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Embattled Obama Admin. Nuclear Regulator To Resign | Missouri Political News Service

Embattled Obama Admin. Nuclear Regulator To Resign

May 21st, 2012 by mopns · No Comments

Another embattled Obama administration official is stepping down this morning. The New York Times reports, “Gregory B. Jaczko, whose three-year tenure as chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been marked by bitter battles with colleagues and with Congress, announced Monday that he would step down as soon as a successor was confirmed.” The AP adds, “His resignation comes after fellow NRC commissioners criticized Jaczko, revealing dissension among the top leaders of the safety agency. Those commissioners – two Democrats and two Republicans – said Jaczko, a Democrat, was responsible for a tense and unsettled work environment at the NRC. The four commissioners sent a letter to the White House in October expressing ‘grave concern’ about Jaczko’ s actions.” Roll Call notes, “Jaczko, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and opponent of using the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada, announced he would resign Monday morning but made his resignation effective once the Senate confirms a successor. . . . Reid pulled out all the stops to get Jaczko appointed to the NRC during the Bush administration, applying blanket holds to the administration’s nominees until they agreed to appoint him. The other four members of the NRC — two Republicans and two Democrats — complained last year that Jaczko has an abusive and bullying management style.”

Back in December, though, when the concerns about Jaczko were aired in congressional hearing, he’d said he wouldn’t resign. At the time, The Hill wrote, “Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko told a House committee Wednesday that he has no plans to resign amid allegations from his colleagues that his leadership style could prevent the agency from protecting public health and safety. ‘I have no plans to resign because I continue to believe that under my leadership the agency has performed very well,’ Jaczko, a Democrat, said during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing. . . . The four NRC commissioners — two Democrats and two Republicans — delivered a unified rebuke of Jaczko’s leadership at the hearing, accusing him of ‘continued outbursts of abusive rage’ toward staff and withholding key information from his colleagues.”

According to Reuters, “Jaczko bullied employees, humiliated female workers and blocked information from being shared, the other commissioners told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee [in December]. Commissioners William Ostendorff and Kristine Svinicki said they have lost confidence in Jaczko’s leadership. . . . Jaczko’s ‘extreme behavior’ toward three women in separate instances caused one of the employees to cry in front of male co-workers, Commissioner William Magwood told the committee. Other commissioners told lawmakers that Jaczko had intimated NRC staff.”

And a December AP report added, “The commissioners told Congress the women at the NRC felt particularly intimidated by Jaczko. Commissioner William Magwood told the oversight panel that Jaczko had bullied and belittled at least three female staff members, one of whom told Magwood she was ‘humiliated’ by what Magwood called a ‘raging verbal assault.’ Kristine Svinicki, the commission’s only woman, told committee investigators that she was so uncomfortable around Jaczko that she asked her chief of staff to ‘keep watch’ over a private meeting with the chairman in Svinicki’s office.”

Last month, news reports noted that a new report from the NRC Inspector General is forthcoming. Reuters pointed out, “The NRC’s inspector general is expected soon to issue a report that is likely to focus on the tensions on the commission.” And according to National Journal, “[T]he NRC’s inspector general is still conducting an investigation of last year’s allegations and whenever a report is released, it is sure to reopen some of these wounds. An IG report last June already criticized the chairman for not being ‘forthcoming’ with his fellow commissioners leading up to the shutdown of the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste repository in Nevada.”


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