Personnel News: September 2005 Archives
DeWine pushes Glenn center job security into NASA bill, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Ohio Republican Sen. Mike DeWine was able to tailor amendments to the NASA Authorization Act of 2005 with the goal of ensuring the center's longevity. The bill, passed on a voice vote, calls for NASA to utilize scientific expertise already in place at Glenn and in Cleveland's medical community."
NASA/Ames ending contracts with 400 scientists, Silicon Valley News
"But even some space-related programs are now vulnerable, including divisions that test gravity's effects on living things and others that study how to minimize human error during space flight."
"Well, good question. I think I just said this was not about taking money from the science programs for human space flight and it's not. The science program has not--in our forward planning, we do not take one thin dime out of the science program in order to execute this architecture. It is about re-directing what we do in the human space flight program."
- Dr. Michael Ryschkewitsch has been named Deputy Director for Goddard
- Orlando Figueroa will assume the position of Director of AETD
- Marcus Angelo Watkins has been named the Director of OSSMA
Editor's Note: NASA/Contractor employee posts relating to JSC evacuation/relocation issues only, please. Off topic comments will not be approved for posting (there may also be a lag time between your posting and the appearance of your post). The information posted here will only be online during the duration of this emergency (as long as is necessary) and will eventually be removed.
Reader Note: "As of yesterday, September 22, some 300 onsite contractors at JPL have received notice. Today is the last day of employment for many of them. Others have been granted 30 day extensions (AKA notice) while displaced JPL employees can be screened for candidates to replace them (the contractors)."
"I have decided that it is time for a change. Today, September 23, 2005, is my last day with the Agency."
Conversation With Mike Griffin, Aerospace America, AIAA (PDF)
"AIAA: "Do you see, in the next year or so as the budget situation gets tighter, any need for reductions in force in the NASA field centers?"
Mike Griffin: "Most certainly not. NASA has three main functions, three main mission areas: human spaceflight, science, and aeronautics. Now the Bush administration's Vision for Space Exploration is primarily about altering the direction in which we take human spaceflight; supplementing that, of course, with robotic exploration of the type we already do. So certainly we will not damage a robust space science program, nor will we further cut aeronautics research, in order to fund the human spaceflight program."
Editor's note: I am a little confused. If NASA's leader says that there aren't going to be any RIFs, then why are field centers preparing for one? This RIF-related memo from ARC was issued just the other day. So was this one from GRC. Go here. There's more.
"It will be announced today that I am returning to Headquarters to assume the role of NASA Chief Engineer."
"The Ames Human Resource Division has asked the Office of Personnel Management to provide RIF briefings for civil servant employees. An upcoming large session will be held on October 4, 2005, from 9 - 11 a.m., in the Main Auditorium, Building 201."
Reader note: "Excerpt from the GRC Director's Leadership Team (DLT) Meeting Notes for 9/20/2005
Center Associate Director (Mr. Robert Fails): - Mr. Fails thanked the DLT for supplying their summary of planned contractor losses for the remainder of this fiscal year. Based on inputs received thus far, GRC anticipates losing 340 contractors by the end of FY05. He also is in the process of reviewing the Center's unfunded mandate list."
"The Museum of Flight has named NASA astronaut Bonnie Dunbar as its new president and CEO."
Editor's note: Word has it that astronaut Bonnie Dunbar will be leaving JSC soon and that Christopher Scolese at GSFC has a job promotion in the works.
"After thoughtful deliberation, I have asked the Administrator to allow me to retire in January 2006. I have agreed to stay on as Center Director until a successor is named."
Editor's note: The rumor that has been circulating at NASA HQ for the past several days is that both Roy Bridges and Beak Howell will be leaving the agency.
A&M Board Selects Julian Earls as 10th President, Alabama A&M University
"Following a one-hour executive session, Alabama A&M University's Board of Trustees today returned to a packed Clyde Foster Multipurpose Room to hand over the realm of the 130-year-old school to a top NASA center administrator."
JPL enacts labwide hiring freeze, Pasadena Star News
"Based on the best information we now have, we expect to see a 2 percent to 5 percent reduction in our FY06 budget compared to FY05," JPL director Charles Elachi wrote in a letter to all lab employees. The lab's budget for fiscal year 2005 was $1.6 billion.
NASA's aeronautics cuts still looming, Daily Press
"The Senate approved a NASA spending bill Thursday that would cut aeronautics research funding by about 5.2 percent next year as Langley Research Center braces for possible layoffs."
A&M trustees face difficult hiring choice, Huntsville Times
"[Earls] pointed out that there are cuts across the whole NASA system, but is proud that after he made the case for his center's role in the revamped space program, "I sit here today and tell you that 700 number is now about 145."
"Morrell most recently was serving as senior adviser to the administrator, assisting in the development and implementation of policies and activities to support NASA's goals for research and space exploration."
"Today, you are poised to implement a dangerously short-sighted decision. The Agency is on the verge of eliminating most of its Life Science program just as the President has asked NASA to send human explorers deeper into space and thus farther into harm's way." ... "When we contacted a senior HQ manager a few weeks ago about this decision, we were told that the decision was a response to recommendations by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and by a Non-Advocate Review (NAR) panel during a zero-base review performed last autumn. We were further told that human health and performance has never been the cause of a spaceflight accident, so this is not deemed a major risk factor."
"The review will entail an evaluation of human resources (including contractors, detailees, Intergovernmental Personnel Act employees) and funds expenditures to determine whether activities that are performed here can be more effectively undertaken at NASA Field Centers, whether current work activities need to be realigned to conform to Headquarters' corporate roles and responsibilities, and what activities should be revised or eliminated."
Job cuts may be lower at NASA Langley, Daily Press
"Job losses at NASA Langley Research Center are expected to be much lower than originally feared as Congress appears poised to approve additional money for the agency, according to a member of a group that lobbies for the Hampton center."
"Jim Kennedy, the director of KSC, confirmed for WESH 2 News Monday the agency's plans to temporarily relocate around 140 workers from that facility."
Parsons returning as head of Stennis, The Clarion-Ledger
"William "Bill" Parsons, who led NASA's recent Return to Flight mission as shuttle program manager, is returning as director of Stennis Space Center in Hancock County."
Editor's note: Have a look at this NASA job opening at jobsearch.usajobs.opm.gov. For starters, there is a typo in the job title: "Reseaarch" Yet when you read the position description itself, it seems that one job opening has collided with another. This is supposed to be an aeronautics position - yet the second paragraph in the job summary talks about an exploration position "The incumbent serves as Associate Administrator, Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, responsible for leading the Directorate and NASAs Exploration Vision, providing the executive leadership and programmatic direction for pioneering the identification, development, validation, and transfer of innovative, high-payoff space exploration and related technologies..."
Editor's update: Someone fixed it. This is what was online prior to the correction.
Three finalists named in search for A&M president, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"The director of NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland is a finalist to become president of Alabama A&M University. Dr. Julian Manly Earls is one of three candidates, the school said. With final interviews set for Thursday, A&M trustees are expected to name the new university president Friday."
"All civil servants are invited to attend one of the OPM RIF educational briefings in the DEB Auditorium on September 26, 27, or 28, 2005. More information about the sessions will appear soon on Today@Glenn."
"NASA's Frederick D. Gregory, who spent 31 years at the agency as a research test pilot, astronaut and senior leader, announced his resignation as deputy administrator today. Gregory will stay in his role until a successor is confirmed by the Senate."
"Inevitably, I think you can look forward to having fewer people on staff at NASA a year from now than there are today, and I think we just need to face up to that." .... "We want to get corporate G&A in guide with OMB guidelines, reduce the total work force at headquarters back in the direction of a thousand people. It seemed to me and to many others here that it is unconscionable to be worried about having the money and the coverage, work coverage, for 2,000 civil servants out in our field centers while at the same time NASA headquarters has grown from a number something like a thousand to something like 1,600 in the last 3 years or so. That seems unacceptable to me."
Editor's update: The action being worked is titled "NASA Headquarters Institutional Requirements Review". The abstract of the action, dated 0/02/2005 and coming from Rex Geveden states: "Review is being performed to assess consistency of Headquarters staffing and budgeted resources with the Agency's revised strategic direction. The review will entail a an evaluation of human resources (including contractors, detailees, Intergovernmental Personnel Act employees) and funds expenditures to determine whether activities that are performed here can be more effectively performed at NASA Field Centers."
Editor's note: According to NASA HQ sources an action is now circulating, due next Monday, for all the AA's to prioritize their staff. Sources point to a planning target workforce reduction at HQ of 40% that Scott Pace and Mike Griffin have been working toward. This ranking would better help them understand who is important and who is not. Of course, a RIF is the next logical step. Think back to the old RIF Watch days in the 1990's when Dan Goldin wanted to slash the workforce. Remember what "RIF" stood for? Resistance Is Futile.
"NOVA AND EDD COMMUNITY SERVICES CAREER TALK - NASA employees and contractors, if you want to find a new job after retirement or resignation, or are facing lay off, the NOVA (North Valley Job Training Consortium) and the EDD (Employment Development Department) organizations may be important community resources for you."
Editor's Note: NASA/Contractor employee posts relating to SSC/MAF evacuation/relocation issues only, please. Off topic comments will not be approved for posting (there may also be a lag time between your posting and the appearance of your post). The information posted here will only be online during the duration of this emergency (as long as is necessary) and will eventually be removed. Also, NASA has opened a dedicated toll-free number [877-470-5240] to take information and provide assistance to individuals seeking information about family members that may be sheltering at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., or the Michoud Assembly Facility, near New Orleans.
"This Cooperative Agreement is to create a center of excellence for dexterous robotics technology between GSFC and the recipient to perform: research in dexterous manipulators; dissemination of research results; and public outreach. Researchers in the ISR are all expected to work collaboratively with civil servants at GSFC. The ISR is also expected to become a vehicle to increase the involvement of the university community." ... "The Recipient of this cooperative agreement will establish university and industry partnerships as necessary to provide best-in-class key technologies that are needed to satisfy ISR objectives. The estimated value of this agreement is approximately $45M not to exceed 5 years."
Editor's note: At a time when NASA is looking to bring things back in-house - and re-invigorate internal (civil servant) NASA expertise, why is this rather large cooperative agreement being established - one which would use external resources? Think of all the jobs that could be covered by that $45 million.
Editor's note: According to an internal NASA memo: "Rex Geveden reported on an Institutional Requirements Review that is starting as a result of the decision at the Strategic Management Council not to approve an over-guide in the Corporate G&A budget. This review process will be outlined in a call letter to be issued on Friday. Rex underscored that it will be requirements driven. We have a target number of "right-sizing" HQ at 1000 people, but this is only a target and can/will be adjusted if the requirements call for more. The activity will focus on near-term decisions needed for FY06, and also consider the longer term process.
Editor's note: It would seem that Mike Griffin continues to reward senior members of the SES corps at NASA HQ for services provided between 1 July 2004 through 30 June 2005 by downgrading their performance ratings. The performance plans, i.e., the contract with the SES member, had been agreed to, midterm debriefs conducted, final evalutation debriefs accomplished, and 'final' ratings assigned by the personnel review board. These actions were then endorsed by Deputy Administrator Fred Gregory. The downgrading apparently has no correlation with the individuals' previous year's performance plan or the individuals' actual performance (Griffin only "managed" them for 25% of that period). Recently, another senior HQ employee had his NASA Exceptional Service Medal yanked only hours before he was supposed to receive it. If this happens to these folks, it can certainly happen to others elsewhere in the agency. Keep your heads down folks.