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Fundraising Quotas for Bureau of Reclamation Scientists Doesn't Pass PEER Review
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), an environmental watchdog organization composed of federal, state and local government officials, released documents demonstrating that "Federal scientists working for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation have been ordered to raise funds to support their research projects or face unfavorable performance evaluations..."

Although fundraising was not part of the federal scientists job description, it was a critical part of their overall performance appraisal. Specifically, Productivity is listed a "Critical Element" of their job performance standards. PEER explained that "As a result, each Bureau scientist at the GS-11 level or higher, for example, has to solicit between $712 and $848 per day to meet acceptable standards."

The performance appraisal standards stated that Unsatisfactory productivity performance "is less than 50 percent of potential billable hours for the year, which is not adequate for the position. This equates to less than $110,240 at Skill Level 3." A PEER official noted that "Prowess in fund raising is how politicians, not scientists, are supposed to be judged."

Two days after PEER issued their press release, they issued a new press release stating that the "U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced today that it was ending a system that based performance evaluations for its scientists in part on how much money the scientists raise to support their research projects." PEER stated that "This fee-for-science scheme obviously could not withstand the slightest bit of public scrutiny."

The Bureau withdrawal of their fundraising quotas is the second major victory for PEER this year following their successful appeal of a Data Quality petition seeking correction of information disseminated by the Fish and Wildlife Service.

A PEER official, expressing concern over potential conflict of interest issues raised by the Bureau of Reclamation's fundraising criteria, concluded that "Interior and NIH are both federal agencies operating under what are supposed to be the same set of rules but at NIH, scientists are confined to a financial nunnery while at Interior, the scientists are being turned into streetwalkers."

  • Click for PEER April 20 Press Release.
  • Click for PEER April 22 Press Release.

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