Personnel News: June 2005 Archives

Echoes of Columbia

'Climate of fear' returns to NASA, watchdog says, Washington Times

"The Columbia board said people were afraid to speak out -- in other words -- management problems," Mr. Cowing said. "So what is Griffin doing? Getting rid of people running the Return to Flight program. I see echoes of Columbia, he is re-creating stress on people who are already doing the most stressful jobs of their careers."

Editor's note: A point of slight clarification. Mike Griffin, of course, should be able to modify his staff as he sees fit so as to facilitate his management of the agency. No one - including those reassigned - would argue with that - and these people (SESers) clearly knew the risks when they took the leap. But there is a humane way to reassign people and then there is the approach being taken by Griffin in a number of instances wherein the approach borders upon punitive and is tantamount to firing people in slow motion.

Congressional Record 22 June 2005: "LEAVE OF ABSENCE -- (House of Representatives - June 22, 2005)

Mr. Kucinich (at the request of Ms. Pelosi) for today after 3:00 p.m. in order to save jobs at NASA Glenn and DFAS."

Kucinich Hosts Meeting On Retaining NASA Jobs, News Channel 5

"Rep. Dennis Kucinich is holding another strategy session Monday concerning whether jobs can be retained at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland."

Editor's update: Mike Griffin has appointed Rex Geveden as Acting Associate Administrator. The position will be competed at a later date. Geveden will be responsible for day-to-day operations and management of the Agency. He will also retain his current position as Chief Engineer. Courtney Stadd will reportedly be leaving the 9th floor very soon - perhaps as early as tomorrow.

Bernard Schriever, Architect of Air Force space and missile programs, dies, AFNS

"Retired Gen. Bernard Adolph Schriever, widely regarded as the father and architect of the Air Force space and ballistic missile programs, died of natural causes at home in Washington on June 20."

Editor's note: Scott Pace held a telecon today with reporters to discuss the official announcement of NASA's new Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation. This was, of course, a mere formality since Pace's organization has actually been in operation from the moment Mike Griffin arrived (see this 19 April 2005 memo) and has two major evaluation efforts well underway - one of which will report its findings in less than 2 weeks.

This is all part of Mike Griffin's curious communications policy - one where major positions are filled - but no official announcements made (again see this 19 April 2005 memo).

Nice Touch, Spock

Editor's note: As was mentioned here last week, one of the people at NASA HQ who got a reassignment letter was Karen Poniatowski who was offered a job at ARC. I've now learned that she is pregnant. Not only did Mike Griffin's team offer her a job 3,000 miles away which she would need to start in a matter of weeks - they offered it to someone who is about to have a baby. What a nice, humane touch. Curiously, today at the STA breakfast, when asked about dealing with rumors and speculation, Mike Griffin said "With regard to feelings - I don't do feelings - just think of me as Spock".

So much for at least one of the "NASA Values": "Safety, the NASA Family, Excellence, and Integrity."

Reader comment: "Mike's new core values as espoused in the latest draft rev of the NASA org manual supplanted 'Safety' with Mission Success, and eliminated 'The NASA Family'"

Editor's update: What has truly surprised me is the replies I have gotten to this post. Some people apparently do not like Karen. I do not know her and have never met or interacted with her. What is curious is how people seem to imply that such crappy treatment is OK if you do not like someone. It is not. Employees deserve equal respect and consideration regardless of whether they pick launch vehicles or clean restrooms.

MSFC Offering Buyouts

NASA MSFC Internal Memo: Marshall to offer targeted buyout to eligible civil service employees

"The Marshall Center is offering an opportunity for eligible civil service employees to retire or resign from federal employment and receive a cash bonus worth up to $25,000. The buyout application period opens June 16 and will close July 15. Employees taking the buyout must separate from Federal service no later than September 30, 2005."

NASA puts buyout back on the table for 175 at Marshall, Huntsville Times

"In this round of job buyouts the skills NASA wants to reduce include administrative slots, business specialists, materials science engineers and computer systems engineers, among others, according to a NASA document posted on an internal Marshall Web site."

LaRC Update

NASA LaRC Internal Memo: CD COMM # 2005-7 Langley Status Update

"The Agency is considering options that you have read about - more in-house work, ensuring that center skills and expertise are not lost, that critical facilities remain operational, that the lab structure within NASA is not substantially altered, and that a national aeronautics policy be formulated with input from the Agency."

Purge Update

Editor's note: Reliable sources note that ESMD Deputy Steve Isakowitz got a letter and was reportedly offered a job at GSFC. Karen Poniatowski also got a letter and was reportedly offered a job at ARC. No word yet as to whether they will take the jobs or leave the agency.

Editor's update: Other reliable sources tell me that Steve Isakowitz did not get a reassignment letter - but instead, that he had already expressed an interest in moving into another position at NASA.

Purge Update

NASA changes to run deep, Christian Science Monitor [Also posted online at CBS and ABC]

"For now, NASA says it will not "jump the gun" and make further personnel announcements until they are final, says spokesman Dean Acosta. But few doubt they are coming. And the way Griffin has gone about it has caught some off guard. "He's really not taking time to consider the people involved," says Mr. Cowing of NASA Watch, who estimates that as many as 50 senior managers could be reassigned."

New NASA Chief Changes Top Officers, AP

Personnel changes continue at NASA, Houston Chronicle

Stealth RIF at LaRC?

NASA LaRC Internal Memo: Clarification on Position Description Exercise

"As you know, there is a Center-wide effort underway for each employee/supervisor to review position descriptions and prepare resumes. I understand that there may be some confusion as to what your role is during this exercise. This email will hopefully explain the action."

NASA LaRC Reader Comment: "Up until now we were told that we needed to have a revised position description and a resume on file. Not until today were these described as RIF PDs or RIF Resumes! With 14% of our branch has left and when told, Roy Bridges made the comment that he didn't understand why people were jumping ship so soon. Well, to Roy Bridges .....DUH!"

Purge Update

Editor's note: It's 'Black Monday': Reassignment notification letters are now being distributed to selected employees at NASA Headquarters.

Revised Reduction in Force (RIF) for the Metallic Test Article and General and Precision Machining (MTAGPM) A-76 Competition, LaRC

"During most Reductions in Force (RIFs), circumstances occur that require a re-running of the RIF, thereby changing the offers made to employees. An example of this is when employees leave and create additional vacancies for placement. The current RIF action to implement the MTAGPM A-76 competition needs to be re-run due to this type of circumstance."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Personnel News category from June 2005.

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