Personnel News: June 2006 Archives

Editor's 26 June note : Several sources report that Andy Dantzler has resigned his position as Director of the Science Mission Directorate's Solar System Division at NASA HQ. No word as to who will replace him.

Editor's 30 June note : Dantzler is going to APL to become the Program Manager for "Living With A Star".

Comments by Rep. Kucinich During Regarding Workforce RIFs During House Debate on NASA FY 2007 Budget

"... At the same time, I am concerned with the bedrock of NASA's success, its world class workforce. The 2005 NASA Authorization Bill enacted a moratorium on involuntary reductions in force until March of 2007. In addition, the act required 11.5 months between the submission of a complete workforce plan and the end of a ban on RIFs. However, NASA has thus far been unable to determine their existing skills mix and future skills mix demand. Any hasty action would cause NASA to lose irreplaceable intellectual capacity and institutional memory and would harm its recruiting capabilities."

Letter from IFPTE President to Rep. Wolf Regarding NASA's FY 2007 Budget

"The proposed Appropriations language expressing concern with uncovered capacity and urging a correction (p. 95) should therefore be removed as it invites NASA to begin laying off its civil-service experts in Fiscal Year 2007 based on overtly flawed data. Make no mistake about it, whether intentional or not, if this language is permitted to remain in this bill, it would give the green light for NASA to start RIFs, thereby undermining the technical excellence and independence of NASAs workforce for years to come."

House Appropriation Bill is Bad for NASA and the Nation, IFPTE

Statement by Gregory Junemann - Hearing: Does NASA Have the Right Strategy and Policies to Retain and Build the Workforce It will Need?, IFPTE

Issues Affecting the Future of the U.S. Space Science and Engineering Workforce: Interim Report, NAS

"The report presents a summary of highlights of a January 2006 workshop and a February 2006 committee meeting on the future of the U.S. aerospace space science and engineering workforce, and it provides some preliminary findings with respect to (1) current and projected characteristics of the workforce, (2) factors that impact the demographics of the affected workforces, and (3) NASA's list of the workforce skills that will be needed to implement the nation's vision for space exploration, both within the government and in industry. The report also presents initial recommendations that stem from these findings and initial conclusions."

Reader note: "Astronaut Charlie Camarda has been replaced as Director of Engineering at JSC by Steve Altemus. This happened rather suddenly. No reason for this change has been provided - officially."

Editor's note: The following email was sent by Camarda to a large distribution list: [excerpt]:"I cannot accept the methods I believe are being used by this Center to select future leaders. I have always based my decisions on facts, data and good solid analysis. I cannot be a party to rumor, inuendo, gossip and/or manipulation to make or break someone's career and/or good name."

Strike at MDA

- Professional Association at MDA Brampton (SPATEA) Statement Regarding Current Labour Dispute
- Withdrawal Of Engineering Services at Brampton Operations at MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.
- "Houston, we have a problem....", Strike Blog (this has been pulled offline)

Reader note: Engineers at MDA who built, maintain, and provide flight support to the Shuttle arm are on strike as of 21 June.

A Curious Omission

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center's Jim Snoddy recognized as Engineer of the Year, Marshall Star

"Jim Snoddy, manager of the upper stage engine in NASA's Exploration Launch Projects Office at the Marshall Center, has been named "Aerospace Engineer of the Year" by the Alabama-Mississippi section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics."

NASA Report: Overview of the DART Mishap Investigation Results - For Public Release

"A rigorous assessment and decision process for managing risk includes ongoing evaluation of NASA's priorities. In DART's case, the lack of adequate risk management contributed to a zero- fault tolerant design and inadequate testing that resulted in an insufficient collision avoidance system, among other things."

Editor's note: Nowhere in the Marshall Star article is mention made of the fact that Jim Snoddy was also DART Project Manager. Gee, I wonder why?

Editor's note: As talk of possible layoffs and RIFs at NASA continues to be heard, it might be instructive to look at this letter which is online at Onecle as an example of a business contract. Will NASA employees get an offer such as this?

August 22, 2001

Dr. Michael D. Griffin

Dear Mike:

This letter of agreement ("Agreement") serves to acknowledge that your last day of employment at Orbital Sciences Corporation is August 24, 2001. You will be eligible for severance benefits, conditional upon your signing this Agreement. The following information relates to your pay, benefits, and other employment-related issues:

Note from Aviation Week: "Mike Dornheim, senior engineering editor and Los Angeles bureau chief for Aviation Week & Space Technology who died in a June 3 car accident in the Santa Monica Mountains near Malibu Calif. will be buried in a graveside service attended by only close family and friends June 24 near Washington D.C."

Workforce Update

NASA's Workforce Challenges to Be Exammined at House Science Committee Hearing

Editor's note: According to testimony given by Toni Dawsey, NASA Assistant Administrator for Human Capital Management, training NASA employees to perform new tasks is called "reskilling".

Statement by Rep. Ken Calvert
Statement by Rep. Mark Udall
Statement by David Black
Statement by John Douglass
Statement by Gregory Junemann
Statement by Toni Dawsey

NASA Workforce Update

NASA execs downplay effect on jobs of new vehicle work, Crain's Cleveland Business

"There's little doubt the decision to award NASA Glenn Research Center in Brook Park with substantial work on the space shuttle's replacement vehicle goes a long way in securing the center's future. But if Northeast Ohioans are expecting Glenn's work on the crew exploration vehicle to bring a bonanza of high-paying jobs and an economic boost to the region, they may be in for a rude awakening."

Cuts at NASA lead to 20-30 layoffs at USU, Deseret Morning News

"Cuts in NASA's science budget are causing pain in Utah: 20 to 30 employees of Utah State University's Space Dynamics Laboratory will lose their jobs in July, and more layoffs are possible by next year."

Workforce Update

NRC Report: Issues Affecting the Future of the U.S. Space Science and Engineering Workforce: Interim Report

"Finally, NASA's mono-generational employee age distribution (i.e., having a peak at only a single age; see Chapter 2) is different from the distribution seen for the DOD and industry, both of which were described at the workshop as being either bimodal or more nearly like the distribution of the U.S. workforce as a whole. However, so far NASA has only begun to examine skill distribution and is becoming aware that it has an age distribution problem, but the committee saw no indication that the agency has begun to act on this concern."

Additional Passings

W.B. Huston, NASA physicist, 93, Arizona Republic

"Wilber B. Huston, a NASA physicist whose career in science was spurred by Thomas Edison, died May 25 in Fountain Hills. He was 93. In 1929, Huston was about to graduate from high school when inventor Edison announced that he would search the nation for a boy who could have a promising career in science."

Biker hits deer, van runs over biker, Daytona Beach News-Journal

"[Jimmy] Proffitt, 46, of Edgewater, was pronounced dead near his wrecked motorcycle after the unusual accident about 6 a.m. just south of Payless Drive in Oak Hill. ... Tuesday's accident was not Proffitt's first encounter with wildlife on his motorcycle. He once hit a wild hog while riding along State Road 3 in the Merritt Island National Wildlife refuge, the route he regularly took to work at the Kennedy Space Center."

AIAA Mourns The Loss of Past President Holt Ashley

"Holt Ashley, professor emeritus, Stanford University, and past president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) died of natural causes May 9, 2006."

Internal NASA memo: "After several days of progress, Yoram took a serious turn for the worse yesterday. We have received the sad news that as of last night, he is showing no signs of brain activity and the family has given the direction not to resuscitate.



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