February 22, 2012

The Management of Post-Recovery Act Workforce Transition at Office of Environmental Management Sites 

We conducted an audit to determine whether the Department of Energy (Department) had developed and was properly executing an effective plan to transition its environmental remediation contractor workforce to a post-American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) posture.  We found that the Department and its contractors had developed plans to transition its workforce as Recovery Act funds were exhausted.  Our review of Recovery Act hiring practices at two major Environmental Management managed sites disclosed that, to the extent practicable, both sites took up front measures to control future separation costs in expectation that the workforce would be reduced at the completion of the Recovery Act projects.  However, the transition approach adopted at the Savannah River Site has resulted in unnecessary payments of nearly $7.7 million to separated contractor employees.  Inconsistencies in the approach used by the Hanford and Savannah River Sites to address workforce notice requirements, despite similarities in the number and mission of workers being displaced at the two sites, were not fully justified by management, led to increased transition costs at Savannah River Site and will likely result in disparate treatment of separating employees.  We made recommendations to ensure that transition costs are limited to those required and necessary and similarly situated workers are treated with reasonable consistency. 

Topic: Human Resources