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Summary of Decisions - October 28, 2013 – November 1, 2013

November 1, 2013 - 9:12am

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Personnel Security Hearing (10 CFR Part 710)

On November 1, 2013, a Hearing Officer issued a decision in which he determined that an individual’s access authorization should not be restored. In reaching this determination, the Hearing Officer found that the individual had not resolved security concerns regarding the concerns arising from his lengthy history of financial irresponsibility and his failure to timely comply with an information request regarding his financial status. At the hearing, the individual testified that his failure to provide the financial information in a timely manner was caused, in part, by his son’s automobile accident and the death of his neighbor. The individual also testified that with regard to the four financial accounts that comprised DOE’s information request, all of the accounts had been satisfied as of the date of the hearing. After evaluating the evidence, the Hearing Officer found that the individual had not submitted sufficient evidence to resolve the concern about his failure to provide the requested information in a timely manner since the individual had been given an extension and had been informed of the consequences of failing to provide the information.  The Hearing Officer further found with regard to the individual’s financial record that the individual had not demonstrated a sufficient period of financial responsibility to resolve the concerns raised by his extensive history of delinquent debts.  OHA Case No. PSH-13-0092 (Richard Cronin)  

On October 10, 2013, an OHA Hearing Officer issued a decision in which he determined that an individual’s DOE access authorization should not be restored.  The record showed that the individual had an arrest for Driving While Intoxicated, an arrest for an outstanding bench warrant, and an alcohol-related termination of employment.  A DOE psychologist also diagnosed the individual with Alcohol Abuse.  Based upon the evidence presented, the Hearing Officer found that the individual had not shown that he was reformed or rehabilitated from his Alcohol Abuse.  Consequently, the Hearing Officer further found that the individual had not mitigated the security concerns raised by his criminal activity since that activity was symptomatic of his Alcohol Abuse.  However, the Hearing Officer determined that an allegation that the individual had deliberately omitted information from a security form to be unfounded. OHA Case No. PSH-13-0088 (Steven L. Fine)

Freedom of Information Act Appeal

On October 29, 2013, OHA issued a decision denying an appeal (Appeal) from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) determination issued by the DOE’s Office of Information Resources (OIR). The Hanford Atomic Metals Trades Council (Appellant) sought records of communications between DOE employees and DOE-contractor employees at the DOE’s Hanford facility regarding collective bargaining, desired changes in wages, terms and conditions of employment, potential strikes, or closures. In its July 31, 2013, response (Response), OIR identified 33 documents of which it withheld portions of 28 documents pursuant to FOIA Exemption 5, citing the deliberative process and attorney-client privileges of Exemption 5.  After reviewing the documents, OHA found that the information withheld under the deliberative process privilege consisted of opinions and assessments regarding the status of the negotiations, general economic issues regarding any labor agreement resulting from the negotiations, and discussions regarding options in responding to inquiries about the negotiations. Consequently, given the pre-decisional nature of this material, OHA found that this material was properly withheld pursuant to Exemption 5’s deliberative process privilege. OHA also found that the information withheld under the attorney-client privilege was properly withheld because the information consisted of legal opinions and advice regarding the negotiations rendered by DOE attorneys.  Based upon these determinations, the Appeal was denied.  OHA Case No. FIA-13-0058

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