PORTLAND, Ore. — The newly appointed administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration has been replaced in the midst of an inspector general’s investigation into allegations that veterans were not given proper preference in hiring, and managers may have retaliated against employees cooperating with the investigation.
An email from a deputy secretary of Energy to BPA employees on Monday said the acting deputy administrator, Elliot Mainzer, has been named acting administrator on an interim basis.
The email from Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel B. Poneman does not mention Bill Drummond, who was hired as BPA administrator in January, or give any explanation for his replacement.
But the announcement came out a day prior to an inspector general’s report finding there was evidence BPA was not giving federally required hiring preference to veterans.
The report —called a management alert— emphasized that there were concerns some employees were disciplined who had cooperated with the inspector general’s investigation, or who had raised concerns over the hiring practices.
Energy spokeswoman Niketa Kumar said in an email that the department could not comment on personnel matters, but noted that the department had made an official response to the inspector general’s investigation.
The July 15 letter from Energy Department Chief Human Capital Officer Robert C. Gibbs said that on July 10, the deputy secretary directed the BPA administrator to “take no adverse personnel actions against BPA’s Human Capital Management employees, to immediately suspend any such actions that had already been taken,” and to tell any employees who had been suspended to return to work immediately.