Personnel News: April 1996 Archives

Editor's note: A letter from the Acting Deputy Administrator was released yesterday containing the following HQ's staffing guidelines for the individual codes:

M 91 40
R 61 40
S 68 40
U 47 40
X 62 40
Y 58 40
(Functional & Staff)
A 33 23
B 55 39
C 122 60
E 22 15
F 58 41
G 36 25
H 54 38
I 44 31
J 64 45
K 5 4
L 23 16
O 28 20
P 41 29
Q 45 32
Z 15 11

Total 1032 669

Mikulski Says Accelerated Downsizing at NASA HQ Is premature
Senator Expresses Outrage at Surprise Announcement
Says Agency Plan to Speed-Up Personnel Cuts Leaves Many Questions Unanswered

U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) today pledged to fight the proposed personnel reductions recently announced by NASA for its headquarters office. The space agency unexpectedly announced today that it would accelerate its downsizing timetable by three years as well as increase the number of personnel reductions. Mikulski is the senior Democrat on the panel that funds NASA.

"I am deeply distressed by NASA's surprise announcement today," said Mikulski. "This plan calls for too much too soon. It is premature and leaves many questions unanswered such as what positions will be eliminated and how this will impact NASA's ability to perform its mission. Until these questions are answered, NASA risks downgrading its operations instead of merely downsizing them."

Senator Mikulski has been a long-time supporter of NASA's space program. Over the past several months and as early as Monday, April 15, Senator Mikulski has had discussions with top NASA officials regarding future budgets for the space agency. She has pledged to fight any unnecessary, unexplained and unwarranted reductions in future NASA budgets.

The new downsizing plan speeds-up the timetable for the downsizing as well as increases the number of personnel reductions. The original NASA plan call for the headquarters workforce to be reduced from 2,200 to 1,073 positions -- a reduction of 1,127 jobs -- by the year 2000. Under the revised plan, an additional 400 positions would be eliminated from the headquarters office and the entire plan would be implemented by October 1997. Should this plan be implemented, NASA headquarters would see its staff reduced by 69% over the next year.

"I want the employees at NASA to know I am on their side. I will fight these proposed personnel reductions just as I have fought proposed budget cuts. I will stand sentry for the NASA budget in Congress and I will take my fight all the way to the Oval Office if need be."


In response to increasing budget pressures, I have today directed NASA Headquarters to develop a plan for a staffing level of 650 to 700 employees by October 1, 1997. This accelerates the timeline for our existing downsizing plan, and will bring us to a lower staffing level. We anticipate the new plan will require a Reduction in Force at Headquarters to be completed by October of 1997.

The target date is 18 months away, but Federal personnel procedures and our own internal decision-making processes require that we begin planning for a RIF immediately. The Headquarters structure must be put in place first, in order for the NASA Centers to review their staffing needs, meet budget and program priorities, and set new staffing goals.

Last summer, Headquarters offices identified 239 positions that should be moved to the Field Centers. That process is underway, and we do not anticipate that additional positions will migrate to the Centers.

We will work over the next two and half weeks to develop restructuring plans to meet the required staffing levels. Headquarters currently employs 1,430 civil servants. The new plans will bring us to a level of 650 to 700 by October 1, 1997.

Code C will hold a briefing on RIF procedures in the auditorium at 9:00 a.m., on Tuesday, April 23. Personnel officials will be available to talk about the timeline for the Reduction in Force and RIF procedures, and to take questions from employees.

I know this is disturbing and unwelcome news. You have told me you want information about these issues in a timely fashion, whether the news is good or bad, and I've been listening to you. It is very important that you have the information you need to make career decisions. As the new staffing plans are developed, I will continue to keep you informed.

I am proud of the professionalism, dedication, and excellence that NASA employees demonstrate each and every day. We will work with each and every one of you to address your needs as the planning process continues.

From: kcowing@ (Keith L. Cowing)
Subject: Unofficial NASA RIF Update
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 1996 11:20:39 -0500

Rumour du jour:

Info from very high up in a science code at NASA HQ, has the rumour that Goldin is going to insist on a 50% reduction in the present HQ staffing, FROM ITS PRESENT LEVEL, by September 1996. This would be approx. 700 positions. It is believed by many that this number is not at all realistic and that it is merely a rumor placed in the mill in accordance with the "management by fear" policy described by Mal Peterson in his 27 March HQ briefing wherein vugraphs were shown concerning "the value of fear in managing corporate-downsizing."

Fact du jour:

The formal integration of the Space Station Program Office (SSPO) with JSC was completed recently. Effective March 17, 1996, SSPO officially became a part of JSC. Last week, all SSPO employees received an SF50 notifying them of the realignment. SSPO employees are now included in all JSC personnel and payroll systems.

Editor's note: From a well-placed source at NASA HQ who participated in this meeting:

Mal Peterson (NASA HQ Comptroller's Office) personally briefed NASA program managers (Centers and HQ) yesterday (27 March) and gave instructions for planning and implementing a RIF by Summer 1997, the reduction to be completed by October 1998, to a total complement level of 17,500, as called for by the President for the year 2000, to be completed by 1998.

Vugraphs were shown concerning "the value of fear in managing corporate-downsizing." (That is a direct quote) They have statistics on the number of personnel supposed to be within retirement range and everyone will be encouraged to retire asap, though these numbers will not prevent a RIF. He strongly indicated that congressional backing would be soon forthcoming.

Contrast this with what NASA says about its people in the Current Strategic Plan:

"Our greatest strength is our workforce. We aggressively build a team of highly qualified individuals that is representative, at all levels, of America's diversity. We foster a culture that is built on trust, respect, teamwork, communication, empowerment, and committment in an environment that is free of discrimination......"



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This page is an archive of entries in the Personnel News category from April 1996.

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