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From: Mary Shafer <>
Subject: Re: Worm debate
Date: 29 Oct 1999 13:30:15 -0700

Name_withheld writes:

> I wonder when Dan will realize that the hologram on the NASA ID
> Badge is a worm.

No hologram on my badge, although it does have the seal (not the
meatball) printed beside the photo.  This is a new badge, though.

> I have never in my 20 years heard any of my fellow employees ask for
> a return of the meatball..

In my many years (I first worked at NASA in 1967 as a summer hire
while I was in college) I never heard any of my fellow employees
express fondness for, or admiration of, the worm.  I did hear them
yearn repeatedly for the meatball.  When it came back, great
jubilation was the order of the day.

> My impression is that everyone believes that there are more
> important things to worry about.

A stone in the shoe isn't as important as a broken arm, but it's
amazing how much getting rid of the stone can help.

> Under Dan's leadership,  a NASA employee can no longer tell a
> contractor what to do or how to do it.   One cannot even ask for
> something without going through all government and contractor layers
> of management.  One must not insult a contractor in any way, but they
> are allowed to circulate disrespectful email without reprisal.

Trying to run the contractor's business, eh?  Were you one of the
people that was telling support service contractors how much to pay
their employees and when to give them raises and which friend or
relative to hire and so on a few years ago?  Talk about ruining it for
the other field centers--treating the contractors as private fiefdoms
that way just about lost all of us our contractors.  It wasn't Dan
that got the support service contractors moved outside the fence
there, it was OMB and the ethics police.  I'm still astounded that
none of you went to jail, particularly over the friends and relatives.

I got stuck on the committee to ensure we didn't emulate you guys and
lose our contractors, as we're really too small and too understaffed
to separate civil servants and contractors physically.  About the best
we can do is try for separate offices, or at least opposite ends of
the same office.  That assignment was one of the most miserable
assignments I've ever had, reading all that OMB stuff and court
decisions and everything.

For those of you unfamiliar with the rules governing interactions
between civil servants and contractors, civil servants have _never_
legally been able to tell contractor employees what to do and how to
do it, particularly on a day-to-day basis.  The contracts aren't
written that way, the regulations forbid it, and the biennial training
emphasizes it.  I've been a COTR since before they were called COTRs;
I became a TM in '78.  In the course of the subsequent 21 years, I've
never been taught or told anything that even hinted at being allowed
to tell contracters what to do or how to do it, except in response to
their queries.

Mary Shafer     Of course I don't speak for NASA
Lead Handling Qualities Engineer, SR-71/LASRE
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA
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