Personnel News: April 2009 Archives

New NASA Admin Rumors

Editor's note: There are more rumors making their rounds again as to who will be nominated as NASA administrator including one suggesting that Lori Garver, head of Obama's NASA transition team, would be the nominee. However our sources indicate that we should not put too much faith in recent rumors. So we'll just have to wait and see.

Even if a new administrator is nominated this week we know that acting administrator Christopher Scolese faces some tough decisions including resuming phased shutdown of shuttle operations on May 1. Once that process is started it will be difficult to add additional flights.

Rebalancing NASA's Workforce, posting by Nick Skytland,

"I'd like to share with you some very important workforce policy news. Two weeks ago on March 19, the Agency's Strategic Management Council (SMC) decided to take action to rebalance our aging workforce. It is now agency policy that we have a goal of 50% of all new civil servant hires will be fresh-out hires. I list the main action here, then the remaining actions below."

Editor's note: "Agency policy? Oh really? Is this in the form of a NASA Policy Directive (NPD)? I can't seem to find it at NODIS. If, however, this is formal agency policy then it would be a new record given the time it usually takes for things to get through the legal gauntlet at NASA. Also, I would think that the agency would also use formal Human Resources means to inform the workforce of this major decision - and not let a unofficial website announce it. As such, I think a few folks have jumped the gun and/or are confused as to what the distinction is between an "action" coming out of an internal management meeting and a formal, governmental policy decree.

Now, don't get me wrong, NASA certainly has a skill mix and age imbalance that it desperately needs to fix in order to accomplish the tasks that lie ahead, but this starts to sound like slow-motion age discrimination to me. And to be quite honest, I am not certain that the job market for fresh-out hires can support NASA's needs or that an arbitrary 50% of the open positions within the agency can be (or should be) filled with people with little or no experience.

The process is a little more complex than a few people reacting to some Powerpoint charts. You can't just Twitter a policy into existence - at least not yet. Stay tuned.

Farewell, Moose

NASA Inspector General Robert Cobb Resigns

"NASA Inspector General Robert Cobb submitted a letter of resignation to the White House on Thursday, April 2, 2009. President Barack Obama accepted Cobb's resignation, which is effective April 11."

Editor's note: That's right, Steve Cook wants to be Deputy Center Director at Marshall. He has been telling people he is now aiming for the job. Given that Cook already has a posse that goes around portraying him as a leader - including making certain that he is introduced at meetings as "the next von Braun" - such grand ambitions are not at all out of character. It will be interesting to see what Steve's official bio looks like when that is announced - with his previous accomplishments i.e. his role in the failures of X-33, X-34, ISS Propulsion Module, and (soon) Ares 1. At least he is consistent in his job performance.

Ares PDR Was Not As Smooth As NASA Says It Was, earlier post

"42. Not allowing RIDs to be written against the SRD and declaring it a finished document prior to the PDR was just arrogant and wrong. This was further evidenced and confused by the introduction of two version of the SRD, showing that it was in fact being changed behind the scenes."



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