Status Report

Minutes of Senior Staff and Center Directors’ Meeting 22 Jan 2001

By SpaceRef Editor
January 22, 2001
Filed under ,

The following documents the discussions addressed at the Senior Staff and
Center Directors’ Meeting on January 22, 2001. Mr. Goldin attended the
meeting. Action assignments have been placed in brackets [ ] for easy

1. AA Reports

AA/Stadd: Mr. Stadd introduced himself as the White House Liaison from the
Transition Team and indicated that NASA could not have been more
cooperative. If there were a rating system, NASA would be No. 1. He
further advised that Jeff Bingham will be located in Code L.

I/Cline: Ms. Cline reported that Russia plans to launch a Progress M1 on
January 24, 2001, to dock with Mir on January 27. This begins the Mir
de-orbit activities by Russia.

P/Cleggett: Ms. Cleggett reported that on Tuesday, January 16, Kathy Clark
appeared on National Geographic television to talk about the role of women
in space exploration.

S/Weiler: Dr. Weiler reported that the Pluto Announcement of Opportunity
was released last Friday, as promised 1 month ago. He thanked LaRC and
Codes G, H, I, and L for their assistance.

U/Olsen: Dr. Olsen reported that Dr. Ronald Walsworth, a fundamental
physics Principal Investigator, is the lead scientist of one of the teams
who has successfully used the spin properties of atoms of rubidium to slow
laser light to a stop. The story was carried by the New York Times on
January 18, as well as the Washington Post‘s Science Notebook on January
22, 2001.

AO/Holcomb: Mr. Holcomb reported that last week, a directive from the
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) was issued to create a
historical record of the Government Web at the point of President Clinton’s
transition. We requested Web masters to make a backup by January 20 of
public NASA Web sites beginning with each Center’s top-level Web site and
other highly visible Web sites. During the next 2 weeks, guidance will be
developed between NASA Headquarters and NARA on the formats and procedures
to use for cost-effectively submitting the Web site snapshots.

K/Thomas: Mr. Thomas reported that NASA received an award for diversity by
Fairfield University in Connecticut for its multicultural programs to
minorities and women-owned businesses.

E/White: Ms. White thanked the Enterprises, other Headquarters offices,
the Centers and JPL for assisting the Agency in exceeding its planned FY
2000 obligations of $52.9M to Historically Black Colleges and Universities
(HBCU) by $4.6M. NASA’s total obligations to HBCU’s for FY 2000 were $57.5M.

L/Kerwin: Ms. Kerwin reported on the following: 1) To date, the Senate
has confirmed seven of President Bush’s Cabinet nominees: Secretary of
State, Gen. Colin Powell; Secretary of the Treasury, Paul O’Neill;
Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld; Secretary of Energy, Spencer
Abraham; Secretary of Commerce, Donald Evans; Secretary of Education,
Roderick Paige; and Secretary of Agriculture, Ann Veneman. 2) The House is
not in session this week; the Senate will be in session for further
confirmation hearings. House and Senate Committees continue to organize;
of note, Subcommittee Chairs have not yet been named for either the House
or Senate Authorization Committees.

C/Christensen: Mr. Christensen provided copies of the Special Notice that
was on Info- Com today advising that Mr. Goldin has agreed to remain until
the new Administration makes some final decisions about the direction of
the space Agency and listing individuals who will serve in an acting
capacity in positions formerly held by political appointees.

2. AI/Dr. Mulville

Dr. Mulville reported on the following: 1) The Senior Management Council
(SMC) schedule for 2001 was released last week by e-mail. The first SMC
meeting for this year will be held on Friday, February 9, at
Headquarters. 2) Reference was made to the January 20, 2001, memorandum
from Andrew H. Card, Jr., Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff,
regarding Government Hiring Controls. Effective immediately, the
Administration has asked agencies, including NASA, not to make hiring
decisions unless those decisions have been reviewed and approved by the
Agency Head, or designee, appointed by the new President. This is to
provide the opportunity to make decisions consistent with the President’s
goals in achieving a Federal Government that is citizen-centered,
results-oriented, and characterized by quality of service. One approach
the President has proposed to meet these goals is to flatten the Federal
hierarchy by redistributing positions and resources from high-level
managerial positions to front-line, service-delivery jobs. Centers were
instructed to provide hiring plans that project requirements over the next
3 months by COB January 23, 2001. These plans should reflect only those
positions that must be staffed in order to ensure the operation
of mission-critical Government functions, such as those affecting safety,
health, or national security. Headquarters will provide further
clarification in the near future. In summary, effective immediately, no
hiring shall commence until we receive additional guidance from the new

3. Center Reports

GSFC/Diaz: Mr. Diaz reported on the success of the event initiating the
Earth Science and Technology Center activities held at the University of
Maryland Baltimore County. In attendance were Senators Mikulski and
Sarbanes (D-MD), Governor Glendening, and Lt. Governor Townsend. He also
thanked Mr. Goldin for his efforts.

JSC/Abbey: Mr. Abbey reported on the following: 1) The Center is running
a test on STS-98 in the VAB (Vehicular Assembly Building) regarding the
solid rocket booster wiring. They are checking for continuity. Rollout
will be on Thursday, January 25. The launch date is no earlier than
February 6 but could be the 7th, 8th, or 9th, depending on the most optimum
time to launch for a day-3 rendezvous. 2) Activities on orbit with the
International Space Station are going well. 3) Mir activities for de-orbit
are proceeding, and JSC is supporting the Russians with tracking data as
requested by the Russians through Mr. Goldin. 4) Due to the electricity
crisis in California, all of NASA’s California operations have had some
disruption, and we anticipate further disruption.

MSFC/Stephenson: Mr. Stephenson reported that they are looking forward to
having Roy Estess at the Center this week to hold the National Rocket
Propulsion Test Alliance meeting.

SSC/Estess: Mr. Estess reported on the ongoing test activities at the
Center, including the X-33 engine and the Common Core Booster.

4. Mr. Goldin

Mr. Goldin stated that he agreed to stay on until the new Administration
makes some final decisions about the direction of the space
agency. Courtney Stadd will serve as NASA’s Chief of Staff and White House
Liaison. Mr. Goldin requested that everyone support and be open with Mr.
Stadd, who brings a new foresight to the Agency. Additional appointments
are as follows: Carter Williams, Executive Assistant to the Administrator;
Glenn Mahone, Press Secretary; Steve Varholy, Acting Chief Financial
Officer; Mary Dee Kerwin, Acting Associate Administrator for Legislative
Affairs; Paula Cleggett, Acting Associate Administrator for Public Affairs;
and Beth McCormick, Acting Associate Administrator for Policy and Plans.

Mr. Goldin stressed the importance of the message in his January 10, 2001,
memorandum to OIC’s, Center Directors, and JPL on Safety being NASA’s No. 1
Core Value. He encouraged employees to carry safety issues forward
without the threat of retribution. All employees have a personal
responsibility to raise safety concerns and must be able to do so without
negative repercussions.

Mr. Goldin referred to the last SMC meeting minutes and stated that with
current and projected budget levels, NASA cannot do everything. Safety
comes before anything else. We must focus on doing fewer things
better. We need to have the proper balance between the work we do in-house
and work that is performed by the academic and entrepreneurial,
high-technology communities. We must alleviate the stress on our people by
prioritizing and only taking on those activities critical to the NASA
mission. No matter what funding level is provided to NASA in the
President’s budget, strategic planning is essential to define the best NASA
for the future. The highest value to the American taxpayer can only be
gained if we focus on strategic functions and limit what we undertake to
the highest priority activities.

Mr. Goldin congratulated Al Diaz in GSFC’s recent efforts to engage the
university community in NASA’s work, citing $15M provided to the University
of Maryland Baltimore County to manage the Earth Science and Technology


SpaceRef staff editor.