Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko deflected criticism that he has verbally abused senior-level female employees at his agency. Jaczko was asked to respond to allegations leveled earlier at a congressional hearing on Wednesday by NRC Commissioner William Magwood.
“I am very passionate about safety,” Jaczko replied to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings, R-Md., in response to a question about prepared testimony in which Magwood said Jaczko verbally abused several senior-level female employees.
“This is the first time I have heard many of these accusations,” Jaczko said. “If there has ever been a time I made some female employee uncomfortable, I would like to know so I can take any action necessary to fix that.”
Jaczko’s comments came during a hearing on grievances the NRC's other four commissioners have aired about Jaczko, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. The NRC is tasked with ensuring safety at the nation’s 104 nuclear reactors.
Magwood had addressed concerns about Jaczko’s behavior toward his female employees at the end of his lengthy testimony.
“The final major concern I raise pertains to the Chairman’s abusive behavior toward the staff,” Magwood said. “I think of all the issues of leadership before us, I have found this the most troubling. To understand this matter, I have spoke with three of the women who have had personal experience with the Chairman’s extreme behavior. In each, the women involved indicated that she had done nothing wrong or inappropriate, but something set the Chairman off and he launched into a raging verbal assault.”
Magwood continued: “Enduring this type of abuse and being reduced to tears in front of colleagues and subordinates is a profoundly painful experience for them.”