I've always gotten really good advice from the NASA legal office. We have had many difficult problems with contracts, lawsuits, workplace issues, and the like. My request to them was that I wanted to end my career without going to Leavenworth and their advice has always been good enough to keep me out of there.
As a senior government employee, the NASA legal office has given me quite a bit of legal advice and opinion about post-government employment restrictions and what the law and ethics restrict me from doing after I leave. Since I'm not trained in the law, I have a lot of questions that they have patiently answered for me and explained down to the kindergarten level of understanding that I have about legal matters. Anyway, the subject of continuing this NASA blog has come up. Yep, as my old boss once told me, don't ask the lawyers if you don't want to know the answer. But I really do want to know what is right and ethical and legal, so I did ask . . .
For the record, today - July 31 - as I write this, I am still, officially, a NASA employee. Today being a Saturday, I had to check out yesterday, turn in my badges, blackberry, and everything, but legally I am a NASA employee until midnight tonight. Just for the record.
So the answer from the legal office was that to continue this blog on the NASA web page, I would have to become a Special Government Employee (unpaid). This would cause several complications: having to get ethics training, having to continue to file personal financial disclosures, and having certain potential affects on any future employment I might choose to undertake. This is just all too complicated and too much trouble for an old retired guy to contemplate. I am really looking forward to decluttering my life.
Don't complain to the lawyers - they are doing a great job. And I really do believe that the nation's ethics laws serve us well, so I have no complaints.
So, it looks like this is my last post on the NASA web page. That is probably just as well. I have always been mindful that speaking here is in effect representing NASA. Therefore I have not addressed certain topics, nor provided opinions that are contrary to NASA policy. I would feel duty bound to continue those restrictions if I blog here.
But I am rather enjoying blogging, so I guess I'll have to find a new venue.
Its been a great conversation! And I wish the very best to those of you who are still in the trenches, fighting the good fight to explore the universe. My hat is off to you. And if I can be of any assistance in the future, please don't hesitate to contact me; I'll do whatever the law allows to help.
Wayne Hale - over and out
P. S. No comments allowed for this post - a first - because I won't be around to moderate them!