Press Release

2001-020 – Review of Jet Propulsion Laboratory Ethics and Self-Governance Processes and Referrals of Possible Criminal Activity

By SpaceRef Editor
December 22, 2000
Filed under ,

The following inspection report has been posted to the NASA Office of
Inspector General web site: Review of Jet Propulsion Laboratory Ethics
and Self-Governance Processes and Referrals of Possible Criminal
Activity (G-00-009, December 15, 2000)

To access the entire report, please go to:
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/oig/hq/inspections/g-00-009.pdf

Synopsis: The OIG initiated the review of the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory’s (JPL) ethics and self-governance processes because of our
concern that the JPL Ethics Office did not timely refer cases with
potential criminal implications to either the OIG or other law
enforcement entities.

Our inspection disclosed that JPL’s ethics and self-governance
processes were, with only a few exceptions, in good order and
functioning effectively. We recommended that JPL amend its ethics
policies and related educational and training materials to more clearly
define the responsibility of each JPL employee to report all known or
suspected legal and/or ethics violations. To ensure that JPL employees
received current ethics information, we also recommended that JPL
modify its training program to require that all employees receive
refresher ethics training on a periodic basis (e.g., every 1 to 2
years). Further, to ensure timely referral to law enforcement
authorities, we recommended that written policies be developed to
govern procedures for referral of potential criminal or fraud-related
matters to the OIG or other appropriate agencies. We also recommended
that the policies also include a requirement to report allegations of
potential criminal violations in a more timely manner to the OIG or
other appropriate law enforcement entities. To ensure that JPL ethics
officials appropriately utilize specialists in other fields, we
recommended that inquiries concerning possible violations of standards
peculiar to specific subject areas be referred to cognizant
organizations (e.g., Procurement, Safety, Employee Relations, etc.) for
advice and/or resolution.

Management’s Response: NASA Management and JPL/California Institute of
Technology Management concurred with the report’s recommendations.

To comment on this report, please send an email to
[email protected]

SpaceRef staff editor.