***Click on picture above to view a Reactor Trip and subsequence secondary steam release***
As you can see from the previous page I took great pride in my job at Dominions Surry Nuclear Power Plant in Surry Virginia. I attained the position of "Nuclear" Instrumentation Technician, which was tough. It consisted of a four and a half-year training program which I completed in 1992. I had safely worked at Surry since March of 1987, a total of sixteen years. I often lent my experience and know how in the development and training of inexperienced trainee's. Teaching them the fundamentals of pneumatics and valve positioners. And also providing the trainee's with on the job training for the analog electronics of the Westinghouse's 7100 process control racks.
But on April 30, 2003 I was terminated after serving over 16 years, and the REASON ??? Making a statement that was intended as innuendo on an Internet bulletin board from my own home, on my time. It had absolutely nothing to do with my work or Dominion in any way. The following is an explanation of the cruel course that was taken against me and my family by Dominion Power's access control department in Richmond Virginia. ***WARNING*** if you looking for a happy story, don't read any more...
William F. Renz, protection services, and Glen Wilson, access programs head the access control department. These two men made the decision to remove my access authorization to the power plant. Basically, denying me the ability to enter the plant to perform my job duties, an action that ultimately results in termination of employment.
I need to mention I have never met, or even so much as talked on the phone to either of these two men. They took their actions behind faceless anonymity of closed doors and certified mail. To me this is the ultimate of cowardly acts. To make a decision which could financially and emotionally devastate a family without even talking to them, what cowards there are at the top of this organization.
They based their decision on a negative report, with blaring incorrect information written by Vic Slade, staff investigator, and Dr. Leigh Hagan. *** More on these two men and the report they wrote later in this article - web blog. ***
These men have made the lives of my family, myself, my wife, and my seven year old son, a living hell. My wife lost her job, (with health care benefits), in October from Hampton University, so needless to say this time has been both financially and emotionally devastating for us. This is our story. As you can see from the actual Daily Press article below, the company, (Dominion), has treated many other employees, and there families, equally as bad.
DOMINION is NOT a family friendly company.
FBI probe at Dominion nuke plants criticized, 3 fired, 2 suspended for misdemeanors
by Chris Flores of the Daily Press September 13, 2003
The federal government's first attempt to ferret out potential terrorists at companies with nuclear sites netted at least 20 Virginia employees with misdemeanors-and an angry union.
Five employees who work in Dominions Virginia Power's nuclear division, including three at Surry Power Station, were fired or suspended after the Federal Bureau of Investigation found misdemeanors in there backgrounds. A sixth staffer resigned.
Dominion is the first company since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to undergo thorough FBI background checks of all nuclear workers on its payroll. The FBI does background checks on all nuclear workers when they're hired, but fears that terrorists could target nuclear plants spurred the FBI to see what crimes every nuclear-utility worker nationwide might have committed since being hired.
Among the misdemeanors that caused FBI agents to question Dominion employees and the utility to discipline them: a reckless-driving charge from the early 1980s, domestic-dispute charges and public-drunkenness citations that were all dropped.
"These guys are far, far, far from terrorists," International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 50 representative John Hessler said. "That's what really angers me. These guys are just average Joes."
The FBI investigation involved all 1,240 employees at Dominion's Virginia nuclear operations, including the Surry and North Anna plants. It didn't include staffers at the Millstone nuclear plant that Dominion operates in Connecticut.
IBEW members work at about 90 percent of the 103 other nuclear plants nationwide, Hessler said. The unions national headquarters is watching closely to see wheather the actions taken by federal officials and utility executives occur elsewhere.
"They're fully expecting that at the other nuclear plants across the country, it's going to happen again," Hessler said of the IBEW's international officials.
At Surry, one salaried employee was fired, one union member was fired and another was suspended and then reinstated. At Dominion's nuclear-division headquarters in Henrico County, one salaried worker was fired and one resigned. A union employee at the North Anna nuclear plant was suspended and reinstated.
Dominion said it had clear-cut rules for what misdemeanors would get someone fired but would not describe those policies. For more than 20 years, Dominion employees with badges that give them access to nuclear sites were supposed to inform there supervisors if they were arrested, Dominion spokesman Rick Zuercher said.
The misdemeanors found by the FBI resulted in about 15 Dominion hourly union employees at the Surry and North Anna plants getting called in for random drug tests July 2. Hessler said the employees were shocked when FBI agents asked them a barrage of questions about the misdemeanors.
"It was not a nice atmosphere to be around, I can tell you that," Hessler said. "It totally caught them off guard."
Dominion wouldn't say how many salaried employees were questioned. After the interviewees, three hourly employees -- including two from Surry -- were suspended, stripped of there security badges and escorted from the sites by Dominion security. The company didn't communicate with those employees for five weeks.
The union filed grievances on behalf of two hourly workers from the Surry plant and one from North Anna. Two of those workers returned to there jobs last month with back pay and lost overtime.
In August, Dominion fired a third employee -- who worked at the Surry plant -- because it found that he had three misdemeanors on his record. The IBEW is trying to help him get his job back.
Both of the workers who were suspended had told there supervisors about the misdemeanors at the time they occurred, Hessler said.
At least some, if not all, of the 13 others questioned by the FBI also had told there supervisors -- decades ago, in some cases -- he said.
Dominion officials said that they didn't consider any of the employees who were fired or suspended to be terrorism threats and that the people didn't lose there jobs because of poor performance.
"This was a trustworthiness issue, not a terrorism issue," Zuercher said.
He acknowledged that the search for terrorists was what sparked the investigations into the employee's backgrounds.
Neither the FBI office in Richmond nor the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia would comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Chris Flores can be reached at 247-4738 or by email at email@example.com
From: Tim & Barbara [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, September 14, 2003 3:23 PM
To: Flores, Chris [CFlores@dailypress.com]
Subject: FBI probe at Dominion Surry Nuclear plant.
Dear Mr. Flores,
My name is Tim and I just finished reading your article in the Daily Press about the FBI probe at Dominion's nuclear plants. I'm one of the salary employees that was fired at Surry. In my case there wasn't even a misdemeanor involved. It's a very long story, but the bottom line is I was terminated because of a internet bulletin board post I made from my own home on 1/1/03.
A FBI agent brought it to Dominions attention. The FBI agent was Denis Green with the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Norfolk. His phone number is 757-455-**** Cell is 757-435-**** Please feel free to contact him to corroborate my story. Mr. Green contacted Dominion attempting to get in contact with me. The company would not give him my work telephone number and got involved by setting up a meeting at Surry on April 10th, 2003 between me, the FBI agent, (Mr. Green), and the company's corporate security investigator, Vic Slade 804-273-4251. I had no prior knowledge of this meeting taking place and was caught off guard; it was a surprise attack coming straight at me. I received a call late in the day in the instrumentation shop where I work and was asked to come out front to the Administration building. They wouldn't tell me what it was about, just to come out front. I was blind-sided as to what was about to happen and the accusations that were to be leveled against me.
They pulled out a doctored version of a bulletin board post I had made from home on 1/1/03. You see, someone from California, Mike Brandvolds manager of KISSonline, had made a complaint about what I had written on my Asylum of the Few bulletin board, and all the FBI agent wanted to do was get clarification on what I meant by what was typed in the post. I stated to both of them that the statement in question was intended as an offhand joke and nothing more. I also told them that I could prove this with an original copy of the post, not the doctored version they were showing me.
I TimTech I
(1/1/03 7.23.37 pm)
Reply | Edit | Del
BTW TANP, I need Mike Brandvolds snail mail address. I know you had it on Spirit's board somewhere but I can't find it now. Can you send it to me? I need to send Mikey a care package....what's that ticking sound????"
The original post had a :) Icon on the end of the post, denoting my intention that it was meant as a joke, innuendo. The version they were showing me did not have this (smile) icon and looked like it could have been interpreted in a threatening manner.
In the statement in question, I needed Mike Brandvolds address to send him a letter, and nothing more. This simple fact of wanting the address to send Mike correspondence was stated many times and in other sections and posts of my bulletin board. Numerous post on my bulletin borad delt with how Mike Brandvold had made false and misleading statements which had resulted in a financial loss of over $1400 dollars to me in the summer of 2002. I needed Mike's address in preparation for legal action against him. The statement, "I need to send Mikey a care package....what's that ticking sound??" was ment as innuendo in alluding to that fact !
The "care package" statement was meant to imply indirectly to the legal documents and oversized envelope they would be sent in. The "what's that ticking sound???" statement was an insinuation that the documents would be sent shortly.
As GOD is my witness, this is exactly what I intended through innuendo by the statement. In fact, I did send Mike the envelope and have proof he received it. The following is an email I received from the General Counsel of Signatures Network, the company that Mike works for.
From: Myles Silton MSilton@signaturesnet.com
Date: Monday, January 13, 2003 2:58 PM
To: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
CC: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
I am the General Counsel of Signatures Network and am in possession of your
correspondence to our employee, Michael Brandvold. I have contacted the
Bar of the Commonwealth of Virginia -- the state indicated on you letter to
Michael Brandvold --- FYI, the sections that you forwarded to Mr. Brandvold do not
apply to and are completely irrelevant to both Mr. Brandvold and this
Company; they simply do not apply to us.
Myles B. Silton, Esq.
Myles B. Silton
General Counsel & Vice President of Business Affairs
Signatures Network, Inc.
So, as you can see, Mike had the "care package", (correspondence). And the date he received it Monday, January 13, 2003, was shortly after I had made the original post in question on 1/1/03 asking for his address and sending him the envelope of legal papers.
The following is the original post as it appears on my bulletin board. Along with a post that preceded it and the post which immediately followed it. Note the (smile) icon :) at the end of the post.
Original undoctored post
(12/31/02 6.11 pm)
Reply | Edit | Del
Re: Vote here to let DaveAce in...
8 no's and 1 yes... and you're letting him in?!?!?!? Why bother to vote??? It's not like it was even close to being 50/50... and now there seems to be a mole issue here... hmmm, coincidence??? ...BTW, I voted no.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I TimTech I
(1/1/03 7:23 pm)
Reply | Edit | Del
Re: Vote here to let DaveAce in...
No ThatAintNoPistol , I only gave him access to the Let's put the X in Sex forum so he could post something in the Keys to hell thread. which BTW he hasen't posted anything ever on this board, much less the Keys to hell thread.
I never gave him access to the KOL-hell forum. I did give a Queen Teea access because she posted about Starchilds in the Keys to hell thread. I thought she was cool and gave her access to the KOL-hell forum. Then stuff started leaking ......FG clued me to axe her, and so far all is well......
BTW TANP, I need Mike Brandvolds snail mail address. I know you had it on Spirit's board somewhere but I can't find it now. Can you send it to me? I need to send Mikey a care package....what's that ticking sound????"---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(1/2/03 3.17 pm)
Reply | Edit | Del
Re: Vote here to let DaveAce in...
I found it on yahoo white pages/people search... he's the only Brandvold in San Francisco... I think the original post is still on spirit's board, i never deleted it. Glad the mole thing has been straightened out.
Michael S Brandvold
265 N Point St
San Francisco, CA 94133
Well after playing good cop, bad cop with me for 2 hours the FBI agent said he didn't view this statement as a real threat. BUT the companies security investigator, Vic Slade, said there was now a "TRUSTWORTHINESS" issue, and took away my security access barring me from entering the plant until they could set up a meeting with the company's psychologist. It was like Vic was ignoring the opinion of the FBI agent and Hell bent on making more out of this situation than necessary. Making a mountain out of a molehill....I remember Vic saying, "Image is everything", and your making us, (the company), look bad. He continued to SHOUT at me while pounding his fists on the desk saying,"If I tell you this desk is blue, then it's blue. I don't care if you see it as brown, it's blue, got it?"
The company then made me go to Insbrook in Richmond and take a barrage of tests and talk to a "company paid" Psychologist, Dr. Hagan 804-748-8480. I was forced to sign a waiver form with the psychologist stating that I would not hold him personally responsible if I were to loose my job because of his opinion of me. Dr. Hagan ask several questions that, in retrospect, had nothing to do with the bulletin board post at all. For example, "Does your wife have a job?, Does she qualify for health care coverage?, Do you have any speeding tickets?" At the time I couldn't see what bearing these questions had to do with the bulletin board post. But now I'm sure the questions were designed to find out if my family could still get health care coverage if the company were to FIRE me. And as far as my driving record, I had a couple of tickets that I told the Dr. about right up front. It turned out he already knew about them even before he asked the question because he had a copy of my driving record in front of him. In his own words, "I was trying to see if you were being TRUTHFUL with us." It's just amazing to me that companies are allowed all this access to your personal information in the first place. Credit history, DMV record, medical records. In fact, I heard of a company in Michigan that fired a bunch of employees because they had once been smokers. The company fired them because they said that down the road the employees would be medical liabilities.
Dr. Hagan then supplied the company with a written report on me, riddled with technical errors, and deliberate misinformation. *** I have to mention here that the day before I was scheduled to see the company psychologist I received news that my grandfather had died. *** I was very close to my grandfather and very emotional about his passing. I mentioned this to the psychologist and his response was, "well you have quite a bit on your plate, don't you?" What kind of statement is that coming from a professional psychologist who is suppose to be concerned about how people are feeling? I'm sure he was "hired" to do a job, and the job was to get a report and information to support the company's desire to terminate me.
This Insbrook meeting took place April 16th, 2003. Fourteen days later on the last day of the month the superintendent of maintenance at Surry, Soney Stanley called and had me come over to Surry for a meeting. He presented me with a paper from corporate security that said they were revoking my unescorted access, in other words permanently denying me access to the plant. Since I no longer had my plant access Mr. Stanley terminated me. All this happened even though the FBI agent told them he was "dropping" the bulletin board issue. I had committed no crime, there was no misconduct at work, yet my unescorted access has been revoked and I have been terminated due to a statement that was taken out of context.
I personally know about some of the other cases at Surry involving the hourly IBEW covered workers. One hourly worker had beaten his wife into a coma and was on work release, but because the union protected him was not fired. I worked in the Instrument shop and was a salary employee without the benefit of a union for protection. Also there was s Shift Supervisor, Steve Wrightman, who was basically caught for poaching. Imagine that, a man who has the responsibility of running a Nuclear Reactor at Surry with his name in the paper for poaching. Is that TRUSTWORTHY ?, sounds more like a crime to me.... Steve still works at Surry, as a Shift Supervisor, responsible for running one of the Nuclear reactors there....
Like the DAILY PRESS's FBI PROBE AT DOMINION NUKE PLANTS article said, some were suspended for nothing more than misdemeanor traffic violations. There was a form that all salaried employees were required to sign stating that the company was going to do background checks on everyone on a 5 year basis, and they would be looking at things like credit history, driving records and domestic situations. To me this has nothing to do with making the nuclear site safer, but is an open door for the company to go on a campaign to get rid of employees for the most trivial of reasons.
People have ask me, "So why do you think the company Fired you like they did?" I worked in the Instrument shop at a nuclear power plant and there was always allot of stress. There were over 40 technicians in that shop and almost no one was happy about how management was addressing issues and problems. There was a lot of complaining and malice going on between supervisors and the technicians. And yes, I did my share of complaining. In my opinion the company grew tired if it and decided to use the old GET TOUGH policy. It's easier to 'rule by fear' than to work out very difficult issues. In fact there was a saying at Surry, "motivation through intimidation, that's the Dominion way". I think by FIRING me it was an easy way to keep the other 40 technicians in line and docile. Also, it might have partly been about saving money. Stepped out technicians, like myself, make almost three times as much as a new trainee. Think about it, the company could get three people for the price of one. Three "untrained", inexperienced trainee's with new fresh attitudes, willing to put up with almost anything. That's like a breath of fresh air to a manager. But it's not the safest thing to do at a Nuclear Power Plant...for sure !
I am an honest person who has never harmed anyone. My background and record prove this. I had worked for the company at Surry for the last 16 years and was a reliable, hard working employee as stated on my yearly performance reviews. I have been without that job at Surry for almost two years now with a family to support. I have a son who is just about to turn seven. Even though I was terminated by Dominion I qualified for unemployment. I told the VEC about the circumstances surrounding my termination and the deputy at the unemployment commission ruled that there was no misconduct at work and granted me unemployment compensation. The deputy could not get anyone from Dominion to return his calls about the situation. In all these cases the company is not talking to anyone.
In fact the very next job I got, six months after being fired from Surry, was at the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station. Yes, where the Navy keeps there ..."special weapons"... I got a job with a contractor there as a Radiac Engineering Technician and performed portable radiation instrumentation calibrations. The thing is though, it required I have a security clearance at the "secret" level due to the access of classified information. Well I knew Dominion had denied reinstating my unescorted access. But Dominion fell under the DOE, (department of energy), and had it's own company brand of protection and access services programs. (Basically having freedom to set up and make some of there own rules, i.e. dubbing someone as untrustworthy for getting a speeding ticker etc...) The security clearance I applied for at Yorktown was with the DOD, (department of defense), and was at the FEDERAL level.
Well guess what? That's right, I was issued a Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement, the SF 312 and I signed it, the signature was witnessed by Patricia Childers, Atlantic Ordnance Command and accepted on behalf of the United States Government by David Biggers. The supporting documentation, which came with the SF 312, states the following........
"As an employee of the Federal Government or one of its contractors, licensees, or grantees who occupies a position which requires access to classified information, you have been the subject of a personal security investigation. The purpose of this investigation was to determine your TRUSTWORTHINESS for access to classified information. When the investigation was completed, your employing or sponsoring department or agency granted you a security clearance based upon a favorable determination of the investigation results. By being granted a security clearance, you have met the first of three requirements necessary to have access to classified information."
"The second requirement that you must fulfill is to sign a Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement, which is now the SF 312. The President established this requirement in a directive that states, All persons with authorized access to classified information shall be required to sign a nondisclosure agreement as a condition of access. The SF 312 is a contractual agreement between the U.S Government and you, a cleared employee........etc...etc....
"The third and final requirement for access to classified information is the need-to-know, that is, you must have a need to know the information in order to perform your official duties. ...etc...
This is proof positive that Dominion is making up its own rules as far as access goes. Let's see, a guy caught for poaching is trustworthy where as a guy who posts a joke on a Internet bulletin board,..from his own home, on his own time is NOT trustworthy? What gives??? Like I stated above the company used me as a sacrificial pinata to keep the 40 other technicians in the shop fearing for their jobs...
As for the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station job, it was a contractor position and as soon as the workload diminished, six months after getting the job there, I was let go. Unemployed again but this time the wife was without a job too. So there were no health care benefits. When it rains, it pours....
Dominions Richmond management aside, I enjoyed my job at Surry and miss having it, in fact the reason I chose this field was because of my late grandfather. He was an electrical supervisor at a power plant, American Electric Power, a utility back in WV. I have an Associate of Applied Science in electronics and felt a great deal of pride knowing I was following in my grandfathers footsteps. My hope is to be reinstated and allowed to return like some of the others in the Daily Press article have.
So, what do I hope to accomplish with this web page? My hope is that when de-regulation finally comes to the state of Virginia, (around 2007 I think), people will be able to pick who they want to buy there electricity from. I hope this web page and the information I have provided will help people, "customers" make an informed decision who to buy from. As for me, I'll be going with anyone but DOMINION. They've already taken enough from me and my family.........
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