Audit blasts BPA hiring, promotion practices

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PORTLAND— The U.S. Department of Energy has released a highly critical audit of human resources activities at Bonneville Power Administration, saying the agency’s hiring and promotion practices are ineffective.

The audit revealed pervasive misapplications and departures from federal hiring guidelines and laws. Major violations were found in more than half the hiring cases reviewed, with applicants either being “erroneously disqualified or mis-qualified.”

Many of the specific problems were identified in the agency’s 2010 audit. The 2013 Human Capital Management Accountability Program audit, released Friday under Freedom of Information Act requests, said those issues have only gotten worse.

The bad audit comes at a time when the Office of Inspector General is reviewing complaints from whistle-blowers.

The Inspector General’s office issued a management alert July 16 after receiving “credible” reports of retaliation against whistle-blowers about hiring violations and discrimination against veterans.

The Energy Department placed BPA Administrator Bill Drummond and Chief Operating Officer Anita Decker on indefinite leave.

The department still hasn’t said why the two were suspended.

A number of current and former BPA managers downplay the problems. They the intent was to winnow pools of applicants to manageable numbers.

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