Report on the FY 2010 operations of the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA).
Here are highlights for the past year:
- Personnel security hearings. Under DOE's personnel security program, OHA conducts administrative hearings concerning individuals' eligibility for access to classified information or special nuclear material. In FY 2010, our average time for processing a case reached a 10 year low, 25 percent below the averages of the last five and ten fiscal years. For the second year in a row, we had no cases older than 180 days in our end-of-year inventory. By the end of FY 2010, our average time for issuing a decision after the receipt of the hearing transcript stood at less than 30 days.
- Whistleblower cases. Under the DOE Contractor Employee Protection Program, OHA conducts investigations and hearings, and considers appeals concerning whistleblower claims filed by DOE contractor employees. In FY 2010, though we received significantly more whistleblower cases than in FY 2009, we remained committed to thier timely processing. We again ended the fiscal year with no cases older than 180 days in our inventory, and reduced our average case proceesing time by six percent over FY 2009.
- Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act Appeals. OHA considers appeals of agency denials of requests for information. In FY 2010, though receiving nearly twice as many appeals than we did in FY 2009, we maintained our average case processing time of 21 days, over 50 percent below our average of the last five fiscal years.
- Exceptions and Special Redress. OHA considers petitions for special redress, as well as requests for relief from certain regulatory requirements. In FY 2010, we issued a decision on a Petition for Special Redress seeking review of a Final Notice of Violation of DOE’s Worker Safety and Health Regulations, a relatively new area of jurisdiction granted to OHA in FY 2006. In the exceptions area, we again significantly improved our average case processing time.
- Alternative Fuel Transportation Program Appeals. In FY 2010, OHA issued decisions on two Appeals filed under this program, which mandates the acquisition of alternative fuel vehicles by State governments and certain alternative fuel providers.