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NASA Administrator Message: Thank You! Let's Get Safely Back to the Business of Exploration

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Monday, January 28, 2019

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Welcome back to work! I wanted to take this opportunity to greet you as you begin the process of putting the full agency back in business. I understand this has been a stressful month for you. Sacrifices have been made by everyone at this agency, whether you've been on the job or at home watching the issues associated with the furlough unfold.

I want to assure you that we are all committed to continue NASA's legacy of excellence.  First, we want to make sure we take care of the entire NASA family, follow an orderly restart and ensure everyone's safety and security. In the coming days, we will have an All Hands meeting to discuss these topics, but until then I wanted to communicate with the NASA family on some very important information.

We understand the worry and confusion coming back to work may cause and we're going to do our best to keep you informed as agency systems are brought back online and you're asked to pick up where you left off more than a month ago.  As you probably know, the President signed S.24, the "Federal Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019," into law. The bill guarantees that federal civil servant workers will receive wages withheld during this shutdown, and future shutdowns. I understand our contractors are facing different challenges regarding pay and benefits and our procurement team will be working these issues in the days moving forward to try to do as much as we legally can to assist everyone affected.

We have made it a priority to process paychecks and payments as quickly as possible. We expect you to be paid by the end of the week. While your back pay will be expedited, we understand it may take time to make timesheet adjustments for those of you who worked through the furlough and addressing many issues such as ensuring use-or-lose leave that was set to expire is restored. We will address these matters after we get everyone paid.

We're excited to be back at work, and we want to make sure you do so safely. Organizations will need time to assess the state of facilities and we ask that you support these assessments. Some facilities may not be ready for occupancy immediately upon reopening so please follow instructions from your management.  When you turn your computer on, many of you for the first time since the lapse in funding began, please be patient. There are regularly scheduled computer updates that may not give you immediate access to your software and systems. If you have any unusual issues, please call the Enterprise Service Desk.

Again, I ask for your patience. While we want to get back to work quickly, the priority is for your safety and the safety of your colleagues across NASA.

For facility and lab managers, take the time to review safety instructions as well as operating procedures. Please do not feel like you need to make up lost time, but we do expect everyone back at work. We will be conducting assessments to determine exactly how the furlough has impacted our projects and programs, and determine the best path forward in the days to come.  However it will take some time to determine the specific impacts for each project and program and adjust plans as appropriate.

There are many more issues that will need to be addressed as we begin the challenging effort of getting back to work. We understand the shutdown was a hardship for you and if you have any continuing problems discuss them with your supervisor, as appropriate. Please look for email updates and notifications. I'm sure you're going to see more than the usual number of agency communications in the coming days.

All of us at NASA are focused getting you back to work as safely and seamlessly as possible. There will be hiccups along the way, but we're committed to helping you get through this transition and back to the important job of leading the world in aeronautics research, science, exploration and technology.  There's a reason we're the best place to work in federal government – you.

Ad astra,

Jim Bridenstine

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