Nuclear agency chief pledges freedom to disagree

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 6, 2014 at 7:15 pm •  Published: June 6, 2014
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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The chief of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission pledged Friday to set a tone where staffers can disagree with their bosses without fear of retaliation.

Responding to an in-house survey that reflected concern about freedom to dissent, Allison Macfarlane said it's important to encourage debate in an agency dealing constantly with highly technical issues.

"I maintain an open-door policy myself," Macfarlane said in an interview with The Associated Press after visiting two nuclear power plants in Michigan. "Any employee is welcome to make an appointment and talk to me. We encourage an open, collaborative work environment. We encourage all managers and supervisors to have similar policies."

Sen. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, made public the NRC survey results this week during a hearing before the Environment and Public Works Committee.

Conducted in April 2013, the survey found that 75 percent of employees who had submitted official objections to agency decisions believed they had been given poorer performance evaluations as a result.

Additionally, 63 percent reported being excluded from work activities and 25 percent said they had been "passed over for career development," the survey report said.