Camarda Out - Altemus In as JSC's Director of Engineering

Reader note: "Astronaut Charlie Camarda has been replaced as Director of Engineering at JSC by Steve Altemus. This happened rather suddenly. No reason for this change has been provided - officially."

Editor's note: The following email was sent by Camarda to a large distribution list: [excerpt]:"I cannot accept the methods I believe are being used by this Center to select future leaders. I have always based my decisions on facts, data and good solid analysis. I cannot be a party to rumor, inuendo, gossip and/or manipulation to make or break someone's career and/or good name."


From: Camarda, Charles J. (JSC-EA)
Sent:Monday, June 26, 2006 11:35 AM
To:Altemus, Stephen J. (JSC-EA) [long list deleted]
Subject: My Parting Words to the Organization I am Honored to Have Had the Opportunity to Lead

Team,

I want you all to know how proud I am of the efforts you have made to ensure a safe return to flight for STS-121. I am most proud of the way I can count on you to do and say the right thing and stand up and be counted. I have witnessed it daily as your Director and I know this first hand after serving as a crewmember on STS-114. My wife Melinda and my family were confident knowing my safety was in your hands (she had a speed dial list with all the key engineer's phone numbers). I was most proud at all the PRCBs and at the recent FRR when you stood up and presented your dissenting opinions and your exceptions/constraints for flight. I believe we have come a long way in a very short time and I truly believe you will become the jewel in the Exploration crown for this Agency.

I cannot accept the methods I believe are being used by this Center to select future leaders. I have always based my decisions on facts, data and good solid analysis. I cannot be a party to rumor, inuendo, gossip and/or manipulation to make or break someone's career and/or good name. I refused to abandon my position on the MMT and asked that if I would not be allowed to work this mission that I would have to be fired from my position and I was. I am truly sorry I will not be there with my team after all our hard work. I will be there in spirit and I am only a phone call away if you need me. We have much to do to prepare to support this mission and I am sure you will be the ultimate professionals that I know you are and exemplify the spirit of "teamwork" which will be needed to get the job done. Please do not let this affect your focus at this crucial time! I have been offered a position and will continue to support this Agency which I love and be a good team member. Thank you and God Bless you all,

Charlie

Please forward this note to all EA employees.


Reader note: "Mr. Camarda was not fired as a civil servant, but reassigned to the NESC (NASA Executive Safety Council). His comment likely reflects his opinion that he was "fired" from his influential position as Director of Engineering at JSC. His reassignment was announced this afternoon in a formal JSC Announcement that failed to mention either his tenure as Director of Engineering at JSC or the position he would hold at Langley Research Center. Steve Altemus, Deputy Director of Engineering, whose going-away party was abruptly cancelled on Friday, was made Director of Engineering in another JSC Announcement today. He'd been selected to be KSC's Director of Engineering until today. Charlie Camarda was on the job as of 9:30 this morning, so it was shockingly sudden, which by itself creates consternation."

Reader note: "This is so typical of NASA. I worked at JSC for 6 years as a contractor and was laid off last December. I had the pleasure of interfacing with Charlie on several occasions. He was a competent, no nonsense engineer. When he was promoted to the EA chief most of us had hope that EA would get better. Even after I was laid off I still felt that Charlie might turn it around. But the incompetent bureaucrats that reported to him were probably his downfall. With the CEV contract award coming up in August or September, I was thinking about trying to get a job with Lockheed or Boeing. But Charlie being "fired" has killed my interest. Working for the Chinese would probably be more pleasant."

Reader note: "What kind of leadership gets rid of the director of Engineering days before a launch? In particular a person that has vast proven practical knowledge of the technical issues that the next shuttle flight will have to deal with? Couldn't such leadership wait until STS-121 wheels stop?? Typical JSC strategy, either you are with them or against them. People get railroaded, become a pariah, and everyone is afraid of being next. At least Charlie refused to be part of such culture and now he pays the price. This a dark day at NASA"

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on June 26, 2006 9:02 PM.

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