Jun 13, 2007

Director talks to county council

KATY KORKOS Monitor Reporter

"Anniversaries are a time for reflection, a chance to get a broader perspective," laboratory director Michael Anastasio said in his briefing to the county council at Tuesday evening's meeting in White Rock Town Hall.

Los Alamos National Security, LLC is the privately held company that has operated the laboratory since June 2006. The lab has faced serious financial problems, security breaches and environmental challenges in the one-year tenure of LANS.

"It's too early to panic," Anastasio said, referring to recent action in Congress to slash more than $500 million from the LANL budget. "There's always concern about what next year's budget will be. The one passed by the House of Representatives was not the one we were looking for."

The laboratory has been reducing risk in the security sector "by consolidating (sensitive material), and reducing opportunities for mistakes," Anastasio said. "Media is now 100-percent compliant with the rules. The goal is to increase security and improve functionality to scientists.

"On the environmental side, the laboratory and I, personally, are committed to cleaning up the site and complying with the consent order," Anastasio said. "I don't want to have to pay fines."

Anastasio said, "103 of 104 milestones in the environmental sector were completed in the last 12 months." The laboratory "has accelerated shipments of waste, and has received seven pollution prevention awards from NNSA."

Anastasio praised "the quality, the skill, and frankly, the resilience of the people who work at the laboratory" and listed achievements in the areas of science (more than 1,900 peer review articles cited), community involvement ($875,000 spent on regional development, more than $1 million in scholarships) and safety (lost work days have been reduced by 30 percent).

"We're all in this together, Anastasio said. "What happens in the community affects the lab as well as the other way around."

The county council listened attentively to Anastasio's briefing. Councilor Michael Wheeler thanked Anastasio for bringing his progress report to the council, and said "The council stands ready to assist you in the future."

Council Chair Jim West said "We have a lot of confidence in you."


Anonymous said...

Council Chair Jim West said "We have a lot of confidence in you." - LA Monitor

Well, I'm glad to hear that at least one person in the county has confidence in Mike's ability to lead the lab. Most of the staff I know have very little confidence in his leadership abilities after watching him during the last year. He's not a bad guy (like Nanos), but he seems to have zero ability to inspire people. That's not a good quality for a leader.

Pinky and The Brain said...

“He's not a bad guy, but...”

That “but” is always a bad sign. Is he politically tone deaf or is he gambling his credibility when he says no RIFs? If it is the latter it looks like somebody needs to cut him off before the House takes it all.

Anonymous said...

Read the Mercer Human Resource Report dated March 3, 2007 prepared by Marsh & McLennans Company for LANS. On page 7 it indicates that this management team earns 130% more than the market value throughout the country. Where's our Congressman!

Anonymous said...

I checked the UPTE salary listing at www.upte.org/LosAlamos/salaries/salaries.html (which once LANS came into the picture such info became less accessible to the public than secrets at the Lab readily whisked away on a simple travel drive) and found a James West working at the Lab. Being a company town, more often than not members of the Los Alamos County Council also work at the Lab, which then explains the brown-nosing comment of "we have a lot of confincence in you." They don't get much browner than that.

Anonymous said...

11:34 - during the all-hands meeting he revised his "No Rifs" statement in "No RIFs this year". More than once he was asked about the budget cuts which he somehow brushed off as not yet serious. LANL folks can watch the all-hands meeting here: http://realone.lanl.gov/ramgen/media/miscellaneous2007/AllHands20070613.rm

Anonymous said...

We have confidence in you, Does West even know him? Or more of his hillbilly bullshit..

Anonymous said...

Who's we?

Anonymous said...

I know a James West working at LANL in N division. He is a computer person, unrelated to the councilor.

Anonymous said...

As an outsider reading a blog among very highly educated and paid scientists, my attention was caught by the following quote:

I've got an idea! Why doesn't the lab try to compete for funding outside the DOE? We've been reading of brilliant LANL ideas for years like the Plasma enabled gasoline engine, beams in space, R&D 100 awards and laser-driven fusion power.
If all these "breakthroughs" were just public relations fakery, the time has come to tell the truth before LANL asks for more funding. Has the public been fed 50 years of lies? Where's the beef?"

Is it true that almost nothing has come out of non-weapons research at LANL except misleading press releases? I've been reading of new discoveries and internal awards for years, particularly the R&D 100 awards. I've been told recently that the latter simply come from taxpayer-paid promotion and are neither original or useful.