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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Letter sent to DOE Secretary from Anthony Rivera's attorney

Dear Secretary Moniz:

Anthony T. Rivera's Petition for Secretarial Review was served on your office July 15, 2015. His case arose under 10 C.F.R. Part 708 due to reprisal for his reporting of dangerous incidents in the High Explosives Application Facility at Livermore. The issue is straightforward. Your Office of Hearings and Appeals conducted no investigation and no hearing.

If there is no particular explanation for the delayed response to the Petition for Secretarial Review, I will be obliged to start preparing to obtain judicial intervention. We will bring the matter to court if your decision is issued without providing a remedy. If no decision is received from your office, we will plan to file the court case January 15, 2016.

Your consideration is appreciated.

Attorney for Anthony T. Rivera

cc. Mr. Kevin Knobloch, Chief of Staff
Mr. Steven Croley, General Counsel

Does this effect the profit margin by LLNS?
December 7, 2015 at 10:12 PM
LLNS "profit margin"?

This matter does not solely implicate the Contractor LLNS. The NNSA LFO staff of the period in question was also referenced in the NM La Jicarita article this past October. The article said the NNSA LFO was "fused together" administratively with LLNS. This would seem to put in question the LLNS profit evaluation objectivity of the NNSA LFO staff and puts another spin on the posted LLNS "profit margin" question


Anonymous said...

Just pay the loser off and have him go away.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Rivera --

Too bad, so sad.


Anonymous said...

In 2014 a CA Unemployment Appeals Judge ruled in the employee's favor, stating, "the employer discharged the claimant for reasons other than misconduct...". I wonder how satisfied LLNS corporate is with the LLNS Staff Relations handling and treatment of this employee now that the situation is soon to move out of DOE/NNSA review territory, and into another employee lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

Last man standing or sitting.......

Anonymous said...

That this is taking up any breathable air is a wonder. Mr. Rivera knows why he is the center of attention, for the moment. In the next moment, engineers and technicians will go about their business, which will hopefully be engineering and not narcissistic adventures masquerading as social justice crusades.

Anonymous said...

Within the domain of DOE/NNSA Mr. Rivera, an employee with LLNL for nearly three decades, reached out for about 2 years to resolve this matter with LLNS and LLNS simply refused. Assuming there will not be an 11th hour remedy by the DOE Secretary in the next 2 weeks, we can expect the LLNS vs Mr. Rivera court case to be in and out of the public eye for the next 3 to 5 years.

In 2014 a CA Unemployment Appeals Judge (outside the domain of DOE/NNSA), ruled:

"...The employer has not sustained its burden to show that the claimant's conduct was willful or wanton under the circumstances and therefore has not shown misconduct. Accordingly, the employer discharged the claimant for reasons other than misconduct..."

It might be premature to identify the former employee as the one on a "crusade" here. Lets see what unfolds in the 2016 court case.

Anonymous said...

December 26, 2015 at 6:21 PM,

Please, come back to the real axis with the rest of us. If the October 2015 La Jicarita article is not about a lone employee’s crusade, then the Anthony Rivera in the article must have been a fictitious person. Except it is about Mr. Rivera, all about Mr. Rivera, if one may believe the labspeak sprinkled throughout the breathlessly reported screed of Kay Matthews. Mr. Rivera has self-identified himself as a crusader for the last 25 years. What you are really objecting to is the contention that he has been crusading for his own interests. Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

An article does not define a persons intent. Reporters write about aspects of a story of interest to its subscribers. I think you know this. There were a number of LLNS management issues beyond those of a safety nature mentioned, but of course those items may not support the "crusader" spin I get it. Perhaps you are unaware that safety is suppose to be integrated into everything we do whether its for 5 years, 25 years, or 40 years. The 2016 court case will identify all relevant issues soon enough.

If those that speak out or identify safety concerns before an accident occurs are to be discredited and identified as "crusaders", plan on more Arc-Flash accidents, WIPP radiological accidents, and general mismanagement at these NNSA Labs. Such a strategy may yield short term management benefits like dismissals of those in political disfavor, but would not be a viable long term strategic plan as LANS is learning the hard way.

Leadership must determine if its better to have safety "crusaders" before an accident, or if safety preachers in the aftermath of an accident is adequate. I don't think the NNSA believes aftermath safety preachers are adequate substitutes for sustained accident prevention practices. I suggest you read the contributing factors identified in the DOE Arc-Flash and WIPP radiological accident reports. They are both available on the web. Hopefully employees working around you will speak up when necessary to keep you safe and won't care if they are labeled "crusaders". Maybe they will consider the label a compliment.

Anonymous said...

Please. I have been in this business and private industry for long enough to know how organizational health and safety works. Credible threats are listened to, but there is no guarantee that any one persons concern is credible, or worthy of an actionable response. Save your process lecture for someone who cares.

Plan on more arc flash, really? What kind of crystal ball do you have, or since you are obviously are a prognosticator, will you tell me my future? I have read both reports and a lot more before they came around. “less-than-adequate management of control implementation,” or the more general “failure of management” is one of the boxes that must be checked in the process/compliance universe. Accidents do happen, and will continue to happen, except in the minds of those who believe in “zero accidents.” I suppose the lesson here is that you don’t want to spray cleaning fluid near live switchgear unless you performed a zero voltage check. This goes back to the intent of OSHA’s “General Duty Clause” and how that was interpreted.

People working around me tend to be competent and professional, and they all have a voice. But go ahead and form your global team of Anthony Rivera clones and station them about like safety commissars. Add a dash of the precautionary principle so that you are both socially justified, and to save you the work of any of the difficult analysis in the future. I’m certain that will work for you. Get back to us and let us know how it goes with your little experiment.

Anonymous said...

Spraying cleaning fluid near live high voltage switchgear at TA-53, or using organic kitty litter for WIPP drums, are last chapter events in these two accidents. Those in leadership positions should identify zero accidents as a goal yes, and must do a transparent and comprehensive review of all accident contributing factors to trend to that zero accident goal.

"Credible threats are listened to"? Respectfully, this is an inadequate response. Safety concerns of employees and the response of management is a fragile interaction, whether the concern turns out to be credible or perceived. Keeping the "door open" for safety issue discussions like DOE recommends, will fail miserably and irreversibly if management feedback to just a few employees is negative.

The reports below identify more than technical missteps leading to the WIPP radiological accident and the Arc-Flash accident. These were not equipment failure related accidents. One need not have a "crystal ball" to see more accidents are likely unless there are material contractor changes at LANL.

WIPP Radiological Release Report:

"...perceived repercussions and reprisals for identifying issues on WIPP Forms..."

JAIT Arc-Flash Report:

"...Human error had not been fully addressed in terms of “what-if” scenarios..."

"...Trained employees did not identify the lack of required signs, tags, and barriers-a standard industry practice..."

Anonymous said...

December 27, 2015 at 2:36 PM,

You seem to be so firmly entrenched on the imaginary axis that I have my doubts that you have worked effectively or otherwise with any kind of technology. Only an attorney or paralegal would consider “credible threats are listened to” to be an inadequate response. Every safety program I have been involved with prizes the experienced employee’s observations and integrates them into whatever process that is corralling the work. The safety system is not going to collapse if “management” disregards obvious or faulty observations born from inexperience or misuse of position. If an employee gets his feelings hurt because he can’t command microphone time to adequately vent his spleen, then he can contact his ombudsman, EAP or HR.

You are beating the drum of national labs mismanagement, and I’m surprised the din has not caused your ears to bleed. I am not the biggest fan of how the DoE/NNSA has been doing things, but I am not going to say that if your fairy tale organization were in charge it would do better.

“Perceived repercussions,” “Human error had not been fully addressed,” you really must not have ever touched any technology other than a remote control. To completely address human error, you would have to widen the FMEA analysis boundaries to the point where no work would ever get done, or would be delayed so much that people would have forgot they were actually supposed to produce something. Wring your hands, shriek, run around in circles that “management” is the ultimate evil. The fact is this: Over the last 50 years, accidents have been decreasing, not increasing. Why? It’s certainly not due to your histrionics, but the fact that people really want to go home at night. It may not be progressive enough for you, but you’re not in charge.

Anonymous said...


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