Status Report

Minutes of Senior Staff and Center Directors’ Meeting 5 Feb 2001

By SpaceRef Editor
February 5, 2001
Filed under ,

The following documents the discussions addressed at the Senior Staff and
Center Directors’ Meeting on February 5, 2001. Mr. Goldin did not attend
the meeting. Action assignments have been placed in brackets [ ] for
easy identification.

1. AA Reports

P/Cleggett: NASA is in week 12 of our streak of coverage on national
television which should continue with this week’s launch of STS-98.

W/Gross: 1) On January 24, 2001, a United States District Court issued a
ruling that Sverdrup Technology, Inc., a former technical support
contractor at SSC violated the False Claims Act. The government
contended that Sverdrup submitted false claims to NASA in order to get
indirect and material costs paid that exceeded the budgeted ceilings for
those costs. The Court ruled that after the government warned Sverdrup
about charging these costs. Nevertheless, Sverdrup conspired to hide the
true nature of the costs by developing a complex benchstock accounting
scheme that disguised the costs and left them unauditable, in reckless
disregard of the contract terms and NASA’s repeated protestations. The
Court specifically found that Sverdrup employees, the former Director of
the Engineering and Sciences Division, the then-leader of the Gas and
Materials Analysis Laboratory, and the former manager of the Sciences
Laboratory, coordinated and launched the benchstock scheme to avoid
charging restrictions imposed by NASA. The Court also found that
Sverdrup made misrepresentations to NASA regarding labor costs, which
inflated Sverdrup’s staffing at Stennis. The Court found that Sverdrup
engaged in a pattern of deception that indicated a guilty state of mind.
Sverdrup employees were nonresponsive to demands for records, and
attempted to alter or destroy records, including the erasure of a
computer hard drive. The NASA Office of Inspector General and the
Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated this case.

2) On January 29, 2001, a former NASA employee at GSFC was named in an
indictment returned by a federal Grand Jury for embezzlement and theft of
public money for prompting and receiving unauthorized Electronic Fund
Transfers (EFT) into her personal bank account. The unauthorized
transfers from the NASA accounting system into the former employee’s
checking account amounted to $148,321. The Office of Inspector General
wants to recognize the GSFC accounting staff. An internal audit headed
by Paula Gal-Edd revealed suspicious transfers.

3) The Inspectors General (IGs) publish, on a quarterly basis, the
Journal of Public Inquiry, which discusses Governmentwide issues. The
latest publication is targeted for the new President and heads of
agencies who may not be familiar with the work of IGs. NASA Office of
Inspector General issues were among those featured, including information
technology security. A prominent section also highlighted the NASA’s
Administrator’s priority on safety.

L/Cherry: Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) has been officially named as
Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space. The
House Science Committee will hold organization meetings this week, and we

announcement of the members of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

February 8.

Z/McCormick: On February 7, the educational symposium “Shaping the
Future: A Celebration of Arthur C. Clarke” will be held from 2 to 4 p.m.
in the Langley IMAX Theater, National Air and Space Museum. The
symposium will feature a panel discussion on the making of the film
“2001: A Space Odyssey” and discussion of the film’s relevancy. General
Armstrong will make some remarks on behalf of NASA. NASA is one of many
sponsors of this event. In the evening, the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation
is sponsoring an evening reception from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Newseum in
Arlington, VA. Following the reception, a special screening of the newly
remastered film 2001: A Space Odyssey will be shown, prior to its U.S.
release. The Office of Policy and Plans has a limited number of tickets
for each event. We will distribute them on a first come, first serve

S/Weiler: The Mars Odyssey is at the Cape which is expected to be
launched approximately two months from now.

Q/Lloyd: Based on the independent safety and mission assurance
assessments accomplished for STS-98, Fred Gregory, Associate
Administrator for Safety and Mission Assurance, indicates that there are
no unresolved risk concerns for the flight and that the probability for
success is high.

J/Sutton: Last August, Mr. Sutton sent a letter to JSC and the
California Centers regarding the California electricity shortage and
recommended conservation measures. Significant increases in energy costs
are now being reported at other Centers as well. In addition to the
California electricity shortage, prices for natural gas have skyrocketed,
nationwide, in the last several months. According to a Department of
Energy (DOE) analysis, this is due to supply tightness, low storage
stocks, consumption increase, oil price increases, and market
perceptions. The DOE’s analysis projects that natural gas prices have
peaked and will be coming down, but not to last year’s levels. DOE
advises that we should expect to pay an average $3.00/million BTU more
than last year. Today, Mr. Sutton is reissuing last August’s letter to
all Centers with additional coping mechanisms and some Web sites for
obtaining additional help from the DOE, the Department of Defense, and
the General Services Administration.

2. AI/Dr. Mulville

1) The Capital Investment Council Executive Session will hold a budget
meeting this afternoon in ACR-1, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., to discuss the
OMB passback.

2) The Senior Management Council will meet on February 16, at HQ to
continue discussions on Strategic Resource Planning.

3. Center Reports


1) The Hubble Space Telescope is the recipient of the 2001 Space
Foundation Achievement Award.

2) Jim Hansen was awarded 1 of 6 awards from the Heinz Foundation for his
research on global warming.

3) The Earth Observer-1 satellite is now 100 percent operational.

AE/Keegan (reporting from GSFC): A formal reminder will be coming from
the Office of Management Systems to directives managers as well as to the
Enterprises and Center Directors that comments on the revised draft of
NPG 7120.5 must be in NODIS by this Friday, February 9. It was evident
at the Program Management Council Working Group meeting that some
comments were still percolating through the system despite being 2 weeks
beyond the due date. Many substantive comments have been received, and
are being addressed by the Working Group.

JSC/Parsons: L-2 for STS-98 is today at 1 p.m., KSC time, with launch
scheduled for February 7 at 6:11 p.m. Landing is set for February 18,
11:56 a.m. Central time.


SpaceRef staff editor.