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Summary of Decisions - January 21, 2013 – January 25, 2013

January 25, 2013 - 11:15am


Personnel Security Hearing (10 CFR Part 710)

On January 23, 2013, an OHA Hearing Officer issued a decision in which he concluded that access authorization should not be restored to an individual at this time.  A Local Security Office suspended access authorization to the individual, alleging she had demonstrated financial irresponsibility, based on (1) collection accounts totaling $35,340; (2) charged-off accounts totaling $10,398; (3) garnishment of her wages for an unpaid judgment of $10,785; (4) failure to make any payments on delinquent debt following a personnel security hearing one year earlier; (5) failure to file her 2010 income taxes notwithstanding a filing extension which had expired; and (6) failure to file or request an extension to file her 2011 income taxes.  After conducting a hearing and evaluating the documentary and testimonial evidence, the Hearing Officer found that the individual, while anticipating filing for bankruptcy, had made no payments on her consumer debt since 2010. Although the individual has subsequently filed for bankruptcy her debts have not yet been discharged and she has not mitigated concerns about the circumstances which led to the necessity to seek protection from the bankruptcy court. The Hearing Officer also found that the individual has subsequently filed her income tax returns for 2010 and 2011 but owed taxes to the federal government for each of those years which remains unpaid without a payment plan in place.  At this point, it is not possible to find that the individual has demonstrated a sustained period of financial responsibility for a significant period of time relative to her demonstrated financial irresponsibility.  OHA Case No. PSH-12-0121 (Wade M. Boswell, H.O.)

Freedom of Information Act Appeals

On January 23, 2013, OHA issued a decision remanding an appeal (Appeal) from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) determination issued by the Golden Field Office (GFO).  The Appellant appealed the GFO’s decision to apply Exemption 4 and withhold a settlement amount between the American Iron and Steele Institute (AISI) and the Department of Energy (DOE), which was the total amount that AISI was required to reimburse DOE pursuant to a Cooperative Agreement.  OHA determined that the GFO did not adequately explain why disclosure of the final settlement amount would subject the AISI, or its subcontractors, to competitive harm by revealing specific program or equipment costs.  OHA Case No. FIA-13-0001

On January 23, 2013, OHA issued a decision denying an appeal (Appeal) from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) determination issued by the Office of Information Resources (OIR).  Among other grounds for its appeal, the Appellant appealed the OIR’s decision to withhold portions of the released documents pursuant to Exemption 5’s deliberative process privilege.  After reviewing the redacted information, OHA determined that the withheld information was deliberative as it contained discussions between individuals regarding a specific topic related to the budget for the 2011 fiscal year.  OHA Case No. FIA-13-0002