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Commentaries and editorials

Suspended BPA Execs Refuse
Reassignment, Report Says

Ted Sickinger
The Oregonian, December 13, 2013

Bill Drummond was the new administrator for the Bonneville Power Administration replacing Steve Wright, who retired (to latter join a public utility) at the end of January 2013. The Bonneville Power Administration's top two executives, both put on administrative leave in July, have declined reassignment by the U.S. Department of Energy to executive positions in Washington D.C., according to a report Friday in the trade publication Clearing Up.

BPA Administrator Blll Drummond and Chief Operating Officer Anita Decker were put on leave July 15 (bluefish notes: also a day before the Half-Way FCRPS BiOp Report). That was the day before the Department of Energy's Office of Inspector General issued a management alert based on "credible evidence" that the managers at the power marketing agency were retaliating against employes who had complained about discriminatory hiring practices at the agency.

The Inspector General's subsequent investigation confirmed hiring practices that disadvantaged veterans. A redacted version of that report described a specific incident in which a selecting official disadvantaged a veteran applicant by closing and then reopening a vacancy announcement with additional selection criteria that the veteran could not meet.

The report also described widespread dysfunction within BPA's human resources department, but didn't directly implicate either executive in alleged retaliation. It did say, however, that senior managers were aware of and allowed the proposed dismissal of a whistleblower to go forward, despite specific instructions from the Department of Energy not to move forward with discipline against whistleblowers. At the outset, Bonneville disputed the timing of that notification.

In testimony before Congress this summer, Decker suggested that agency managers could not ignore disciplinary decisions simply because affected employees claimed whistleblower status to gain protection.

Clearing Up said Drummond and Decker both executives confirmed they had declined the positions, but both declined to elaborate. The Department can now elect to fire the two executives for refusing the reassignments, the publication said, and they would have 30 days to respond to the proposed removal.

Related Pages:
Hydro BiOp At Half-Way Point; Agencies Report on Progress by Bill Rudolph, NW Fishletter, 7/18/13

Ted Sickinger
Suspended BPA Execs Refuse Reassignment, Report Says
The Oregonian, December 13, 2013

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