CASIS Director Resigns - Accusations Start To Fly - Leadership Turmoil

Resignation Letter from CASIS Executive Director Jeanne L. Becker

"As a result of undue and onerous political pressures exerted over the almost six months of existence of CASIS, business operations have been difficult in standing up this brand new organization. Unrealistic expectations have been levied collectively by Congressional staffers, by NASA (Mr. Uhran) and by ProOrbis. These pressures have placed unnecessary stress and hardship on CASIS, not only organizationally but also on management, forcing a defensive posture with constant focus on mitigation strategies to fend off political threats of the elimination of CASIS.

The fact is that ProOrbis was recruited and paid by NASA to write the ISS National Lab Reference Model, which became the basis for the NASA Cooperative Agreement Notice soliciting for a nonprofit organization to manage ISS National Lab. Space Florida contracted ProOrbis to write the CASIS proposal submitted in response to this Cooperative Agreement Notice. What remains difficult to rationalize is the fact that the interim board admittedly identified inurement and excess benefit issues even as the CASIS proposal was developed."

ProOrbis Statement re: CASIS Director Resignation

"As is a matter of public record, Dr. Becker was included in the CASIS proposal as its Executive Director. In her commitment letter submitted with the original proposal, she stated "I am supportive of the management concepts as presented in the CASIS proposal being submitted." However, since taking on this role, she has not engaged ProOrbis in the stand-up activities of CASIS as was contemplated. Issues of conflict of interest for all the principal parties were satisfactorily addressed in the Cooperative Agreement and provisions were put in place to mitigate any potential conflicts. Dr. Becker's concerns about a non-profit organization working with a private company were addressed by legal counsel, which determined that they would not in any way prevent CASIS from engaging ProOrbis or executing the proposal."

Jim Royston Named Interim Director of CASIS Dr. Jeanne Becker Steps Down From Leadership Role

"The Board received Dr. Becker's resignation last week and accepted it as a result of ongoing disputes in relation to the pace and direction of the implementation of CASIS' mission. The Board has now established an Executive Office of the Chairman within CASIS to drive the organization toward rapid development during this period."

Astrotech Corporation President Terminated, 16 July 2010

"Astrotech Corporation, a leading provider of commercial aerospace services and in the commercialization of space technologies, today announced a realignment of its corporate structure in order to optimize operational efficiencies. The Company's action follows an evaluation of each business and a review of strategic alternatives. Astrotech's corporate realignment includes the termination of James Royston, President of Astrotech Corporation."

Keith's note: I just received the CASIS statement around noon. It interesting how ProOrbis responded - directly to NASA Watch - on Sunday night - before CASIS itself even issued a statement. Also, despite issuing a statement to NASAWatch, ProOrbis has not posted anything on its website or issued statement via press release. This is a CASIS matter - why is ProOrbis taking the lead? Who is running the show here - CASIS or ProOrbis? That is what seems to be the core issue in this food fight.

Also note that interim CASIS Director Jim Royson was "terminated" as president of Astrotech in 2010. No reason is given for that termination - nor is mention made of the termination in his CASIS bio.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on March 5, 2012 12:22 PM.

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