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Wyden: fix hiring problems at BPA, but don't compromise regional policymaking

From the October 14, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published October 14, 2013

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has called for a quick resolution of the problems with hiring practices at the Bonneville Power Administration, but without compromising regional policymaking. "It is important to make sure that this serious incident is not used as a lever to interfere with BPA policy decisions that should continue to be made in the Northwest, not in Washington, D.C.," Wyden said. The Public Power Council (PPC) commended Wyden for his statement and focus on the issue.

Wyden said he got a positive reaction from Deputy U.S. Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman when he made those points at an Oct. 10 meeting with Poneman, The Oregonian reported. 

While the Department of Energy can take steps to ensure administrative functions at BPA comply with the law, "this should not be misinterpreted as an open door to assert DOE control over BPA policies that are governed by laws set by Congress," the PPC said. 

The council called for a transparent approach to correcting the hiring issues, including identifying up-front the scope of needed actions, the specific steps to be taken, and the legal basis for those steps. That would help current and future employees gain confidence in the system, and will aid utilities and their customers in better understanding the significant potential costs and operational impacts, the PPC said. 

The DOE inspector general released a report early this month finding that BPA's recent hiring practices "disadvantaged veterans and other applicants." (See Public Power Daily, Oct. 11.)


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Senior Vice President, Publishing 
Jeanne Wickline LaBella

Editorial Director
Robert Varela

Editor, Public Power Daily
Jeannine Anderson

Communications Assistant
Fallon W. Forbush

Manager, Integrated Media 
David L. Blaylock

Integrated Media Editor 
Laura D’Alessandro