NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS CLOSEOUT MEMORANDUM TO: AIGI File Number: I96110056 Date: 28 March 2002 Subject: Closeout Memo I Page 1 of 1 There was no closeout written at the time this case was closed. The following information was extracted from the file in conformance with standard closeout documents. Our office was informed that the subject' was alleged to have been involved with non-financial Conflict of Interests issues. Our investigation found that the subject violated numerous COI statutes. The AUSA declined the case for prosecution. Our further investigation found that an NSF directorate2used a cooperative agreement3to improperly hire 4 people to work directly for them. The misuse of the cooperative agreement would have cost NSF $234,233. The Deputy Director issued letters of reprimand to three directorate employees,4and letters of censure to four directorate employees.5 Accordingly this case is closed. ,-4 . a% + J P :-- 3 t ,TIOW ,m \ -, FOUNDATIO 4201 WILSON BOULEVARD P ARUNWON, VIRGINIA 22ZSO MEMORANDUM TO: rrlspectorOend . -- FROM: SUBJBCX Office of inspector General Report Nc Hi&! Pradices in the Directorate for ~~t in C ~ ~of~Intens&c t Violadons t i h a & Costsu In your April 7,1997 InvedgationReport, you discuss questionable pmcdicd within the ~inxtoratef o - m ) and raise issues of conflict-of-'i violations and issues ~ 0 1 1 ~ t h o a p p r o p & e n e sofattainhiringmecbanisms*used s by-and theirrelatedc~ststothe~~-'* ' " B e a m YOU concluded that certain individuals a d tbiisupemhorn eagaged in condt& that violated f e d d conftia ofin~ntles,the~wasrefearedtoth, it declined pmsecution. Consequently, you r e f d all of the issues raised in your on . Report to b -- Director and Deputy Diredor for approp@e ndmlnlstmtiveaction. A subsequent addendumto your Report addressed a third instance - - of questionablepraUioes. ~ubDcqudDtto the submissionof the Inve&@on Report by the Office of Inspedor Oeneral (OIO),we:reoeived additional comments h m several individd who stated that they previously @d not have d c i e n t time in which tp respond to portions of the drdi report Chat you had pmvided to them cariicr for comment. I have reviewedyour .Report, those additionalcomrneats, and reoeived advice h m my stafFand the Office of the CSenefal Counsel (OOC)on all of the issues raised in your Report. Based on that d e w , I have decided to take the follotving actions in nxponse to the OICS ~ e o o r n m ~ o n s . Recommendation I: Determine whether Mcient for it to conduct @operations, ll??r a1location of lW.E pnd CPA posttiom is rfnot, make appropriate @ustments. Implementation ofthls recommendation should include an assessment of wherher the additional wsts associated with the hiring practices described in this report (totaling more than $lSO,OOO d&) are acceptable comequences of a reduction in the Foundation 's FTE and P A usage. TIE docation of FI8 and P A positions to m u s t be sddresgsd in the context of the o v d constraints under whio, - -wrates. ' FTE c o a t s msult both &om federally .. m811WsCreamlrtungtargets and from limitations contained in appmpriationsfb . S . M e s and Expeosas Account. It is not and has never bek .-- ~tentionto simply balance FTB reductions with IPA increases. The situation is complicated by commitments made byi on behalfof for stafEng of interagency activities ~cidnbation We agree with you that n PTB a@ P A positions, but on s t d h g allooations among notjust t o ~ a I I o c a t i o of allclhbtQ-. - oqpdz&o&to - Once the study is complete, I will revisit FIB and IPA atlodons and will ask all ho~theywillmeet their operadugncods, including. commitme4ts for hkrageny activities, witbin revisedFIT3 and IPA 'allomtiom. Their repo- should include considdon of changes in how staff conduct their business in order to make most effective use of available FTBs and IPAs. . . I As you wcmFeolly note, the additional costs I your Report are largely due to overhead costs at I submads In general, the significant I n o ~ @ o e s ~ n o t ~ l e a n d , i n t h e ~ s w h h i r i- a- g ~ o e .s should only bc used in temporary &uaencies with the -licit con- of the COO., -- s~valofsaysuohhiriagmechanismwillbebasedonan~liat justificatiopthatweighsthc~oostswiththcbmefitstobed AntbaIrrJtancesi~adintheadReportwfiasthsc~~wasussdan temprary ~ c m Our assessment ~ . of those a.mmgemmis that aay adiontahnat~is~intintimeddb~~veapdatleast~yoody~iht ~~ agency. They will be allowed to mire as cumntly planned (one of the individuals has a k d y left the Foundation), and undegno chumstances will the r a m b h g ammgementsbe xeneW86 The mmgemcnt described in the Repoit's addend- has not yet been fully ' consummatad. I have asked that the arrangement bc d l i s h e d under, .- regular hiring prwtiots by October 1, with the individual involved moved to an FTE or IPA position, or the individual's employment ferminated -v Rewmenclbtion 2: Ensure that all - or@ng mangemerats arefiJ&disclosed to and qpproved fn writing by the appropriate adminfstr&e OBW. Because the practices described bthe report did not directly involve NSF employees (FIBS) or PAS on& the arrangements wi were made, they appeat not to have been regarded as WSF s M i n g agree 4th you, however, that .. imdEcient attention was paid to the.specificatrangements described in your Report, and that *theappropxiate t x h m h t've ~ offices should have been consulted or made more fully aware of the proposed stafbg amngements. Actions: The staff memorandum initiating the FTE/IPA allocation study will also make clear that all WSF staflhg arrangements,a LC, all axaagements fbr suppoxling NSF activities (imclluding NSF participation in interagency efirts), must bc canied out by FIBS,IPAs, or contractorpersonnel, ex* under vay unusual .- Any other mechanism nquim the ctq,nxs concumncc of the COO. I have asked BFA & came that t h m are no o t k instanoes of p@ces kchas those descriiintheReport. Ifth~are,wlewillmAkearrangementsto&~terminate them or, if ippmpriate, let them expire and not be m d Rewnmen&ion 3: EMnfne having co@llcts (0s icht@edby this wnddkrs to have been adversely c@cted by t h e i r ~ ~ i Aspml o n of the hpJemeratrton of this i e w ~ e t & k . t b ~NSF-shouldw&&r whethet to immediate& mpdaqy or (rllo f k e a w ~ d wmp~etion r ~ of the evaluztbn shody after receipt of the 010nq o rt ,m - - in consultation witti 00c detemined that thae was no mason to imm- suspend any of the devant awards. mbsequdy conducted th r e c o m m ~~ 0 and concluded 0 been advmely affedad by the partidpkion of indivibils having conflicts (as identified in the RepoIt). Thesizeandsoopeoftheforth office was determined through interagency recesses prior to the props participation on otheql)awardr took place either before or a8a he was awan of the potential change of firndiag. Thc 010 Report also raised questions with respect to some o t h e r ~ a w a dbased s on c the status of the individual's wife, who is employed by a s u b e o n ( r a o t o r . Agah, the size and scope of these a&' were determined by an interagency m c t i m y h g out their direction. The individual did not handle dght have resulted in h d i n g for his wife through the adverse impact hm.theindividual's holvkment - - The.awardst o L reviewed w i t h the - 's ~ i v i s i o nhandled by A wcrs Division; rather thatl by individuals com1etely e x t e d to the- decision pmcess. Because those in &rn .I I& of command i dsigned off on the original awards pmocss, I have determinedthat some additiohal review o u t s i d e m i s wzlmmted b. I ham asked that t h m a w a d s -h rmzviewed by appmp&e NSF staffextemd to th which th & P A participated be Ditworate in order to independently establish whether or not the funding decisions w d appmpriately supported by the d e w s and not adversely &+ by the IPA's participatioa-This exsmiaatonshould be completed no later than September 5,1997. RecommemWon 4: D e f d n e whether the t h & v W described in the aftachedreports can w& in their currentposfrtiorp;t& correctfveaction with rep@ to their status; andrerack appmprlate a n c i s p e ~ i c ~guldmroc ~ e n that a d i k s e s whether thtycan rend~rad~fceor take rng,actioi'on rnry matter regmiing- - W e have d&emined that all the individualsd d b e d in your Report whose @atusis manedwill be m t t e d b continue in their ournot positions. Prsmaflne terminafion oftheir assignmeatswould cause appointment expiration date. s L Aqtions: 0 , I have requested that OW develop written guidanck t1;at addresses whether the &edsd individuals can render advice to,staEat.NSFor at other agencies or take any b d -guidancehas W y been pm~dedto I tun requesting ffui make an cady decision on a n y . p o s s i b 1 ~ ofthe- d P A and providejustification for and obtain crtplioit con-- ofthe COO for f meml. RecommendaHon 5: Uh&vtake a thorough review ofthe ethics t r & i n g p f o ~ t ~ ~ employees to &I& W@ atcf~lgtratdngpmgrants w w -e to alert them (0 these w@icl~. Make certain tlunm0,ethics training &$ldetlcies c q c~ o d e d m r d t h e r n p ~ o ~can e demonstrate s that tirty hcr~ran w e umiiwstaitding o f t k ~Micts r ~ o n s wwch~ o they are djeot. I .. % .. . d pur '&or& it appclus ~ a s e on that t h e ~ e m p 1 o y e e involved s in any df o~nflicts ~ o r e z r o r s i n j r u d g m c o t ~ ~ v e d ~ ~ e t h i ~ ~ ~ p rrs& I agree with your recommkdation that the unique ckamshnce~ of- situation Waly contniuted to a lack ofqpmpriatc attentionand sensitivitits by ths . individuals imrolvab@o$l*&- iwolvad a n d t h d r ~ to)codiots of htmstrules and-. t ' s ...- J 3 t. w Aotim* 0- I:(ems.,. 2 . I b report raised a nu&ex ofissues that were not c i i m t ~ ~ in the ttcommendations. Two merit porno ~ U c iattention: t the rslatiomhip b e t w a t n a n d . . I the organhtion increased potenti L.. that manages its single largest activityw, and the or conflicts of interests in nmmghg interagency pmgmms. Actions: c , . I have asked tlpit d s -fUy its working relationsliip with.)= . particular, I want them to make sure that they have pmcedures in place to use the . - o p e agreement efficiently and effectively for the purposes intended when it was established.Funding arrangements for activities outside of-p~rt should be handled through other v @ c l ~ . 1have also requested that OGC review the possible need to enhance the ethics training provided to NSF Win all Directorates that are involved in d e w proasses for (or detailed to) offices COO- interageacy p r o m . I.". .---- -- - - 4201 WILSON BOULEVARD ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA 22230 August 28, 1997 ORICEOFllE OEPV~~DIRECIOR MEMORANDUM. 1 . : . ..y . TO: Acting Deputy D i i r .- a*.. FROM: .3!' RE: Inspcaor General hvcati ation Report No. 196110056, bbHhbgPractices lntheDirectoratefor9 - -> I 1 .., TI& m e m o d r m expresses my disappointment in your failure . conflict-of-hemst issues during the process of making awards to provide NSF support for the interagency . . 1have reviewed thc findingsof the lnspcctor General's report on ~nvkstigationNo. I96110056, dated April 7,1997. I a b reviewed your June 6" oomplents on the Inspector General's Report. 'Ihe G r t indicates that you fMedto identi@ and ad- conflicts vulnerabilities. I consider this to constitute Inexcusable misconduct. Since the Department of Justice has declined to .. pursue civil ac cciminal action against you in thip amtter. the I&pe&r General has r e f e d your case to me for appropriate &umtmtl 've action. I M y recognh you have done much good work during your tenure at NSF. While not excusing your ethtcat insensitivity in this case, your past good work led me to impose less severe than I might otherwise have done under these chmstances. I trust that such misconduct will not bc repeated - - -questions If you have any w - about this memorandum, please contact the General Counsel. cc: 'Ooc * NATIONAL SCIENCE August 28, 1997 TO: FROM: Acting Deputy Director SUBJECT: Inspector General Investigation Report No. 1961 10056. "Hiring Practices in the Directorate for Ibis memorandum cxpressw my significant concern and disappointment with your.actions and the actioni of several of your employees in the matters described by the Inspector General's report on certain hiring practices and on conflict of interest violations within the Dimtorace for .- As the senior manager in & y6u bear the ultimate mponsibility for the appropnatencss of such management prawces. and your inexcusable actions did not reflect the goodjudgment NSF expects from members of its senior management team. So that there is no misunderstanding of the bases for thismemomndum. the following describes your inappropriate conduct or those matters which reflect a serious lapse in judgment. " 4 (1) Your use of a non-standard mechanism for staffine n s i b i l i t i e s disregarded the intent of the Chief 0pe.rating Officer's express gui ct on FTEs and IPAs. Even.as "one- - time temporary actionsn, your decision to "contract out" four positions without informing - - the Chief Operating Officer of your intentions avoided the hard calls necessary to make timely reductions in smng levels through adjustments in(tions. . (2) You failed to anticipate and consider the conflicts of interest issues that were triggered by the rtaffin arrangements you had suggested and approved placing both the grantee awards . at risk a n d b in jsopady of serious conflicts violations. [n taking these actions, you failed to adequately consider the increased costs associated with the staffing conversions described in the 010 report and to adequatelyjustify them. Given the sensitivity both within and outside NSF concerning stafing levels, your decision left the agency open to charges that it was inappropriately increasing its staff size at some considerable expense of pmgram funds. I am disturbed by the need to write this memorandum and hope that there will be no future occurrences of this nature. especially since your service to the Foundation and to the federal government has; until this point. been significant. I believe that this matter has already sewed as an appropriate learning experience. - NATlONAL SCIENCE FOUNDAtlON 4201 WILSON BOU&RD ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA 22230 August 28, 1997 ,. . . MEMORANDUM TO: Division ~ i r r n o r . m FROM: Acting Deputy Director RE: Inspector General No. 196110056. "Hiring Practices in the D i m r a t e fo This memorandumreprimands you for your Mlmto comply with applicable conflict-of-intern stand-. Ihave reviewed the fmdiags of the lnspmor General's repon on Invenigation No. !96110056. dated April 7. IOW. 1 also reviewed your June 5" comments on the Inspector General's Repon. The InspectorGeneral concluded involving his home innitution. the time. you w e senring as the was Krving in your Division should not haadlc NSF s p W rrsponsibility for taking appropriate actions a p r r v m m f f fmm handlingproposals and awards tn. . which they have diiualifLing conflicts of in- Iam especially disappointed that you completely failed to cany out chat responsibility in this case. Iconsider thk to be inexcusable miscon,duct on your pan Inthe fume, Iexpect chat you will maintainan appropriate rccusal system in order to avoid exposing other m t a f f t o conflictsf-inurest violations. Inote drat your comments indicate that you have already instituted such a procsdun. Ihe public has a right to be confident that the NSF strialy adhats to basic ethical principles. Such public confidence is vitally important to the Foundation. Accordingly. Ihave ordered NSF staff outside of t h e D b c a t e a conduct a comprehensive mimo f t h e decisions in uation to daerminc whether *Cy wee appmpriately supported by the reviews and not adversely aflecud by improper pardcipation. Irecognize that you have done much good work for the Foundation during your tenure here. While not excusing your poor judgment in the-matter. Ihave taken this good work into account in imposing less scvm discipline than I might otherwise have done under these circumstances. Itrust that such misconduct will not be repeated. Ifyou have any questions about the contents o f thii memorandum. please contact the ~eneralCounsel. - .-.-a. Be advised that a copy of this reprimand will be placed in your official personnel file. I f you engage in no funhcr misconduct during the next twelve months. it will be removed from the file and destroyed. cc: OOC **lB.a NATtONACSCIENCE FOUNDATION 4201 WILSON BOUEVARD ARUNOtON, VIRGINIA S230 August 28, 1997 I FROM: RE: .z AdngDeputy DEteqor r * ? .# r I961 10056, "Hiring P d c e s . This muuomndm r e p h a d pu f$r your fhilm to fully and appm~ritml~ consult _NSF sdmt\ktr&c officialsin csmbfiiag amuigcments with the 7for NSF staffntpwn COT the-&nI J * I have the W i of the hspecmc G e n d s report on 111v@gation No. 196110056, d a d ' April 7.1997.1 a h reviewedyour June 9c o ~ c a on o the Inspahr Gcnd's Repat' dedchat ouirnpmpuiyurcda ~bo'hpcaiurChdconc~ tnuccusable nrtsconduct, .Z . 1Mly temgakc Wyw bave done much good k d c during your tenure at NSF. While notwcqsing your admtalstmhand ethical shortcomings in &is case. your past good wodc led me to impose less same disclptincthaa I might obrwwisc have done under thesc cimunsstanccs. 1 tmst that Nth mhnduct MI1not be & If mu hak any quatbns abwt this memorandum. please contact the General Counsel - Be advised drat a copy ofthis reprimand will be placed in your official pcisonnel file. If you engage h no f i d c r misonductduring the next twelve months. it will be removed fiom the file and dm* + L -.. v . - cc: OOC HRM NATIONAL SCIENCE 4201 WILSON BOULEVARD ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA 22230 ,.4'3.srlY -tnsf$. August 28, 1997 MEMORANDUM FROM: Acting Deputy Director RE: InspectorGeneral Investigation Report No. 196110056, "Hiring Practices d f- in the Directorate my disappointment in your failure to recognize that your subordinate, a disqualiwng conflictsf-interest as to NSF matters involving his . a' . to take appropriate action to address that issue. . . Ihave reviewed the findings of the Inspector General's report on Inv*&igation .I96110056, dated April 7,1997. 1also reviewed your June 6th -men& on the InspectorGene8s &port$ . -. *' ... The InspectorGeneral concluded that certain ma!ters involving his home i , . Thc Report also conclud completely failed to take any steps - infxcusabiemisoonducton . r n;'~ublic has a right to be confident that the NSF strictly adheres to basic ethical principles. Such to the Foundation. Accordingly, I have ordered NSF staff irectorate to conduct a comprehensive review of the supported by the 4f: . ' -.s Ifilly rccognb that you have done inuch good wok for the Foundationduring your tenure here. While not excusing your ethical insensitivity in this case your past good wok lad me to impose less scvetr diiipline than Imight otherwise have done under these circumstances. Itrust that such misconduct will not be repeated. ' -. - If you . .have - any questions about this memorandum, please contact the General Counsel, ' cc: OOC NAiiONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATl 4201 WISON 0oULEVARD ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA 22230 August 28, 1997 MEMORANDUM TO: II)Program Director. I r . w m FROM: Acting Deputy Director I RE: * Inspector General 196 1 10056. "Hiring Practices in the Directorate rrrses my disappointment in your failure to -gnizeethat your subordinate- had a disqualifying conflict-of-interest as to NSF mattes involving his horne failure to take appropriate action to address &at issue. . . '1have reviewed the findings of the inspector ~ e n e d report ; on Investigation NO. 196110056. dated April 7,1997. 1also reviewedyour June 5th comments on the [nspcctor~eneral'sReport. The 1r- ~ e h e a iconcluded i that matt#s involving his'home institutio The Report also c~ncludedthat you to take any steps to prcvqt him fio misconduct on your part. 'bpublic has a right to be confident that the NSF strictly adheres to basic cthisal prhcipla.. Such pblic confidence is vitally impomt to the Foundation. Accordingly, I have ordered appropriate NSF roffto conduct a onnprehensive review of the a decisions to determine whether they Were .ppmpcktcIy suppotted by the ~ i e wands not adversely affected- b impropcr pfdcifMitkm. , J I fblly ~ # ~ ) g n ithat z e you have done much good work for h e Foundation during your tenw h a While excusing your ethical insensitivity in this case, your past good work I d m e to i m p e 1 7 revere discipline duur I might othetwise have done under these circumstances. I trust that such misconduct will not be m e If you have any questions about this memorandum, please contact the General Counsel. 0 N A ~ o N A SCIENCE L FOUNDA 4201 WuoN 8 0 U m D 4bH ARUNOTON, VIRQINIA 22230 August 28, 1997 MEMORANDUM TO: FROM: Acting Deputy irkt tor RE: Inspector General [nvesti ation Report No. 196110056. "Hiring Practices in the oi-rdtc for- This memorandum reprimands you for your failure to comply with applicable conflict-oMnterest standards while serving the NationalScience Foundation under an IntergovernmentalPetsonnel Act (IPA) assignment. 3 , t have reviewed the findings of the Inspector General's report on InvestigationNO.196110056. dated . Aphl7.1997. 1also reviewed your June S~ comments on the Inspector General's Report. The Inspector General concluded involving your home institution, the Since the Department o f Justice inspeaor ~ e n e nreferred l your arc to i e for eppriatc administrati~e~~on. Your unlawful participation in &-ahxis represented very serious and i n ~ l c . misconduct. The public has a right to be confident that the NSF strictly adhem to basic ethical principles. Such public confidence is the Foundation. .Accordingly, Ihave NSF staffoutside to conduct a comprehensive review of the relevan awatds decisions weie appropriately supportedby the affected by your inipkper patticipation. .I IMa- o f the mitigatingfactorr cited in the Inspeaor ~eneral'sRepor& Ia h uadershtndthat you have done much good work for the Foundation during your tenwe hem. While not excusing your ethical misconduct, these factors led me to impose less severe discipline than 1 might othedse have done under these circumstances. Itrust that such misconduct will not be repeated. a-l, - .., t f you have any questions about the contents of this memorandum. please contact the General Be advised that a copy of this reprimand will be p i a d in your personnel file. lf you engage in no M e r misconduct during the next twelve months, it will removed ftom the file and destroyed.
Published by the National Science Foundation, Office of Inspector General on 1997-09-30.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)