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NASA Officials Received Bonuses for Good Management

March 18, 1986

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Some of the NASA officials whose decision-making process has been criticized as a result of the Challenger accident received bonuses for good management last year.

Jesse Moore, who directed the shuttle program, received a good management bonus of $13,737, the largest single 1985 performance award in NASA’s executive ranks, said Jerry Brown of NASA’s executive personnel office..

William Lucas, director of the Marshall Space Flight Center, got $7,953 and his deputy, Thomas Lee, received $10,845. Kennedy Space Center Director Richard Smith received a $3,615 bonus and Kennedy launch director Bob Sieck got $3,435.

James Kingsbury, the director of science and engineering at Marshall, received $3,525, while bonuses of $3,435 went to Kingsbury’s deputy director, George Hardy, Shuttle Projects Director Stanley Reinartz and Materials and Processes Laboratory Director Robert Schwinghamer.

The figures were first published by the Huntsville Times in Huntsville, Ala.

The newspaper said Booster Project Director Larry Mulloy and Deputy Shuttle Projects Director Judson Lovingood - both of whom testified before a presidential commission investigating the Challenger tragedy - did not receive performance awards last year.

Commission Chairman William Rogers has characterized the NASA decision- making process as ″clearly flawed.″ The shuttle’s propulsion system, which includes the suspect solid rocket boosters, was developed at Marshall.

Brown said the NASA officials who received the bonuses were members of the Senior Executive Service, which was established by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.

The rationale for the awards was to retain top managers who might otherwise be attracted to private industry by higher salaries, he said, adding: ″It’s like the practice of industry where people do get bonuses.″

Performance awards for 1986 will not be recommended until the current performance approval cycle ends March 21, Brown said.

Brown said NASA can give performance awards to up to 50 percent of its SES employees each year, not to exceed 3 percent of its total SES payroll, and awards cannot be more than 20 percent of a manager’s salary or less than 5 percent.

He said recommendations for awards are made by the executive’s superior and forwarded to center directors. Brown said that Moore makes recommendations concerning any performance awards for the center directors and that the recommendation for Moore was made by the agency’s deputy administrator.

Brown said 167 of 435 eligible NASA officials received awards last year totaling $868,364.

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