This editorial appeared in The Tri-City Herald.
Dear Secretary Chu,
We know these first days on the new job have been hectic, filled with more demands for attention than you could possibly satisfy.
We also know you have your own agenda, and we're not here to argue priorities.
But sometime soon, you'll need to tackle the Department of Energy's procurement process.
It's a mess.
The recent decision to extend Fluor Hanford's contract to provide support services at Hanford for another six months is just the latest example.
Keeping the $3 billion contract in an extended state of limbo comes on top of an alarming list of controversy over Hanford contracts.
There have also been troubles with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's operating contract, the Fast Flux Test Facility demolition contract and the river corridor cleanup contract.
As we've said before, the whole process is mired in delays, protests and controversy, resulting in higher costs, lower morale and missed deadlines.
And as we've complained before, the damage spills beyond Hanford's borders, hitting virtually every aspect of the local economy – from charitable donations to housing sales.
And that's just Hanford.
We're not sure how much trouble DOE's procurement practices have caused at other sites, but we know we're not alone.
The $3.3 billion contract for treating liquid wastes at the Savannah River site in South Carolina, for example, faces a protest from a losing bidder.
You need to get the situation under control, Mr. Secretary.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Tri-City Herald.