One of Hanford’s two top local Department of Energy leaders is expected to leave to take a job at DOE headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Stacy Charboneau, manager of the Richland Operations Office since the end of 2014, would be replaced at Hanford by Doug Shoop, currently deputy manager of the office.
The move depends on a proposed reorganization of the DOE Office of Environmental Management, which oversees work at Hanford and DOE’s other environmental cleanup work across the nation. Charboneau would serve in a proposed new position, overseeing field operations as an associate principal deputy assistant secretary.
No date for the change in leadership at the local Hanford office has been set, with the headquarters’ reorganization pending.
The reorganization would not affect the leadership of Hanford’s other DOE office, the Office of River Protection, led by Kevin Smith.
Shoop served as acting manager of the Richland Operations Office for about six months in 2014 until Charboneau was named as manager. He has been deputy manager of the office since 2008.
Before that he was assistant manager for safety and engineering for the Richland Operations Office.
You are going to be in a position to make a difference.
Pam Larsen, Hanford Advisory Board
In his 30 years of management and technical experience, he also has worked for Fluor Hanford, Westinghouse Hanford Co. and the Idaho National Environmental Engineering Laboratory. He previously worked in academia, conducting clinical research. His master’s degree is in industrial hygiene/environmental engineering.
Charboneau announced her proposed new position at the Hanford Advisory Board meeting in Richland on Wednesday, joking about how widespread the rumor was already that she was leaving and would be replaced by Shoop.
“You are going to be in a position to make a difference,” said board member Pam Larsen.
Having environmental cleanup experience in the field will be a plus, said board member Susan Leckband.
Charboneau has experience at both the Hanford Richland Operations Office and the Office of River Protection, which have cleanup projects that touch most aspects of work at the DOE sites under the new Headquarters’ field office, she said. The field office will have responsibility for about a dozen DOE sites, including both Hanford offices, and field work at sites in Savannah River, S.C.; Idaho; Oak Ridge, Tenn.; and Los Alamos and Carlsbad, N.M.
The proposed reorganization chart shows three associate principal deputy assistant secretary positions under the Office of Environmental Management’s top leadership, the assistant secretary and principal deputy assistant secretary.
The three positions would have Frank Marcinowski leading regulatory and policy affairs and Candice Trummell leading corporate services, as well as Charboneau leading field operations. Charboneau would be the third highest-ranking person in the Office of Environmental Management.
Marcinowski now holds his new proposed position in an acting capacity, and Trummell is the deputy chief of staff for the deputy secretary of energy.
The proposed reorganization of the DOE Office of Environmental Management is based on employee feedback plus recommendations from agencies such as the Government Accountability Office. It is planned to strengthen support to field sites, such as Hanford.
Charboneau has worked at Hanford for about 22 years, with leadership positions at both the Office of River Protection and the Richland Operations Office.
The Office of River Protection is responsible for underground tanks holding radioactive waste from the past production of nuclear weapons and the vitrification plant being built to treat the waste for disposal.
The Richland Operations Office is responsible for all other Hanford cleanup, including demolishing contaminated buildings, digging up waste burial grounds and cleaning up groundwater, and for overall management of the site.
Charboneau’s work at the Office of River Protection included serving as deputy manager and chief operating officer of the Office of River Protection. Among the many Hanford projects she has worked on at a management or director level are the tank farms, the Plutonium Finishing Plant and the K Basins.
The Office of Environmental Management reorganization is partly in response to a report by the office’s Accident Investigation Board, which called for strengthened oversight after a radiological release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico in February 2014 that contaminated workers.
The latest list of high-risk projects from the Governmental Accountability Office called for resources to be committed to project management problems.
Charboneau said the reorganization also was based on feedback from DOE environmental management employees, and recognizes that the field is where the actual work is done.
The proposed change is planned to increase coordination and interaction between cleanup sites and headquarters and to strengthen support to the sites where cleanup work is planned and performed, according to a May 26 presentation by Monica Regalbuto, the cleanup assistant secretary, and Mark Whitney, her principal deputy assistant secretary.
Advisory board member Jerry Peltier said the promotion for Charboneau is well deserved, but questioned the timing of the proposed reorganization, with just five months left before a new administration takes office and appoints new DOE officials.
The DOE Office of Environmental Management was without an assistant secretary for four years until Regalbuto was confirmed for the position in August, Charboneau said. It took so long to get to the point that the office could be reorganized that Regalbuto and Whitney did not want to miss the opportunity to act, she said.
Charboneau’s husband, Briant Charboneau, director of the One-System Division at the Hanford DOE Office of River Protection, also has been offered a job at DOE headquarters and will be leaving Hanford.