General Counsel Mission Statements
The NNSA Office of the General Counsel is responsible for the provision of legal services, counsel and support to the NNSA Administrator and all NNSA elements worldwide. In addition to a team of attorneys at Headquarters in Washington, D.C., the NNSA Office of the General Counsel has one or more attorneys at each NNSA site office across the country, with an especially large number of those working from the NNSA Service Center in Albuquerque, N.M.
NNSA General Counsel attorneys are responsible for providing legal advice on a wide variety of complex issues to facilitate achievement of the NNSA's national security mission, in compliance with all pertinent laws and regulations.
The NNSA/GC Site Counsel is principal legal advisor to the Site Office Manager (SOM) and a key member of the senior management team. Site Counsel assists management in meeting mission requirements by identifying and analyzing the legal risks associated with site operations then developing and recommending legal risk mitigation strategies that appropriately balance business/programmatic/operational needs with those legal risks. Site Counsel works closely with management to assure that decision making is fully informed of legal risks and potential consequences.
Site Counsel provides legal advice and counsel to assure federal and contractor operations at the site comply with applicable law and legal policy as established by the NNSA General Counsel. Site Counsel supports the SOM's management priorities and site-specific interests within the bounds of applicable law and DOE/NNSA legal policy.
The Site Counsel is responsible for providing the full range of legal services to Site Office management in all areas of the law applicable to site operations, including, but not limited to, the following functions, responsibilities and authorities:
1. Coordinates, as appropriate, with NNSA/GC on NNSA legal policy, site issues of legal significance and legal issues with potential ramifications across the NNSA complex. Provides legal services and assistance to NNSA/GC and other Site Counsel as requested. Actively contributes to the resolution of legal issues of mutual concern to the DOE/NNSA and contractor legal community via a variety of means, including participation in DOE and NNSA counsel conference calls, annual meetings, and meetings of the DOE Contractor Attorneys Association.
2. Provides legal advice and counsel to the SOM and Contracting Officers on contract administration issues, e.g., cost allowability, organizational conflicts of interest, assessment of contractor performance, Work-for-Others, contract modifications, fee and scope issues and extend/compete analyses. Participates in the development of Performance Evaluation Plans (PEP) and in evaluating the contractor's performance against the PEP. Provides contract oversight of the M&O Contractor's litigation management and serves as the Contracting Officer's Representative for litigation management. Monitors contractor litigation costs using the DOE GC Legal Management Tracking System.
3. Represents the United States' interests at the Site Office in administrative, regulatory and judicial proceedings; mediation and other ADR proceedings; and litigation, including claims, protests, and state or federal court litigation, involving or affecting the Site Office, the M&O Contractor or other Prime Contractors. Participates in negotiations with regulatory agencies leading to the issuance of permits, consent orders, and compliance agreements. Works with contractor in-house and outside counsel, counsel for other federal, state and local agencies and the U.S. Department of Justice/U.S. Attorney's Offices.
4. Provides legal advice and counsel in the area of environmental law including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Endangered Species Act and other environmental statutes. Provides legal advice to the SOM and employees on National Environmental Policy Act compliance issues; reviews and comments on Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements.
5. Provides legal advice and counsel in the area of contractor human resources, labor relations, employment law, pension and benefits issues and employee concerns. Assists the Service Center in providing legal advice and counsel in the area of employment law pertaining to federal employees, including adverse personnel actions, grievances, EEO complaints, and employee concerns.
6. Provides legal advice and counsel on real estate matters, such as drafting and review of easements, licenses, land-use permits, rights-of-way, and leases and third party financing issues.
7. As Ethics Counselor for the Site Office, provides legal advice and counsel to Site Office employees on a wide range of federal ethics issues including standards of conduct, acceptance of gifts, conflicts of interest, seeking employment and post-employment restrictions. Reviews employees' Confidential Financial Disclosure Reports on an annual basis and monitors employees' annual ethics training. Reviews proposed CO and COR appointments for potential conflicts of interest.
8. Performs legal review of responsive documents and provides the Site Office's recommendation to the NNSA Service Center concerning the agency's response to Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act requests, including use of any proposed exemptions.
9. Provides legal advice and counsel in the area of safeguards and security, including, physical security, cyber security, personnel security and Human Reliability Program issues.
10. Provides legal advice and counsel on fiscal law and federal appropriations.
11. Provides legal advice and counsel on safety and health, including the DOE nuclear safety rules, Price-Anderson Amendments Act, emergency response and mutual aid to other federal, state, and local agencies.
12. Provides legal advice and counsel in connection with IG and GAO audits, inspections and investigations and Congressional Inquiries, involving site operations.
13. Provides legal advice and counsel to ensure site operations are conducted in compliance with provisions of the NNSA Act.
14. Coordinates the resolution of intellectual property and technology transfer issues with the NNSA Patent Counsel and Site Office Contracting Officers.
15. Develops legal procedures for Site Office business management systems.
The NNSA Procurement Legal Team (PLT) ensures a single legal voice for NNSA on procurement legal matters and provides single points of contact for procurement legal issues to our NNSA clients. There are six members of the PLT: Matt Butsick, Mike Ling, JiSan Lopez, Lisa Mangi, Bill Mayers and Tim Fischer. The PLT provides legal advice and counsel to the NNSA procurement community and senior leadership regarding contracts, financial assistance agreements, interagency agreements and other business transactions. The PLT also provides assistance to other NNSA attorneys and Field Counsel to ensure consistent application of the procurement rules, regulations and policies. Some specific functions include:
A. Support to the Office of Acquisition and Project Management:
B. Support to Field Offices:
C. Headquarters issues come directly to Tim Fischer.
5. Overlapping issues: If the issue overlaps with a Field Office and/or other APM divisions, legal advice will be coordinated with the appropriate PLT member(s) and Field Counsel.