December 15, 2014
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Battelle again earns top grades from Department of Energy

Battelle, which operates the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, earned high grades from the Department of Energy for its advanced science operations in Richland.

This marks the seventh straight year that PNNL’s performance was the highest, or tied for the highest, amongst the Department of Energy’s nine national laboratories.

Battelle earned all As in Science and Technology, with an A- in the category of mission accomplishment. PNNL also far surpassed its targets for transferring technology into the marketplace, including number of inventions, patents granted and revenue for intellectual property.

Battelle’s Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory received particular attention. The scientists, facilities and instruments at this DOE “user facility” are available to researchers around the world. The EMSL achieved more than 100 percent of its expected operating hours and its supercomputing capabilities also surpassed goals.

PNNL’s work to modernize the nation’s electrical grid received an A+ from the Office of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability.

The grades mean Battelle received 94 percent of the maximum $11.9 million in award pay available for the year. Battelle, a nonprofit, will use most of the money for upkeep of buildings, purchase of equipment, charitable giving and non-government reimbursed expenses.

The Tri-City Herald has the story.

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Budget 101: State employee pay raises 'financially feasible'?

By Rob McKenna, Smarter Government Washington

Under state law, any collectively bargained pay raises and benefit increases for state employees must be declared "financially feasible for the state" by the Office of Financial Management (OFM). While this review sounds like a good idea, it isn't useful if OFM chooses to willfully ignore reality so that it can give its stamp of approval.

That's the situation the state currently finds itself in. The Governor's Office negotiated pay and benefit hikes with state employee unions, and OFM has declared the new costs to be financially feasible "considering the state's combination with the current and forecasted economic and revenue conditions for Washington.

Apparently OFM considers the McCleary education funding case to be mere detail...

READ MORE: Click here for the full commentary at Smarter Government Washington

State can move forward on transportation -- by looking back

By Sen. Curtis King

Amid all the finger-pointing and half-truths regarding the Legislature's alleged failure to pass and fund a transportation plan, a glance back at the 2003 "nickel package" provides the best tutorial on how to successfully get a transportation-revenue package through the Legislature and to the governor's desk. The themes from over a decade ago run startlingly parallel to today.

READ MORE: Click here for the full commentary in Crosscut
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