Report on the FY 2009 operations of the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA).
Here are highlights for the past year:
- Personnel security hearings. Under DOE's personnel security program, OHA conducts administrative hearings concerning individuals’ eligibility for access to classified information or special nuclear material. In FY 2009, we lowered the average time for processing a case by 16 percent (from 151 days to 126 days), and eliminated all older cases (those over 180 days old) from our end-of-year inventory.
- Whistleblower cases. Under the DOE Contractor Employee Protection Program, OHA conducts investigations and hearings, and considers appeals concerning whistleblower claims filed by DOE contractor employees. In FY 2009, we remained committed to eliminating our inventory of older cases. By the end of the year, OHA had resolved all cases older than 180 days. In addition, average case-processing time fell by over 40 percent (from 168 days to 100 days) compared to FY 2008.
- Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act Appeals. OHA considers appeals of agency denials of requests for information. In FY 2009, we continued to provide more timely decisions, further reducing our average case-processing time by 38 percent (from 34 days to 21 days) compared to FY 2008.
- Exceptions. OHA considers requests for relief from certain regulatory requirements, primarily Energy Information Administration (EIA) reporting requirements and the DOE appliance efficiency standards. We dramatically improved our average processing time of these cases as well in FY 2009.
- Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program Appeals. In FY 2009, OHA considered 38 Appeals of eligibility determinations under this new appeals program and completed work on all of these cases within 60 days of their receipt.
- Alternative Fuel Transportation Program Appeals. Near the end of FY 2009, OHA received the first of two recent Appeals filed under this program, which mandates the acquisition of alternative fuel vehicles by State governments and certain alternative fuel providers.