Editor's 25 Aug note: The following farewell message was openly sent to several hundred employees at NASA MSFC. It is well worth reading.
Editor's 26 Aug Update: The author of this memo has responded with additional comments.
From: Finckenor, Jeffrey L. (MSFC-EV32)
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2008 8:23 AM
To: [Hundreds of people at NASA MSFC and Elsewhere]
Subject: Farewell Address
I wanted to let you know that I am leaving NASA. I am leaving civil service and going to work on Army helicopters, within walking distance of my current desk. My last day here is September 5.
In my 19 years here I have always been struck and humbled by the amazing level of talent of all of you. As well as how friendly, helpful and dedicated so many people have been. During much of my career here I've been tickled that I could actually get paid to do things that were so much fun.
As many of you can probably guess, the immediate cause of my departure is the CAD/PDM issue, but even I realize that this is just a symptom of much larger, agency wide problems. It just happens to be the particular symptom I'm close to and know something about. Over the last few years numerous people have asked if there was any hope the CAD/PDM problem could be fixed. My answer was usually that "I'm still here, so I still have hope". Well, I no longer have hope. With catastrophic level risks accumulating across the program, and a steadfast refusal to accept reality, it's become clear to me that as bad as things are they are going to have to get a whole lot worse before the pieces can be picked up and we can get something that works.