Personnel News: February 2010 Archives

JSC Job Loss Update

Amid sadness and anger at NASA, a time for gallows humor, Houston Chronicle

"As NASA administrator Charles Bolden makes his two appearances on Capital Hill this week, it has become ever more clear that NASA's Constellation program is going away, despite the protestations of some people in Congress. Constellation, the space program's next generation of rockets and spacecraft, is managed at Johnson Space Center. Although the mood there is rather dour as one might expect, it is well known that geeks, myself included, respond to stress with gallows humor. And so it goes with Constellation."

We must not discard greatest innovator in history, Walt Cunningham, Houston Chronicle

"In the place of the canceled Ares and Orion hardware, we now have increased support for education, increased spending on the discredited global warming hypocrisy and subsidies to several new commercial rocket companies. And, oh yes, don't forget a new outreach program to Muslim countries without established space programs. In canceling Constellation with nothing to take its place, the president is saying the U.S. should not have its own human space program and is directing funds to the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program, or COTS. If NASA wants to participate in human spaceflight, it will have to be through contractors."

KSC Job Loss Update

Space Workers Rally To Save Their Jobs, Channel 13

"Lew Jamieson is the president of the Machinist Union at the Kennedy Space Center. He's been there for 32 years. "It's a community issue and that is why we are here today. It's an attempt to bring the community [together]. They need to recognize they can make a difference," he said."

NASA Budget Cuts Rally, WCTV

"In the bitter cold ...thousand rallied. "Are you ready to fight? yeah!!" Their signs cut to straight to the point...."clunkers three billion, NASA zero Many of these NASA employees say the presidents plan to eliminate funding for space flight operation is the wrong move."

'Worth fighting for' is the rally cry, Florida Today

"I don't want to see our astronauts get suited up and get on Russian or Chinese spaceships," said John Kroening, 50, a nonunion production control worker with United Space Alliance. "We want to keep the space industry here. We've always been the leader."

Jobs, community 'Worth fighting for', Florida Today

"We want you to extend the shuttle," should be the message, [District 1 Brevard County Commissioner Robin] Fisher said. "We want you to hold up all votes on everything until Florida is taken care of. If that stops Washington D.C., that's OK."

Keith's note: Good luck with that approach, Robin.

Aaron Cohen

NASA Pioneer Aaron Cohen Dies

"Spaceflight pioneer Aaron Cohen, a former director of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, died Thursday, Feb. 25, after a lengthy illness. He was 79. Cohen had a 33-year career with NASA. He was a steady hand at the helm of Johnson as NASA recovered from the shuttle Challenger tragedy and returned the space shuttle to flight. Cohen left the agency in 1993 to accept an appointment as a professor at his alma mater, Texas A&M University. At the time, he was serving as acting deputy administrator at NASA Headquarters in Washington."

NASA Job Cuts On The Way

Obama's NASA budget could cost Houston 7,000 jobs, KHOU

"Houston stands to lose big. Economists estimate as many as 7,000 jobs could be lost as the space shuttle program is phased out this year and the Constellation program winds down."

NASA chief vows help for Florida employees, Houston Chronicle

"Florida, facing the loss of some 14,000 jobs from retirement of the shuttle and President Barack Obama's proposed cancellation of the Constellation program, is widely expected to be an electoral battleground in the 2012 presidential campaign."

David Vitter criticizes NASA budget as lacking in ambition,

"Vitter, who also is concerned about the impact on jobs at the Michoud facility in eastern New Orleans, which produces the space shuttle's external fuel tanks, faulted the new budget for "not only ending the shuttle but completely canceling its replacement, the Constellation, with little more than a hope and prayer that commercial providers will eventually pick up the slack."

23,000 now expected to lose jobs after shuttle retirement, Florida Today

"The local economic forecast tied to President Barack Obama's proposed NASA budget keeps growing bleaker. Revised projections now show that about 23,000 workers at and around Kennedy Space Center will lose their jobs because of the shuttles' retirement and the new proposal to cancel the development of new rockets and spacecraft."

Keith's note: The following commentary by Gerry Griffin is one of the most memorable things that has ever graced the pages of NASA Watch. It appeared when the Internet was young and I was blogging before what I was doing was called "blogging" on a website called NASARIFWatch (RIF = "Reduction In Force". Get familar with this activity, if you will.) Yes, it may be a bit dated. But it is also prescient and rather relevant now. The more things change, the more they remain the same. Charlie Bolden should take note of these cogent excerpts:

"The men and women of NASA and their contractors can do anything this country wants them to do. All it takes is leadership -- not management, leadership ... But, we have seen enough of the "in-your-face" style of leadership at the top, and it's high time for some leadership that can make the necessary changes with an understanding of, and respect for, NASA's most important asset -- its people."

Wisdom from another era.

NASA Chief Bolden reorganizes his space agency (includes memo excerpts with other changes), Orlando Sentinel

"As announced previously, the Office of Strategic Communications will be disbanded. ... Office of Public Affairs: This organization will be renamed the Office of Communications and will be led by an Associate Administrator. The Associate Administrator for the Office of Communications will report to the Office of the Administrator and will also serve as NASA Press Secretary (also see "Changes in Center Reporting")..."

Keith's note: Curiously, the description of NASA PAO AA Morrie Goodman's job - as offered by Goodman himself last week during a meeting of the NASA Advisory Council's Education and Public Outreach Committee - is a little bit more expansive. Make that MUCH more expansive. If you listen to this video (starting at around 08:25) Goodman says:

"I have three goals. Number one is I need to make sure that the agency's message is heard loud and clear and that our position is well known, well articulated, in the best way possible for people to understand and hopefuly come to the same conclusions that we do about the things that we do and where we are going. The other job that I have is to be - I am the White House liaison for space. Uh, uh, um, In that fashion I have to articulate not only NASA's view but - you know, it is NASA's view - because what the President decides for NASA is what NASA does - basically."

"I am the White House liaison for space"? Hmm. I thought David Noble was the White House Liaison. It even says so here at Goodman is the guy who is supposed to do all of NASA's messaging "loud and clear", so what he said must be accurate, right?

Embedded video below

Bolden Overhauls NASA Organization, Space News

"NASA field center directors and mission directorate chiefs will report directly to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden under organizational changes Bolden announced Feb. 23 in a memo to senior agency officials. The heads of NASA's 10 regional field centers and four headquarters-based mission directorates currently report to NASA Associate Administrator Chris Scolese, the agency's third-highest-ranking official. That reporting structure was put in place by Bolden's predecessor, Mike Griffin."

NASA Chief Bolden reorganizes his space agency (includes memo excerpts with other changes), Orlando Sentinel

"Associate Administrator: The Associate Administrator will continue to be responsible for integrating the technical and programmatic elements ofthe Agency. However, Center Directors and Mission Directorate Associate Administrators will report directly to the Administrator rather than through the Associate Administrator. No other changes are being made in the Office of the Administrator."

Organized labor attacks Obama's space plan, Orlando Sentinel

"Add organized labor to the voices angry at President Barack Obama's decision to scrap NASA's moon program. In a letter sent to Obama on Feb. 4, R. Thomas Buffenbarger, international president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said the White House idea to outsource flying astronauts into low Earth orbit would cost jobs, not create them."

Time for Action, Machinist's Union Local Lodge 2061

"The date, time and venue for the rally have been set (Saturday, February 27th at BCC North Campus, Titusville, 3:00 p.m.). National AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka, presidents of national and international unions, Florida AFL-CIO President Mike Williams, elected officials and perhaps some celebrity guests will speak. However, this is not a union rally. This is a community event intended to protect local business, our schools and the quality of life we presently enjoy."

IFPTE: A new day at NASA - a rebirth at Ames

"Although for the thousands of dedicated employees who have been working diligently on Constellation, there will naturally be disappointment and concern, in the end, the Administration has chosen a more realistic and pragmatic path towards a more sustainable and ultimately successful overall mission."

reader note: "An unbadged man said to me as I left my JSC building last Friday, "Is this a place of business or a campus? I mean, is this 'where it all happens'?" I was going to challenge him but he explained he was a bus driver from that bus over there that had brought in some people. I said, just, Yes Sir! and went on home. (It was a tough week.)

In this day and age, should I have pointed over his shoulder and said... That flag up there on that roof flies every day there are Americans on orbit. It has been there continuously, longer than I've been working here. If you go through those doors across the parking lot and turn left and could get past the locked doors and guards, you would be in Mission Control. THE Mission Control Houston. You could pick up a mic and talk to the astronauts and cosmonauts working in space right now. If you turn right instead, you'd find a building full of mission operations people who a week ago had no question that their contributions were valued by the country.

Today, I don't know how that question would be answered in that building. I'm angry the question has even come up. I wasn't born here at JSC, but I got here as soon as I could. I just don't know whether here is supposed to be 'where it all happens' anymore."

Keith'snote: The NASA 2010 PM Challenge is underway today and tomorrow. According to NASA: "The PM Challenge is one of NASA's premier training events. It brings together the best speakers, discussion panels, case studies, and networking opportunities in program/project management, systems engineering, safety & mission assurance, team building, business management, and many others." Participants are Twittering from inside the event. You can follow their Tweets here.

"OPM: The Federal Government will be open in the morning operating under an unscheduled leave policy with a planned 4 hour early dismissal. Employees reporting for work should be dismissed by their agencies 4 hours earlier than their normal departure time from work. OPM is continuing to closely monitor developing weather conditions should there be a need to reassess the Government's operating status."

IFPTE: A new day at NASA - a rebirth at Ames

"More specifically, there was truly terrific news on Monday as the Obama Administration has addressed many of IFPTE's NASA-budget recommendations:

1. Full-cost recovery has been cancelled (IFPTE's #1 workforce priority).

The Agency will be going to a single unified CS labor account in FY11. In a letter from Administrator Bolden on Monday, he assured the Union that: "Going forward, it is also NASA's intention to work with the Congress to implement a unified labor account for FY 2011. NASA remains committed to full-cost workforce planning, to including labor estimates in our project baseline, and to complete transparency in workforce utilization at HQ and the Centers; however, we think it very valuable to unify labor into a single account for budget purposes."

Personnel Announcements

NASA Internal memo: Message from the NASA Administrator: Feb. 3, 2010

"In anticipation of the President's new vision for NASA, I have been working closely with the NASA senior leadership team to ensure that we are ready to take on the opportunities we have been given. Early last fall, I asked Deputy Administrator Lori Garver to lead an Institutional Readiness Project (IRP) that focused on improving the area of institutional management. She and the IRP Team can be credited with surfacing progressive ideas that culminated into recommendations for organizational changes. Accordingly, I have notified the Congress that I intend to implement some organizational changes at NASA."

- NASA Administrator Names Braun NASA Chief Technologist
- NASA Administrator Names Woodrow Whitlow Associate Administrator for Mission Support
- Christensen Appointed Director for Ames International Space Station Office

"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden outlines the Administration's fiscal year 2011 budget request as the agency's road map for a new era of innovation and discovery, and answers questions from reporters as the featured Newsmaker at the National Press Club in Washington Feb. 2"

Keith's note: If you go to 55:18 in this video, I ask Charlie Bolden how he is going to get people to make the transition from flying government-operated spacecraft to commerically- operated spacecraft - and the emotion that goes with making the transition from one way of thinking to another. Bolden's reply gets deep into the emotions and mindsets that underly the changes that the Constellation workforce is now going through - and how he is going to work through that process with them.

Transcript below



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This page is an archive of entries in the Personnel News category from February 2010.

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