Workforce: March 2013 Archives

NASA's Explosives Problem

NASA OIG: Review of NASA's Explosives Safety Program

"This Office of Inspector General (OIG) review found that NASA's Explosives Safety Program was poorly managed and exposed personnel and facilities to unnecessary risk. Specifically, we identified 155 violations of regulations, policies, procedures, and processes involving unsafe conditions and practices - some of which could have resulted in significant damage, injury, or death to NASA personnel, contractors, and the public."

Hangman's Noose Found at Wallops Flight Facility Construction Site

"The American Federation of Government Employees is working to address recent indications of racial harassment at the Wallops Flight Facility (WFF). Last week, AFGE has learned of a hangman's noose being placed at a construction site on the Wallops Main Base. It has also been brought to our attention that this is not the first demonstration of racial animus and an intention to intimidate and to create a fearful atmosphere."

NASA GSFC/WFF Internal Memo: Investigation Into WFF Incident (Hangman's Noose Found)

"I am anticipating a report this week with the results of an investigation I directed to examine the facts regarding an incident that took place some weeks ago at the Wallops Flight Facility. I want to assure you that I am committed to ensuring a work place that is free of harassment of any kind, and there will be zero tolerance for any employee at GSFC who violates the laws and policies in place to safeguard every employee's rights and expectations of a harassment-free work place."

Bolden Keynote At AAS Wednesday Morning Will Be Livestreamed, Space Policy Online

"NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden will keynote the American Astronautical Society's Goddard Memorial Symposium tomorrow morning, Wednesday, March 20, and AAS will stream the event live."

NASA Limits Travel; No Layoff Plans - yet (update), earlier post

"v. Examples - For example, the following conferences do NOT meet the new criteria and NASA funded participation will not be allowed:

1. National Space Symposium
2. The American Astronautical Society's Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium and Goddard Memorial Dinner"

Keith's note: This is just baffling. Charlie Bolden tells all of NASA that specific meetings are not going to be supported by NASA funds - and then he turns around and goes to one of the meetings specifically cited in his official agency policy that do "NOT meet the new criteria and NASA funded participation will not be allowed" to speak in an official capacity. I wonder if Bolden is using NASA-provided transportation (that limo) to go to this unsupported meeting - and if he will have NASA staff with him - also traveling from NASA HQ to Maryland for this event - at NASA expense.

Bolden Cuts Travel; Buys Toy Telescope Models, earlier post

Keith's update: According to this tweet: @Jeff_Foust: Bolden, on travel bans for this event and Nat'l Space Symposium, notes he came here since it's local, "doesn't cost the gov't a dime." Charlie Bolden thinks he's not breaking any rules. Unless Mr. Bolden drove himself to and from this event - with no staff - in his own car - and took time without pay - then it most certainly did cost the government something. The fact that Bolden is oblivious to this fact speaks volumes. His travel prohibitions will save a vanishingly small amount of money and amount, at most, to a stunt.

Keith's update: According to NASA PAO Bolden was accompanied by one NASA civil servant who drove to/from the event in their own car. NASA will not discuss Bolden's travel arrangements due to security concerns. As such it is safe to assume that he was using government transportation and security - and that costs money. Bolden's presence supported the meeting using NASA funds in violation of his own policy. Was this a large expense? No. That's the point - these arcane travel restrictions will have negligible impact on NASA's expenses.

NASA SMD Memo: LPSC Travel Confusion Under The Sequester

"Recent guidance has come from the Administration that needs interpretation relative to supporting travel for all NASA activities. These rules will go into effect on March 19, 2013. We are in the process of executing all elements of the guidance and will notify those that are affected. For instance, we have worked with all the NASA Centers and JPL employees and have completed an approved list of attendees."

Keith's note: Charlie Bolden is curtailing NASA travel to scientific and technical meetings to save a vanishingly small amount of money in the grander scheme of things - yet he still allows this solicitation to be put out: NASA Solicitation: Scale Models of the James Webb Space Telescope. So ... toy telescope models trump participation in science meetings? That's how Charlie Bolden sees it.

NASA Limits Travel; No Layoff Plans - yet (update), earlier post

Message From The NASA Administrator: New Policies in Response to Sequestration

"This guidance is to be applied to NASA employees and to all contract employees, including JPL employees, to extent permissible. Program managers, project managers, and contracting officers should apply this guidance to all NASA direct-funded contractor travel. You should know that Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and I have already begun to adjust our activities in line with these guidelines. We have both canceled travel and participation in the April National Space Symposium in Colorado and I have also canceled a planned overseas trip. ... At this time, there is no change to the Agency's current hiring policy. Centers may continue to transact hires as planned in their submitted phased hiring plans up to their FY2013 FTE ceilings. This includes hiring in all categories, including new intern hires, intern conversions, and all other early career hires."

Sequestration Claims its First Victim at NASA, Planetary Society

"Of special note is that this letter defines "foreign" travel as anything outside of the continental United States. Sorry Hawaii and Alaska!"

NASA clamps down on travel spending, FCW

"Event planners hoping to book NASA speakers: You have a problem."

@elakdawalla: "As others have pointed out to me, sequester doesn't just limit NASA travel; also USGS, DOE, any federally funded organization or lab."

Layoffs at GRC and GSFC?

More than 150 NASA Glenn jobs in jeopardy, Rep. Marcy Kaptur's office says, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"NASA Glenn Research Center stands to lose more than 150 jobs when automatic spending cuts under the "sequester" go into effect, according to the office of Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur. National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials told Kaptur the cuts would end cryogenic propulsion research headquartered at Glenn, resulting in the loss of 10 to 15 jobs. A separate $14.5 million sequester-related cut in Glenn's operational budget will cost another 150 support staff jobs, said Kaptur spokesman Steve Fought. "It appears to be a very difficult fiscal environment for NASA Glenn," said Fought."

Sequestration 2013: Hoyer Says NASA Goddard Could See Layoffs, Greenbelt Patch

"While, thankfully, it appears that NASA Goddard Space Flight Center may not be as severely affected as some other NASA centers, we are still likely to see local businesses that contract with NASA and with the military, like many of you here today, take a significant hit," Hoyer said at a luncheon hosted by the Maryland Space Business Roundtable in Greenbelt."

A Scientist's Misguided Crusade, op ed, NY Times

"As a private citizen, Hansen, 71, has the same First Amendment rights as everyone else. He can publicly oppose the Keystone XL pipeline if he so chooses, just as he can be as politically active as he wants to be in the anti-Keystone movement, and even be arrested during protests, something he managed to do recently in front of the White House. But the blast e-mail didn't come from James Hansen, private citizen. It specifically identified Hansen as the head of the Goddard Institute, and went on to describe him as someone who "has drawn attention to the danger of passing climate tipping points, producing irreversible climate impacts that would yield a different planet from the one on which civilization developed."

Keystone XL Pipeline Gets Upbeat Analysis From State Department, ENN

"Keystone XL, if the public were to allow our well-oiled government to shepherd it into existence, would be the first step down the wrong road, perpetuating our addiction to dirty fossil fuels, moving to ever dirtier ones," warned Dr. James Hansen on Friday. Hansen directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City and is adjunct professor of Earth Sciences at Columbia University's Earth Institute."

Jim Hansen Arrested For Yelling or Something (Again), earlier post
James Hansen Continues To Have Special Privileges, earlier post

Keith's note: Why is it that only Jim Hansen can overtly identify himself as a NASA Employee and say whatever he wants with regard to what he does during his day job (paid with NASA money) and yet other NASA employees cannot? Before the snarky comments ensue, let me say that I agree with 90+% or more of what he says. That's not the issue. I am just baffled as to why he gets a special pass by NASA.

Update: 2013 IEEE Aerospace Conference Presentations by NASA and JPL Personnel

"We have learned that NASA has severely restricted travel of NASA and JPL employees to the 2013 IEEE Aerospace conference. This is impacting many of the authors at this year's conference. I, on behalf of the conference board and the conference committee, want to extend our condolences to those who are affected by the restrictions, and provide the following guidance with regards to paper presentations."

Reader note: "Of course sunk costs like registration ($1000), lodging, and many flights are long past the opportunity to be refunded, so we're not actually saving much money and causing a lot of trouble for employees, some of whom have personal expenses that will not be reimbursed."



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