Differing Professional Views or Opinions: 2002 Special Review Panel Report (NUREG-1763)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: June 2002
Date Published: September 2002

Office of Human Resources
Human Resources Policy and Programs
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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On March 20, 2001, the Executive Director for Operations (EDO) of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) established a Special Review Panel (SRP or the Panel), to be chaired by James A. Fitzgerald, Deputy Director, Office of Investigations, to evaluate the effectiveness of the Differing Professional Views/Differing Professional Opinions process, as implemented by NRC Management Directive (MD) 10.159, "Differing Professional Views or Opinions." The EDO appointed four senior managers and one National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) representative to the Panel. The last SRP to review the DPV/DPO Process was convened in 1994.

The EDO directed the Panel to review the informal and formal processes for dealing with differing professional views or opinions. The EDO also directed the Panel to review all DPV/DPOs filed since the last SRP and identify employees whose DPV/DPOs made significant contributions to the agency or to the public health and safety, but may not have been adequately recognized for this contribution. Finally, the EDO asked the Panel to make recommendations on the interim policy guidance he issued in response to the Office of the Inspector General's (OIG) audit and on any other DPV/DPO process issues the Panel believes the Agency should address.

This report documents the SRP's review of the NRC's current DPV/DPO process. The Panel reviewed previous SRP reports, DPV/DPO case files for submittals received and processed since the last review in 1994, other federal agency programs for handling DPV/DPOs, and the OIG September 2000 audit report (OIG-00-A-07) on its Review of NRC's Differing Professional View/Differing Professional Opinion Program. The Panel interviewed selected NRC regional and headquarters senior managers on their views and perspectives of the DPV/DPO process, and interviewed a number of DPV/DPO filers and ad hoc panel members about their views, perspectives, and personal experiences with the process. This report gives the SRP's recommendations for improving the DPV/DPO Process.

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