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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Feds Hand Hiring Authority Back To BPA


The U.S. Department of Energy says the Bonneville Power Administration can be in charge of hiring new employees again.

Last year the BPA got in trouble with the feds over hiring practices and retaliation against whistleblowers. The Energy Department found the BPA had not given preference that veterans were entitled to during hiring.

The government effectively took over the BPA's human resources department for about a year.

And of course that meant a lot of control was out of the hands of the BPA. The Department of Energy is the agency that oversees the BPA, but normally those types of hiring and firing decisions would be made at a local level.

The Department of Energy is now saying the BPA has corrected course and can now do those functions on its own again, but will continue to scrutinize the BPA's hiring practices.

The BPA also faces lawsuits from applicants who feel they were unfairly turned down for a job.

The Portland-based agency is the largest wholesaler of hydroelectric power in the Northwest.