Northwest Lawmakers Stress
Agency gets New Human Resources Director
All U.S. lawmakers representing Washington, Oregon, and Idaho -- in a bipartisan letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz -- are urging the U.S. Energy Department to maintain an independent Bonneville Power Administration.
The 23 members of Congress emphasized the importance of correcting discrimination against hiring veterans that occurred at BPA. However, that discrimination cannot become an excuse for DOE to take control over Northwest energy policy, they said.
"BPA decisions must be made in the Northwest for the benefit of the Northwest. While DOE deserves credit for uncovering BPA's violation of veterans' preference and other federal hiring rules, on many BPA matters DOE simply has neither the expertise nor the resources to effectively manage the day-to-day operations," the Northwest lawmakers wrote.
The delegation asked Moniz to publically state that the recent decision by DOE to impose new oversight of Bonneville's legal and hiring decisions will not become a Trojan horse to dictate policy decisions from Washington, D.C.
"We respectfully request that you and Deputy Secretary Poneman clarify that it is not your intent to extend DOE headquarters day- to-day oversight of BPA beyond that necessary to remedy the acknowledged failures of the BPA personnel system," they wrote in this week's letter.
The lawmakers formally asked the Energy Department to provide monthly reports to the Northwest congressional delegation about its oversight of BPA, as long as the increased DOE oversight is in place. They also asked DOE to provide an end date for the oversight process.
The lawmakers asked Moniz to explain how it will address veteran hiring discrimination cases, as well as how long it will take to resolve the illegal hiring practices.
The Bonneville Power controls 65 percent of the region's power generating capacity in the region (an average of 10.7 gigawatts), and half of the baseload power. It controls about 15,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines, which is nearly 80 percent of the regional total.
The letter signed by 23 Northwest members of Congress can be found at http://hastings.house.gov/uploadedfiles/nwdelegationltrtosecmonizrebpa-11-08-13.pdf
The full list of signatories:
Also this week, BPA in a press release said it has taken "two major steps in its efforts to rebuild and improve its human capital management function and ensure it has high performing compliance and governance functions."
First, Brian E. Carter, currently the Civilian/Human Resources Officer for the 502d Air Base Wing at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, will soon join BPA as its Human Resources Director.
Second, long-time BPA executive Greg Delwiche will temporarily leave his spot as BPA's senior vice president of Power Services to fill in as acting deputy administrator.
"These moves are very positive developments for BPA," said Acting Administrator Elliot Mainzer. "Mr. Carter brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in federal hiring practices, which are vital to our efforts to establish a world class human capital management function. Greg brings many years of BPA knowledge and executive experience to the BPA front office, which also allows him continue to conduct a thorough review of our broader governance and compliance program that is already under way under his leadership."
Carter, who will join BPA early next month, currently leads a civilian human resources program that serves more than 12,000 federal employees at the Department of Defense's largest joint air base. He has served in numerous human resources leadership positions that include supervisory roles in staffing, benefits, job classification and employee relations at small and large military installations.
"I am excited about joining BPA and working with the Department of Energy and BPA teams to work through the challenges and opportunities during this critical rebuilding period for BPA's human capital program," said Carter.
Carter's career spans more than 20 years and includes the stints in the Air Force Reserves and the Arkansas National Guard. He is a licensed attorney, holds a master's degree in Military Operational Arts and Sciences as well as a bachelor of science degree in accounting.
Delwiche has served as BPA's senior vice president of Power Services since June 2010. Prior to that, he served approximately six years as BPA's vice president for Environment, Fish and Wildlife.
"I come to the deputy position with the hope that my perspective and knowledge can help BPA move forward in successfully facing its challenges and getting healthy," said Delwiche.
Delwiche came to BPA in 1992 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a first-line manager in power and river operations planning. He became vice president of Generation Asset Management in 1999.
Delwiche holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in civil engineering from the University of Florida and Oregon State University respectively.
BPA is a nonprofit federal agency that markets renewable hydropower from federal Columbia Basin dams, operates three-quarters of high-voltage transmission lines in the Northwest and funds one of the largest wildlife protection and restoration programs in the world.
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