Jun 27, 2007

Let's do the math

Has anybody else noticed that the LANL funding process is a teensy bit out of control this year? First, the House decides to cut LANL's funding by about $300 million. Then, the Senate comes charging to the rescue, led by our patron Saint of Pork, Pete (The Pork) Dominici, and that other guy. What's his name? Oh, yeah: Bingaman. Result of the rescue mission: a $90 million budget reduction.

So, it appears as if we have identified the two extremes of our expected funding at LANL for FY '08. In the months to ensue we may expect our lame duck (thankfully) president to veto the funding bill, which will then lead to the back room negotiations, which will eventually lead to a compromise which should fall somewhere between $300 and $90 million less than the FY '07 budget.

Care to translate these numbers into bodies? Using the guideline that somebody on the

http://lanl-the-rest-of-the-story.blogspot.com/2007/06/lax-and-lazy-at-los-alamos.html

post presented, the actual savings that can be obtained by RIFfing the "typical" LANS employee is about $100K. So, to get to $1M, we need to RIF 10 employees.

Let's do the math. Um, er, uh... I've got it: 900 - 3,000 bodies can be expected to fall by the wayside in FY '08. And if past years of watching our leaders in Washington take us through the Continuing Resolution process are any guide, we won't actually know what our budget will be until perhaps February (5 months after the start of FY '08).

Y'all like roller coasters?

--Gussie

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

That sounds like the "good"senerio, just think what could reall y happen....I shudder to think....
+

Anonymous said...

bush is not a "lame duck." delusional asshole yes. lame duck no.....

Anonymous said...

Something doesn't add up. Using the $100k/person estimate, a 50% cut in our $2B budget would force 100% of the employees to be laid off.

Anonymous said...

The 100K number ignores M&S, which is probably $600-700M. That can be cut, at a loss of productivity.

Anonymous said...

8:25PM, cutting Management & Support won't result in a loss of productivity. It will result in a gain of productivity.

Anonymous said...

8:20 pm:

That 47 square miles of decrepit, crapped up real estate isn't going to remediate itself, 8:20. If You fire everybody tomorrow, there is still a large cost associated with cleaning up LANL before you can lock the doors and walk away. Some parts will never be cleaned up enough to return to normal use.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that Bechtel took over M&O just to profit from the clean up operations not the running of the Lab?

Anonymous said...

"Y'all like roller coasters?"
--Gussie

No, I don't. Riding on roller coasters always makes me want to puke. And this particular roller coaster seems to be getting scarier and more violent with each yearly "ride" along the tracks of our fiscal budget.

Anonymous said...

M&S = materials and supplies.

Anonymous said...

8:20 PM:

Instantly cutting $1B of our direct budget would in-fact require a shut-down of the entire lab to restructure. The problem is, there wouldn't be any way to immediately cut costs and still be able to continue safe and secure operations.

Shuttering buildings doesn't save much immediately - there are moving costs and costs to mothball, so basically only the heating and cooling utility bills gets saved - dislocated staff will still use the same electricity, water, and phone in their new location. Per dislocated employee, immediate savings from compaction is only ~$3K per year, and that only if the employee moves their office themselves after work hours. Peanuts.

Cutting maintenance and equipment replacement can save some money immediately, but can't be done indefinitely without causing a shutdown, how could the lab continue to operate if the audio doesn't work during all-hands meetings?

No, the only way to cut budget instantly is to lay off staff and that only saves labor costs; salary + related payroll expenses. After paying severance costs, that really would save only $100 to $120K per layoff. So to cut $1B instantly that's ~80% of the staff gone, provided the layoff occurs on October 1. More if the layoffs are delayed. Just can't operate the lab safely and securely with <20% of the staff remaining hence immediate shutdown for restructuring.

Shutdown the lab for restructuring and the remaining funding would be in jeopardy - a death spiral.

Anonymous said...

Gussie, don't know about the -$90M as the lower limit.

According to this article, "Sen. Pete Domenici finds Democratic ally in effort to keeps nuclear labs going," in the Abq Tribune 6/27/07.
...
"While the full Senate may yet make some changes, it is likely that Dorgan and Domenici will head into negotiations with their House counterparts with a bill that not only would keep the labs' employment at current levels, but would map out a different plan for the nuclear weapons complex than proposed either by the Bush administration or the one approved in the House last week."
...
"No jobs would be lost at the labs under the Senate bill, Domenici told reporters."

Looks like maybe it was the President's budget request that cut $90M, and the Senate bill proposes to put it back.

Anonymous said...

8:20 who says we have to clean up anything? We haven't cleaned up shit and never intend to, everyone will just run away off the hill ,leaving the entire mesa a mess, who is responsibile? NNSA, DOE, LANL, LAN's, ? Take that to court and see how long it will take to get a decision......and then try enforcing it,....

Anonymous said...

LMAO, I looked at that title real fast and thought it said, "Let's do the meth."

Anonymous said...

"I looked at that title real fast and thought it said, "Let's do the meth.""

That reminds me of the time I told my LLNL coworkers how the trailer park thumb drive incident is now generally referred to as "CREM de Meth" - boy did they get a good laugh out of that one.

And I got a pretty good reaction when they learned how LANL redefined "UCNI" to mean "Uncontrolled Classified Nuclear Information".

Well I'd better stop at that one - enough is enough.