

Inside the hidden world of thefts, scams and phantom purchases at the nation’s nonprofits

Source: Joe Stephens, Mary Pat Flaherty, Washington Post, October 26, 2013

…A Washington Post analysis of filings from 2008 to 2012 found that Legacy is one of more than 1,000 nonprofit organizations that checked the box indicating that they had discovered a “significant diversion” of assets, disclosing losses attributed to theft, investment fraud, embezzlement and other unauthorized uses of funds. The diversions drained hundreds of millions of dollars from institutions that are underwritten by public donations and government funds. Just 10 of the largest disclosures identified by The Post cited combined losses to nonprofit groups and their affiliates that potentially totaled more than a half-billion dollars. … As part of its analysis, The Post assembled the first public, searchable database of nonprofits that have disclosed diversions. …

Public School Shakedown

Source: Progressive, 2013

From about:
…The Progressive Magazine has launched the Public School Shakedown web site to show what is at stake as the rightwing begins to dismantle public education, to follow the money, expose the privatizers, and help parents, teachers, and concerned citizens understand what is going on and connect with each other to stick up for schools.

In straightforward, vivid, and comprehensible prose, we intend to lay out the threat to public education and help the ordinary citizens who are not education experts understand what is often opaque: Who is behind the drive to privatize public education? What are vouchers? Why are they so destructive of public education? Are children with special needs and minority and low-income students better off at voucher schools? What are the different types of charter schools? How are they different from voucher schools?…

Portal: Outsourcing America Exposed

Source: Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), 2013

When Wall Street collapsed the economy in 2008, one company eager to buy public assets from cash-strapped governments proclaimed, “Desperate governments are our best customer!” Across the country, for-profit companies are engaged in a hostile takeover of our schools, roads, prisons, drinking water, and even government itself. CMD’s “Outsourcing America Exposed” project will give taxpayers the tools they need to identify these privatizers and profiteers, their eye-popping salaries, the “fine print follies” contained in their contracts that put taxpayers on the hook — even for work not done — and how taxpayers can take back control of public assets and public services.
Featured companies include:
Sodexo, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), The GEO Group, Inc. (GEO)…
See also:
New Website Exposes Top 12 Privatizers and Profiteers in America
Source: Jackie Tortora, AFL-CIO Now blog, September 24, 2013