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Correct Mailing Address for Chapter 305 Election

TO: Members of NTEU Chapter 305

RE: Correct Mailing Address for Chapter 305 Election

NTEU Chapter 305 will be holding a chapter election in October, 2016.

We want to make sure that any mailings went out in the course of this election go to your correct home address.

If you have moved during the last 12 months or have not been receiving any materials from NTEU such as the NTEU Bulletin, please give us your correct address.

Fill out the attached form and mail to: NTEU Chapter 305 Election Committee, 1415 Fulton Road, #205-274, Santa Rosa, CA 95403. This needs to be received by 8/30/2016.


Name of NTEU Chapter 305 Member: ___________________________________

New Address: _____________________________________________________


Former Address: __________________________________________________


Please update my mailing address as stated above. You can contact me at the following:

_____________________________________ Signature _____________________ Date

_____________________________________Email _____________________Phone #




When TTB Management set about creating a quality assurance program at the NRC it could have chosen one of a thousand quality management programs that have been developed throughout the years, for various functions in both industry and government.  What a perfect time, as with so many other issues at the NRC, for management to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and implement its own, one-of-a-kind quality assurance program.  A similar quality program may have been implemented by management at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the former USSR.  All the elements are the same.  It starts with no one knowing what the hell is going on, followed by panic, followed by wildly flipping switches and turning knobs in an attempt to contain the problem, followed by everyone running for their lives, followed by a lead sarcophagus being constructed around the entire facility. 

While Chapter 305 doesn’t know how much lead will be needed to construct a sarcophagus around the NRC, we do know that it’s not too late to add immediate revisions to the QA Program before inevitable disaster strikes.  The impending failure of the NRC’s QA Program is actually a set of failures, each needing to be dealt with on its own merits of failure.  Chapter 305 has identified certain areas of failure below: 

There has not been any meaningful value added for industry members

The whole point of this program was for the benefit of our served industry members, not to increase their approval wait times and harass them for minor corrections that appear to be for fitting into the QA mold rather than correcting meaningful problems with submittals.

Underlying standards and procedures are not being updated

When a QA program is not anchored to standards, it becomes arbitrary at best and malicious at worst.  No one at the NRC can be identified as responsible for upgrading manuals and policies.  Of course, training, when it exists, isn’t standardized either.  Not only are policies not disseminated in an orderly way, the training structure no longer even exists to support it.  These inconsistencies create clear and definite hazards for NRC employees, promoting an environment of disengagement.  In an environment such as this, employees have every incentive to just do the bare minimum to keep from straying into the QA crosshairs. 

Control over annual performance reviews is taken from line managers

The QA Specialists, a group of non-managers, now have direct influence on performance appraisals.  This forces every NRC employee under this program to, in effect, play Russian roulette with his or her performance review each and every time a work item is reviewed for quality assurance.  Employees are not even allowed to ask the QA Specialists procedural questions to better improve their work products.  This task is reserved for the “Ombudsman” who Chapter 305 now believes may not really exist.  The Ombudsman, the supposed check on this system, is failing to answer employee questions in any timely and reasonable way.  Perhaps this roll can be filled by a monkey throwing darts at a board with random policy decisions.  At least some type of resolution would take place.  Perhaps each policy decision could be assigned arbitrary point values that employees could later add to their point levels.  Joking aside this is a serious problem. 

Who will be held accountable for the failure of this program?

Chapter 305 has the sneaking suspicion that NRC employees will be held accountable for this failure, as is the going culture.  So far we know that the QA Program has been highly effective in going after the most experienced employees.  It’s strange how a program so arbitrary in nature, with so few equitable standards, seems to be going after the most senior employees.  It’s almost as if the QA program has developed a life of its own and just doesn’t seem to like certain individuals at the NRC. 

The Way Ahead

A quality assurance program should complement the mission commitments, not hinder them.  NRC employees are being set-up for failure.  At this time, Chapter 305 would like to share some quotes from NRC employees on this program:

“Employees believe they are purposely setting up older employees for failure and hiding behind this program to do it.  It is unfairly based.”

“These crazy new programs for evaluations seem to be unfairly stacked against the employees”.

“If they are basing an error on the SOP, why can’t the employees have access or get a copy of these SOP’s they are quoting?”

“I didn’t want to retire until they were able to start getting some new people and get them trained, but this program has me rethinking this decision and I’m leaning toward retiring earlier than planned.”

“If management can’t get their programs together, how do they expect us to follow their programs?”

“Why are they not updating the desk manuals and other internal directives?  We are being held accountable for not reading their minds properly.”

“Why can’t we ask the QA before making the mistake and having it held against us if we guess wrong?”

This arbitrary, inconsistent program should be re-negotiated for the sake of both employees and industry members.  In the meantime, perhaps a large bucket of marbles can be put on manager’s desks.  Each marble can count for a random, arbitrary point that an employee may need for a fair and equitable performance review.  Employees can ask for “extra points” for work items that they feel are not being equitably valued by this system.  They can then present their buckets of marbles to their managers at the end of the performance year as bonus points.  Of course this idea is silly, but no more silly than the current QA setup, and at least has some consistency that the current program lacks.  Let us work together to put common sense in quality assurance. 




         The issue at hand involves TAD, and the TAD auditors, who have not been made aware that the promotion train left the station months ago.  First, let’s define what a good promotion process looks like:

1)      The employee believes that he or she is capable of the next level of career advancement and applies for the advanced position.

2)      Management selects employees based on knowledge, skills and abilities.

3)      Management promptly notifies employees of their selection, including notifying many employees that they didn’t get the promotion.

Now let’s looks at how things are done in the “Alice in Wonderland” TTB culture:

1)      The employee believes that he or she is capable of the next level of career advancement and applies for the advanced position.

2)      Employees are selected in a black box environment, the selectees not being announced, the non-selectees being strung along, and everyone is left to guess who made the cut.

3)      Management goes months on end withholding non-select letters from the applicants, hoping that they’ll just “get a clue” and go away. 

What we’ve just outlined is the TTB secret sauce for destroying morale.  Right now dozens of TAD employees are waiting for news of their promotions….or non-promotions.  This is inconsiderate at best.  It’s as if management thinks these people will be less upset by easing them into the news that they didn’t make the cut. 

PLEASE BE ADVISED that your time to file a grievance is not based on the timing of the selection process but that time you were notified that you were not selected.  This is the case even if the selection was months ago.  (See Article 9, Sections 9 and 10 for details). 



The NRC has been under a lot of pressure recently to improve customer service.  Yet service continues to decline.  This is the case not just for external customers but field employees as well.  The NRC is the nexus of information flow, yet it has been long neglected as a backwater.  Chapter 305 recognizes the NRC not as the backwater but backbone of TTB. 

This isn’t just a resource issue, it’s a trust issue.  Senior NRC employees, who’ve been doing the job for years, and even decades, are considered by TTB Management a burdensome legacy of the past, rather than experienced, practical people who’ve seen a lot, both good and bad.  These employees know their jobs the most intimately. 

It’s highly important that the NRC be fully funded to backfill all positions so that mission commitments can be kept.  Management must also recognize that experienced employees should not be marginalized, but be trusted resources.  This is especially true in regards to who is selected to train new employees.  It should go without saying that the most experienced people should be guiding the least experienced ones. 


Recording Or Monitoring


TTB employees shall not electronically record or monitor, or knowingly allow anyone else to electronically record or monitor any conversation (whether in person, on the telephone, or through the use of any other device) in which any other TTB employee is a participant whether on or off duty.

However, electronic recording or monitoring is permissible in any of the following circumstances:

a.  Consent. When all TTB participants are made aware of the electronic recording or monitoring and their consent is obtained beforehand.

b.  Investigation. When performed as part of an investigation for a law enforcement, intelligence, communications security or other administrative purpose if pre-approved in writing by the Administrator, Deputy Administrator, an Assistant Administrator, Chief Counsel or the Director, Office of Inspection or designee. This restriction applies only to TTB employees, not outside law

enforcement agencies, e.g. OIG or FBI.


NTEU President, Colleen Kelley, Meets with NRC Staff


Colleen Kelley was in the Cincinnati Federal building on March 4, 2014 meeting

with NTEU membership. Colleen’s visit reminds us that our rights and benefits as

employees will be slowly taken away unless we raise our voices. The Chapter 305

Membership was thrilled to pose for a photograph with Ms. Kelley (below):

Top Row: Audrey Addison, Colleen Kelley, and Rebecca Goforth

Bottom Row: Amy Glenn, Renee Yankey, Robin Paxton and Emily Ariizumi

NRC Specialist vs. Management joke


A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am." The woman below replied, "You're in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude."  "You must be an NRC specialist," said the balloonist. "I am," replied the woman, "How did you know?" "Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is, technically correct, but I've no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If anything, you've delayed my trip." The woman below responded, "You must be in Management." "I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?" "Well," said the woman, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's my fault."

Save Your Annual Reviews

How long have you worked for TTB? If it’s longer than four years remember that TTB is not responsible for keeping annual reviews or critical element ratings beyond that timeframe. Read More...


In the years before nursing homes the elderly were usually put in attics and basements to rock away their twilight years. Sometimes a large thud sounded through the house when one of them would attempt to get up, hence the term “off his rocker.” A loud thud was created recently when TTB Management fell off its own rocker. What is this all about? Read More...

Taxpayer Rights are YOUR Concern Too!

The assessment and collection of revenue is integral to what we do at TTB. We do our jobs not just as employees, but law abiding citizens of the country we love. The U.S. Congress and Executive Branch have set forth certain laws that protect taxpayers (including the industry members we regulate) with certain rights. The rights of an industry member should never be taken lightly. Read More...

PSST! You can join the NTEU by paying Cash or Credit!

We’ve all had them at some point in our career. They can be a terror to deal with on your best days, and a nightmare on your worst. We’re of course talking about bad managers. When you join the NTEU through payroll deduction, a Web-TA transaction is created. So what’s the big deal?

Filing an EEO? You Have Options

“Hey, your pictures look smokin’ hot on Facebook!” If that comes from your brother it’s weird enough. You don’t want to hear that coming from your manager. EEO laws are nothing to be taken lightly, and for good reason.