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Friday, March 23, 2018

Status of my DOE 708 Whistleblower Complaint filed in January of 2014

By Anthony Rivera 

In July 2015, I filed a "Petition the Secretary/Statement of Issues" with Secretary Moniz to address my whistleblower case against LLNS. With supporting facts, I explained to Secretary Moniz the DOE OHA was unable to effectively address my complaint, and that the NNSA Livermore Field Office did not demonstrate objective oversight of LLNS relating to my complaint before or after I was dismissed. 

Secretary Moniz, then forwarded my Petition to Deputy Secretary Sherwood-Randall. By August of 2016, neither the Secretary or Deputy Secretary had reviewed my Petition, and instead my Petition was pushed back to the DOE OHA (?). 

On 9-27-17, the DOE OHA Judge ruled that I indeed raised DOE defined "protected disclosures" regarding a LLNL DTED High Explosives Application Facility (HEAF) liquid mercury spill human hazard, and human hazard safety procedure deficiencies within the LLNL MED Non-Destructive X-Ray Facility. I submitted other 2012/2013 "protected disclosures", but the OHA Judge ruled these disclosures were time-barred and outside of a 90 day time frame, while allowing LLNS to raise time-independent allegations. LLNS convinced the OHA Judge that they would have fired me anyway, so he ruled in the contractors favor, meaning no relief to the employee. The consequences for LLNS regarding the two "protected disclosures" the OHA Judge did identify, have not been communicated. The DOE OHA Judge stated:

"... Mr. Rivera's October 16, 2013, termination was sufficiently close in time to this disclosure to establish a nexus between the protected activity and the allegedly retaliatory action." 

Through acquired statements, telephonic investigations, depositions, and Hearing testimony, it became clear to me the entire 2016/2017 DOE OHA review was a "go through the motions" process that would not hold anyone accountable for alleged misrepresentations. Some of the same observed DOE OHA deficiencies prompted my "Petition the Secretary/Statement of Issues" to Secretary Moniz in July of 2015. As stated, that 2015 Petition was pushed back to the DOE OHA.

On January 4, 2018, I submitted by email my "Petition the Secretary/Statement of Issues"/ case no. WBB-17-0010 to DOE Secretary Perry through the OHA Director. The OHA Director was to provide that document set to Secretary Perry. Secretary Perry will make the "final agency decision" on this matter. 

From September 2012 through June 2017, I've proposed make-whole reinstatement informal agreements with LLNS, and thus far all have been declined. In my Petition to Secretary Perry, I offered reasons why DOE contractors are rarely compelled to consider informal make-whole reinstatement agreements with dismissed employees. 

From 2007, the NNSA has reimbursed LLNS ~$24 million for legal fees to defend themselves in Court against employees. LLNS hired a San Francisco legal firm to represent them in my OHA proceedings too. The NNSA reimbursements to LLNS for legal fees charged by this San Francisco legal firm have not been disclosed through my NNSA FOIA requests and is one of four NNSA FOIA requests now in California Northern District Court case 3:18-cv-01016. 

I have offered to meet with Secretary Perry to explain my whistleblower case in detail, and to offer solutions to address chronic whistleblower retaliation within the DOE Complex unaddressed by the previous Administration. President Trump has concerns of bias within our Federal agencies. I can certainly relate. 


Anonymous said...

Secretary Moniz. What a useless person. No employee, whatever their ranking should be treated the way you were treated. Hopefully Secretary Perry (former Governor of the Great State of Texas) will make this right. Democrat politicians are useless, except for enriching themselves and their donors.

Anonymous said...

One side of the story here, and clearly not as many details as are relevant. No basis is given here for any conclusion by the readers of this blog. Perhaps others are better informed, but the attempt to gain support here fails on the merits. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

One of the protected disclosures and subsequent retaliation allegedly identified by the DOE OHA Judge, related to a safety matter in HEAF. HEAF is a Weapons and Complex Integration (WCI) facility managed by Principal Associate Director Charles P. Verdon, and he is the current nominee for NNSA Deputy Administrator. The Senate Armed Services Committee should have a series of focused whistleblower questions lined up for this NNSA Deputy Administrator nominee.

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps others are better informed..."

Many others are better informed LLNS spokesperson, sorry. Good luck Charles Verdon, you have some explaining to do.

Anonymous said...

Many others are better informed LLNS spokesperson, sorry.

March 25, 2018 at 3:07 PM

Not a LLNL spokesperson, never been associated with LLNL. Perhaps if you want support, "many others" who are better informed could inform those of us who aren't.

Anonymous said...

You are going to have a difficult time proving that your situation, aside from your own person and performance, is unique. Since the tiger teams have first appeared almost 30 years ago, it is difficult to imagine any part of your formal place of work escaping the regulatory and compliance straitjacket (compared to an earlier time). LLNL is similar to other places one may find to work in, success and failure come in cycles, we are nowhere as important as we think we are, and it’s a personal choice to take the kind of professional risk you have decided to take. Trouble lurks where ideology, bitterness and resentment grows.

Anonymous said...

The OHA Judge ruled in this case 6 months ago. Did LLNS have their legal fee reimbursement requests for this OHA case retroactively rejected by the NNSA LFO Contracting Officer, or have their annual award fee revised downward for confirmed acts of misconduct?

According to DOE legal fee reimbursement policy, a contractor who gets off on a technicality like, "we were going to fire the employee anyway" does not not dismiss underlying misconduct on the part of the contractor. The reimbursement policy makes sense if it is actually enforced by the local DOE/NNSA contracting officer. If the local contracting officer did not enforce the reimbursement policy, the contractor would always have the "we were going to fire the employee anyway" ace in the hole.

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