Personnel News: June 2020 Archives

NASA Names Joel Montalbano International Space Station Program Manager

"Kathy Lueders, NASA's associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, has named Joel Montalbano as manager of the International Space Station Program. The appointment was effective June 29 following the June 26 retirement of Kirk Shireman, who held the position since 2015. ... Montalbano had served as deputy program manager for NASA's space station program since 2012, a role in which he shared responsibility with the program manager for day-to-day management, working across organizations and with NASA centers, other government agencies, and partners to ensure seamless and efficient space station integration."

NASA Names Headquarters After 'Hidden Figure' Mary W. Jackson

"NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced Wednesday the agency's headquarters building in Washington, D.C., will be named after Mary W. Jackson, the first African American female engineer at NASA. Jackson started her NASA career in the segregated West Area Computing Unit of the agency's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Jackson, a mathematician and aerospace engineer, went on to lead programs influencing the hiring and promotion of women in NASA's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers. In 2019, she was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal."

John Annexstad

John Annexstad

"In 1968 he joined the Apollo Space Program in Houston, Texas, as the associate curator for lunar samples (moon rocks). While employed with the Johnson Space Center he led the creation of the Antarctic Meteorite Program to continue NASA's research of planetary materials. Under his supervision this program discovered numerous meteorites in Antarctica, now all in the NASA collection. Annexstad Peak was mapped by the U.S Geological Survey and named by the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names for John Annexstad, geomagnetician and Station Seismologist at Byrd Station."

Kathy Lueders Selected to Lead NASA's Human Spaceflight Office

"NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Friday selected Commercial Crew Program Manager Kathy Lueders to be the agency's next associate administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate. Since 2014, Lueders has directed NASA's efforts to send astronauts to space on private spacecraft, which culminated in the successful launch of Demo-2 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30."

Keith's note: So much for the Mark Geyer stories I was being fed. I guess he finally said "no" enough times ;-)

Jet Propulsion Laboratory to Pay $10 Million to Settle EEOC Age Discrimination Lawsuit, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

"The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today the settlement of an age discrimination lawsuit against Pasadena, Calif.-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The laboratory has agreed to pay $10 million, along with injunctive relief, in order to reach an early resolution of the suit. According to the EEOC, JPL systemically laid off employees over the age of 40 in favor of retaining younger employees. The complaint also alleges that older employees were passed over for rehire in favor of less qualified, younger employees. Such conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (EEOC v. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 2:20-cv-03131-CBM-JC) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation agreement through its conciliation process. In addition to monetary relief to dozens of older employees, the three-year consent decree settling the suit, which remains under the court's jurisdiction during the term, includes injunctive relief intended to prevent further workplace discrimination."

JPL Will Pay $10 Million Fine For Age Bias Toward Employees, earlier post

OIG: A Review Of Allegations Of Unauthorized Activity By An Executive Assistant To A Former NASA Administrator

"In his OIG interview, Bolden initially denied that the EA had provided administrative support to him following his resignation. He stated that the EA could not provide additional support to him while she was a government employee and "I knew it was inappropriate for her to do that." When asked how he knew that, Bolden replied: "Because it's illegal. It's unethical for me to come in and ask a NASA employee ... to do administrative work for somebody who's not in the government." Id. "She can't serve as my executive assistant when I'm not here.... That's wrong." ... When asked if he ever considered instructing the EA to stop providing administrative support to him, Bolden said no and conceded "my judgment was clouded." He said, "I did not think I was asking her to do personal work for me since almost everything I was doing was space related." Bolden, however, took responsibility for creating the problem. He stated, "This was my error. This was my error in judgment."

Keith's note: Bolden used government employee services for several years after he left NASA. Indeed:

"In January 2017, immediately prior to his departure from NASA and in direct response to concerns about the lack of transition planning when the previous Administrator left NASA following the 2008 presidential election, Bolden added a third Critical Element to the EA's Employee Performance Plan. This new element explicitly authorized the EA to continue to provide administrative support to Bolden such as coordinating his appearance at certain speaking engagements and providing contact information to him and others following his resignation as NASA Administrator."

But since Bolden charges $20,000 speaking fees and did a lot of free stuff for NASA after leaving the agency the OIG did some math and decided that these NASA-provided services probably balanced out. Bolden admits this was all wrong but the OIG says that only the Executive Assistant probably broke the law. It does not seem to be fair to me that a subordinate gets stuck with the illegality.

Statement from AURA President, June 2020

"AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, believes that a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce is our most valuable asset. We believe that a community of people of different genders and gender identities, color, ability, systemic advantage and disadvantage, and more - people from all walks of life - are essential to ensuring excellence both in our organization and in the scientific community as a whole. We remain committed to respecting and valuing each and every individual in our organization as a professional and as a person. We recognize that our success relies upon that respect and upon embracing the unique perspectives each one of you brings to work every day."

American Astronomical Society President Calls on Members to Support Black Americans

"On behalf of the AAS, I would like to express our unwavering support for those in our community who are rightfully concerned for their safety or that of their loved ones, and who have experienced or continue to experience bias and institutional racism in their personal or professional lives. "The AAS is committed to making a positive difference in the professional lives of our members. This commitment will be reaffirmed in our upcoming strategic plan, which will have diversity, equity, and inclusion at its core and woven throughout our priorities and plans as a Society."

Message from the NASA Administrator - June 1, 2020

"This is not the first time America has seen times of unrest and division, and looked to NASA for inspiration and confidence that we are capable of something magnificent. Let me be clear, NASA is a place where unity, respect, and decency are prioritized, and we will continue to promote an agency culture that aligns with these core beliefs."

Arnie Aldrich

Arnold Deane Aldrich

"Arnold Deane Aldrich, 83, of Vienna, VA, passed away on May 28, 2020 after a brief battle with cancer. He was born in Arlington, Massachusetts on July 7, 1936. Arnold enjoyed a 35-year career at NASA spanning all manned-mission programs including Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle. He served as Skylab deputy program manager; Apollo Spacecraft Program Office Deputy Manager during the Apollo Soyuz Test Project; and Orbiter Project Manager during development of Space Shuttles Discovery and Atlantis. Following the Challenger accident, Arnold was appointed director of the Space Shuttle Program where he led recovery and return-to-flight efforts. He then served as NASA Associate Administrator for Aeronautics and Space Technology and, later for Space Systems Development. Arnold also led initiatives with Russia leading to the incorporation of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft as the on-orbit emergency rescue vehicle for the International Space Station. Arnold joined Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in 1994 as Vice President. He retired in 2007."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Personnel News category from June 2020.

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