BPA hearing: Decker denies whistleblower retaliation

The Bonneville Power Administration's plan to curtail wind power is meeting strong resistance on a number of fronts.

A Congressional hearing on Thursday focused on whether BPA officials retaliated against whistleblowers. 

The Bonneville Power Administration's chief operating officer denied charges during a Congressional hearing that the agency knowingly violated federal hiring guidelines and retaliated against whistleblowers.

The Thursday hearing on Capitol Hill stemmed from a Department of Energy review released July 17 that concluded that "Bonneville engaged in a number of prohibited personnel practices. Notably, Bonneville's hiring practices appeared to have disadvantaged veterans and other applicants," in violation of federal hiring practices.

The investigation was prompted by an anonymous tip received by the DOE's Office of Inspector General in June 2012. During the special inquiry that followed, investigators received complaints of management retaliation against BPA staffers who were cooperating with the inquiry.

As the Oregonian reports, BPA Chief Operating Officer Anne Decker, who was put on administrative leave on July 15, testified that any actions taken against BPA employees resulted from poor performance not retaliation.

Decker also said that she would never have knowingly violated hiring practices that give special treatment to military applicants, and that once hiring violations became apparent, the situation was remedied within two days.

Noticeably absent from the hearing was BPA Administrator Bill Drummond, who, like Decker, is on administrative leave. According to the Oregonian report, it's unclear why Drummond did not appear.

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