May 9, 2007

Laughing and Crying at Livermore

Disney Corp awarded LLNL Contract

Monday, May 7, 2007
Shrek the Ogre, Dreamland News Correspondent

It was announced today that The Walt Disney Company has been awarded the contract for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The announcement came from Thomas DíAgostino who was accompanied by Dumbo, Tinkerbell, Grumpy, Pinocchio, Minnie, Buzz Lightyear, Goofy and Captain Jack Sparrow.

Effective immediately, LLNL will be reorganized into the following departments in order to fit with Disneyís corporate structure.


Chemistry, Materials, & Life Sciences
Laboratory Services

Energy & Environment
National Ignition Facility Programs
Physics & Advanced Technologies

Defense & Nuclear Technologies
Nonproliferation, Homeland, & International Security
Safety and Environmental Protection

Administration & Human Resources
Director's Office

Safeguards and Security Organization

Chief Financial Officer
Chief Information Officer

The Director for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, George Miller released a statement proclaiming that this was a great opportunity for Lab employees and that this would be no "Mickey Mouse" outfit.

In addition to the new organization, B111 will now be referred to as the Tower of Terror.

It was also announced that all bicycles and small vehicles would be replaced with a new Disney Monorail system.


Anonymous said...

Sounds just like L-O-S A-L-A M-O-U-S-E

Dr. Strangelove said...

Great Spoof Pinky!

Almost makes me want to work there!

When I "graduate" from LLNL-Disney I can get a job as a steward on Southwest Airlines...

- Doc

Anonymous said...

When does the exodus from Livermore start?

Anonymous said...

"When does the exodus from Livermore start?"

Can you say...

- UC Davis
- UC Berkeley
- UC Merced
- UC Davis Medical Center
- UC San Francisco
- UC San Francisco/Mission Bay
- UC Santa Cruz (my choice)

Anonymous said...

To 6:19 PM - yeah, right ... the UC system is just gonna invite Livermorons to be part of their faculty.

Brad Lee Holian said...

Doc talks about a job as a steward on Southwest with his honey-roasted peanuts, but LANL and LLNL have a program for:

* Stockpile stewards
* Stockpile stewardesses

The sign-up list is currently wide open for the first entry ...

Anonymous said...


Hello ... wake up... hello?

Yes, they have for some time now and continue to do so. Where the f*k have you been?

Anonymous said...

"When does the exodus from Livermore start?"

If you can make it to the exit do so, but in Los Alamos only a few could actually make the escape. I did and I am very happy, but only a few can or will.

Anonymous said...

To 9:48 PM... I'm on the operations side of the house at LLNL and my department has already lost staff to each of these UC sites, especially LBNL, and UC Davis.

darko said...

More power to them! I am glad to hear of the few souls who have escaped the bloody thumb of Bechtel (as Strangeo calls it).

darko said...

More power to them! I am glad to hear of the few souls who have escaped the bloody thumb of Bechtel (as Strangeo calls it).

I'm glad also to see the Livermites (and ex'es) weighing in here.

If you have your own blog, we haven't heard about it. Or was everyone so happy they don't have anything to discuss? Or so scared?


Anonymous said...

Indeed the Livermites do have their own blog:

Note that the last posting was in June 2006. I believe that they are indeed afraid to use it.

Dr. Strangelove said...

So... What's up with that? (Livermites afraid to use their own blog)...

Some might say they know what we don't... that everyone up and down the chain wants a quiet and submissive population and that uppity scientists only bring down the wrath of management and NNSA and DOE and Congress oversight committees.

Maybe if we got really, really quiet and didn't make a peep, they would like us better.


Anonymous said...

The Argus
Pension changes challenge for Lawrence Livermore Lab
Tim Hunt

FOR DECADES, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has been a unique place to work.

During the decades of the Cold War with the former Soviet Union, it offered challenging work at competitive compensation that was clearly in the national interest. During that time, work centered on nuclear weapons, a focus that still is central to the lab, but challenges and opportunities have broadened.

As the work world changed dramatically in the last 15 years, one of the labs huge competitive advantages was its amazingly rich, defined-benefit contribution system. Work there long enough, and you could retire at virtually the same pay as your final working check and receive annual cost-of-living increases, along with lifetime health care to supplement Medicare.

The golden handcuffs provided by that system allowed the lab to offer career employment, a term that is foreign to private sector companies today.

Come Oct. 1, it also will be a term that no longer will be used at the lab.

The Department of Energy announced last week the results of its competitive-bidding process for management of the lab. Management of all three Energy Department facilities formerly managed by the University of California was put out to bid after a series of security and management breaches, particularly at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, got too much for the feds to bear.

Perhaps ironically, UC retained the contract in all three instances, but has partners in the two national weapons labs.

The primary partners in the group that will run Lawrence Livermore include Bechtel National Inc., BMX Technologies Inc. and the Washington Group International Inc. Also involved are Battelle Memorial Institute, four small business subcontractors and Texas A&M University.

Only time will tell whether bringing private partners into the mix will improve laboratory performance, particularly in the security and business areas.

It will cost much more: The maximum management fee went from $7.1 million for UC in the fiscal year that ends this September to $45.5 million for the next year.

Perhaps the bigger challenge will be the work force issues. Veteran Livermore employees now must figure out what to do to retain their UC pensions even though they're grandfathered into the new system that is supposed to provide equivalent benefits.

It's the newcomers who no longer will have the golden handcuffs of defined benefits. The new plan, by Energy Department fiat, was required to be a defined-benefit plan similar to a 401(k) in the private sector. There's a world of difference.

Notably, the UC pension system has benefited from both good management of invested funds and the rising stock markets, so that neither the government nor the employees have had to contribute to the plan for more than a decade. That's a great deal compared to others with defined-benefit plans who routinely see 8 percent or more of their paycheck withheld for their pension.

Come Oct. 1, the retirement plan will stand by itself with just the single new entity from just one lab, instead of the immense UC system.

From a work force recruitment and retention standpoint, it will become much more challenging for lab managers to bring in talented people and hold them with the lure of the private sector and its stock option potential.

This is particularly likely in the hot areas of bioscience, which holds much promise, both in private companies and for government-funded labs that will need to focus on homeland security issues.

Part of the strength of the labs has been the capability to bring experienced people from varied disciplines together to work on a big issue. If the labs can no longer retain key people at the working science level, the challenge will be much greater than it already is.

Here's hoping the politically driven decision actually proves to be in the national interest. The mixture of the private sector management expertise with the science skill from the university could result in much superior results, but the jury is still out and will be for a number of years.

Tim Hunt is the former editor and associate publisher of the Tri-Valley Herald. He is the principal with Hunt Enterprises, a communications and government affairs firm.

He can be reached at

Anonymous said...

A 401(k) is a defined contribution plan, not a defined benefit plan. The UCRP Retirement Plan is a defined benefit plan.