Jun 23, 2007

Vacation Vexation

We received this report today via email. Do any of the blog readers have further information about this?


Pinky and the Brain:

On Monday of this week I heard a story of an employee of LANL on personal vacation in Europe. It seems that this person had removed a LANL government computer from LANL. He used the computer at LANL and apparently did not have a property pass to have it off site. Subsequently the computer was lost in Europe.

Later this week towards the end of the week and inventory of lap tops was taking place and a justification of why one was need was being done.

So now it would appear that lap tops have gone the way of USB devices, won't be long that we won't be allowed to have a lap top either.

Same old story don't punish the person that did something wrong punish everyone that works at LANL.

What has happened to the consultant and the members of the board of directors that emailed classified files? Nothing!!!!!!!

LANS needs to publish these types of incidents and the consequences of what has happened to the individuals.

What needs to happen to the individuals that do these stupid things is they need to be terminated immediately and the message needs to be sent loud and clear for all to understand.

When is the punishment going to fit the deed? Probably NEVER!!!!!!!!

Will it ever happen?

I would be very surprised if anything changes, except that Los Alamos will be the next ghost town of the West.

Wait till this comes out in the papers and in the inquisition going on in Congress.

Please keep me anonymous.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

This laptop story you speak of is obviously a simple case of "human error". In fact, in accordance with Bodman's recent comments regarding the LANS Board incident, this laptop incident should be seen as a success story, as it shows that our property accounting systems are working. I'm sure it will be minimized by NNSA and LANS in the same fashion as the recent "human error" that just took place at the LANS Board. To do otherwise would reek of hypocrisy, right? However, I have just one question that may have a significant bearing on the outcome. Was the person who lost the laptop a high level manager at LANS or just some common staff member? Strangely enough, I've found this piece of information to be highly correlated with outcomes at LANL.

Anonymous said...

All it takes to use a laptop on travel at LANL is one simple piece of paper, filled out and signed. But, no, this nitwit apparently couldn't be bothered with following this simple rule. Amazing! Now, we'll all get to suffer due to the stupidity of this one LANL worker. And so it goes...

Anonymous said...

It's bad enough this worker felt he/she couldn't be bothered with filling out a simple form. Then he/she made the next step into high-level stupidity by taking this unsigned for laptop OVERSEAS! Frigg'n wonderful! Who are these people who walk among us? Was this a staff member or just some young and clueless postdoc? And when did this loss actually occur? I'm guessing that the loss may have remained unreported by the "loser" for some time, perhaps until the property accounting system caught up with the event.

Anonymous said...

"What needs to happen to the individuals that do these stupid things is they need to be terminated immediately and the message needs to be sent loud and clear for all to understand."

This place has gone wacko. People are so terrified of being terminated for silly, honest mistakes that they are paralyzed. No wonder productivity and morale are so low. We have all made mistakes at one point or another, usually because of lab policies that are unknown, subject to interpretation, or not usually enforced. The knee-jerk reaction to everything now seems to be the destruction of careers and livelihood for honest mistakes. There are so many ways to torpedo your career at LANL it's not funny.



"It's bad enough this worker felt he/she couldn't be bothered with filling out a simple form."

It takes a form with 5 signatures (up to group leader) for a LANL employee to take a piece of bar-coded property from one LANL tech area to another LANL tech area. That is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

LANS always falls back of "privacy issues" so will never print anything about the outcomes of investigations. The Board members should all have been dismissed IMMEDIATELY....

Does anyone know if the LANS BOARD OF GOVERNORS are on the PAYROLL? It's hard to believe they serve for nothing....

But we'll see the same Nanos Knee-Jerk action of punishing all for the fault of one... somehow even the screw-ups by the BOARD got turned around into being the FAULT of the workers....

Udall, Bingaman, Domenici, and Wilson never quite seem to MAKE THIS POINT to congressional committees... The FOUR seem to allow the misconception that ALL WORKERS are LANL are stupid asses....

Wanna take a wild guess who I think the stupid asses are?

Anonymous said...

I warned Mitchell he would get in trouble for this!

Anonymous said...

"It takes a form with 5 signatures (up to group leader) for a LANL employee to take a piece of bar-coded property from one LANL tech area to another LANL tech area." - Poster 12:34 PM

Bullshit! I use the property removal forms many times. It only takes 3 signatures, which are usually easy to get - you, your property rep, and either your GL or DGL. That's it. And in all my many years at LANL I've never once had a property removal request turned down.

There is no excuse for blowing off this simple form and then following it up by taking the said laptop overseas. That is the height of stupidity.

Anonymous said...

No, we won't all suffer due to the stupidity of this one worker.

Rather, we'll all suffer due to the stupidity of management that knows not how to manage stupid employees.

Anonymous said...

LANL form 237-R "Property Transport Request" form. Look at the bottom of the form, 5 signatures. My point is you shouldn't need any forms for lab employees to move most lab property around the lab. Why the hell does a group leader need to know that I'm taking a pulse generator to my lab in the tech area across the steet? Don't you find that excessive?

Anonymous said...

ARE BOARD OF GOVERNOR MEMBERS PAID BY LANS?

Anonymous said...

Simple justification for a laptop: To connect to the yellow network via VPN (outside the lab), the new rule (not yet implemented, I believe, right?) is that it must be with a LANL computer. We were already trying to get them to amend that it be at least a government computer, not necessarily LANL. The rule has yet to implemented (correct me if I'm wrong), but if it is, then the only way to connect from home will be to bring your gov't laptop home.

If you try to have it both ways, no laptops and gov't only on the yellow only, then productivity plummets even further for the professionals who try to stay connected when not on site.

But maybe nobody cares about productivity any more.

Anonymous said...

You're right Poster 1:25 PM. I stand corrected. The old form only took 3 signatures, one of which was the actual requester. The new 237-R requires 5 signatures. It looks like they've now added an OCSR and a Contract Administrator for more CYA protection.

Still, taking a LANL laptop out of the lab without one of these forms and then bringing it with you on an overseas vacation is just dumb, dumb, dumb. Perhaps LANS will add some more signatures on to this form, just to be sure. Adding in a Division Leader and an AD signature would be very much in the LANL tradition, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

I've been on lots of official foreign travel with a laptop. The customs paperwork is tedious, but straightforward. In some instances, my program code was charged nearly $1000 dollars by the lab customs office to generate the single page, other times it was for "free," part of my overhead.

I have never had to present it to any customs official on my trips to Western Europe. Basically worthless paperwork, unless, of course, you were to lose your laptop. Then the paperwork is for CYA.

But let's keep it in perspective. The FBI has lost dozens of laptops, routinely 3-4 every month, some with classified information, click on Missing FBI Laptops, so let's try to have a measured and appropriate response to this incident of "human error."

Anonymous said...

"then the only way to connect from home will be to bring your gov't laptop home."

At the Nevada Test Site, NSTec has started sending out e-mails to employees prohibiting them from taking their government laptops home.

Anonymous said...

"But maybe nobody cares about productivity any more." (Poster 2:40 PM)

We've moved into a risk aversion culture at LANL. In such a culture, productivity plummets and not much of real importance gets done. This results in workforce fear of making mistakes -- any mistakes -- and is one of the key reasons job satisfaction at LANL is now at historic lows.

Risk aversion cultures are deadly to science and drive up the cost of operating an institution. The worst part of all this is that risk aversion cultures really don't help in making an institution more safe and secure. After a while, the foolishness of all the myriad new policies and forms to sign make the workers care less about safety and security, and not more. Having a double standard about the consequences of breaking the rules (see "human error" and the LANS Board) also make the troops even more cynical about the whole process.

From what I've recently observed, LANS is quickly losing all respect from the TSMs who work at LANL, not that LANS seem to care one wit about it.

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't one of the reasons you have go through LANL's customs office to bring computers on foreign travel to make sure there is no export controlled material on the computer? How is this person going to prove there was none on that laptop?

Anonymous said...

The employee had a completed form and apparently felt that it was what he needed based on the language of the form.
What he had not done is have an export control review done and the appropriate approval for removal from the country. He discovered this while he was taking his Export Control Training while overseas.

Anonymous said...

So this is why ADSMS employees got an email last week stating that we had to "downsize" our inventory of laptops.

Anonymous said...

3:47 here. Thanks for that bit of info 5:52. Sounds like some confusion on all the forms needed.

I returned my properly signed out Lab desktop last year and had it salvaged. It was old and I used it for work stuff at home for a few years. I also had some books I bought for a project years ago in the 90s that I no longer needed. I brought them to the LANL library and had them sign that they received them. I simply will not take any Lab property anywhere.

As for needing a computer for working on Lab stuff after work hours these days, well, as someone else said, those days are gone at LANL (at least for me). That is one thing I have noticed about our parking lot, there would be cars late in the evening and on weekends, mine was one of them - no more.

Maybe LANL's theme song should be, "For What It's Worth," by BS?

Risk aversion, it's what for dinner.

Anonymous said...

Right, 8:20 pm, you can tell that more people are leaving ASAP because the traffic is much heavier at 5pm than it was a year ago.

Anonymous said...

Come on 10:11 PM - people leave at 4 pm and they are not here at 7 am. Also, I am suprised at how many people are not here on Thursday afternoons and the parking lots are less than 50% full on Fridays. Alan, Terry, Sue, Mary and the whole science leadership gang should be quite proud of bringing the morale at LANL to a new low. But hey - things are getting better. That's what I hear, I just can't buy anything or get anything fixed or hire anyone, etc.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:34 wrote "What needs to happen to the individuals that do these stupid things is they need to be terminated immediately and the message needs to be sent loud and clear for all to understand."

Yes!! This is exactly what I have been saying. And the first ones to go should be those such as the moron who found the disk drives behind the xerox machine, the americium spreader, the aqua regia TSM, the laser eye injury, and all those resposible for the recent stream of security infractions. These are the folks who are still among us and who are to blame for all of us suffering due to the supidity of a few and their blatant disregard for the rules and ultimately for LANLs bad reputation.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, if Wallace actually had any balls he would have fired them on the spot when he became PAD.

Alas, he is a spinless critter who likes blondes, which is why he looks the other way when Mary does anything inappropriate.

Anonymous said...

No balls + likes blondes = odd combination.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 6/23/07 12:03 PM is correct. The paperwork for taking an unclassified laptop off-site is trivial. I got approval for a one year period for a laptop and digital camera to be taken off-site, including out of the country.

Anonymous at 6/23/07 12:34 PM writes: "It takes a form with 5 signatures (up to group leader) for a LANL employee to take a piece of bar-coded property from one LANL tech area to another LANL tech area."

I am retired since 2005, so things may have changed. All that I needed to take property-tagged equipment off-site was the signature of the Group Leader and our Division Property Officer.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 6/23/07 11:10 PM comments that many LANL employees do not appear to be putting in a full day of work. I don't blame them. I worked close to 60 hours per week for 20 years and it got me little. High salaries and big bonuses going to our new overseers plus the continue abuse from the NNSA, Congress, and the idiot media have detroyed all of the loyalty that LANL employees once had. If our overseers are just out for themselves, why shouldn't we try to give as little as possible?

Working hard at LANL is like wetting your pants while wearing a dark suit: It gives you a warm feeling but nobody notices.

Anonymous said...

Time fraud! now there is a scandal the average person can understand. How long will LANL last if the news folks logged the comings and goings of the hourly folks and then compared the log to their reported hours?

Anonymous said...

I'm at LLNL and can only recount my observations about employee work habits (at least until now). It's almost the norm for many people to work beyond hours because they care about what they are doing. I for one, regularly worked 60 hours/week for much of my long career. So NNSA has been getting "free" labor all of these years from Lab employees and not realizing it (I'm not just talking about PhD's either). It's facts like these that don't get reported when people criticize the Labs, and are not being considered in the equation of how employees are treated.

Anonymous said...

In the corporate world, working without compensation (overtime, at home, etc) without approval makes you a liability. How? Because without approval you aren't covered on their active-duty insurance. If you should get hurt in the process of working extra hours without approval, you could be sued by them for exposing them to risk.

So, even if they've received the benefit of your extra hours and diligence / devotion, you will still be seen as a rule-breaker and thus, deserve to be taken down a notch.

(Logic be damned!)

Anonymous said...

These days, anyone who works late in their office at LANL is viewed with suspicion by both LANS and the security staff. It's a whole different world from a few years ago.

Anonymous said...

Life is fairly easy for me - no laptops, no work-related email when out of the office, no working evening, weekends or holidays. Only 80.0 hours per pay period. I get paid during those 80.0 hours to catch up on email, voice mail, take training, and attend several meetings a day. When I go on travel (foreign and domestic), I don't have to worry about losing my laptop and/or crypto card, and I don't need to bother with administrivia to transport things out of my office. If somebody needs to find me, they can try calling consecutive pay phones on the street. Don't get me wrong - I used to work 60-80 hours per week. But I've found that the same amount work awaits me at the beginning of each day no matter how many hours I worked the previous day, and I finally realized that I wasn't being rewarded for extra effort.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 6/24/07 2:47 PM has it right. Given them what they are paying for, no more and no less.

Anonymous said...

LANL had 300 man-years of off-site connectivity last year, and LLNL had over 400. Pick your favorite $/FTE figure, and you can see NNSA is getting quite a deal.

In exchange, you get to consider 105% of average for putting in the extra effort.

Have a nice day.....

Anonymous said...

Could it be that folks who aren't "here" are counting their hours from the time they reach the traffic jam at the guard post? It takes way too long to get through the single lane traffic jam because of the lane configuration on Diamond Drive to get to any building on Diamond or down Pajarito Road. Why should anyone count the time sitting in the car or searching for a parking place as personal rather than work?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 6/23/07 11:20 PM says:
"And the first ones to go should be those such as the moron who found the disk drives behind the xerox machine, the americium spreader, the aqua regia TSM, the laser eye injury, and all those resposible for the recent stream of security infractions."

OK, I agew with most of this. But, it doesn't seem quite right to fire "the moron who found the disk drives behind the xerox machine" What was this person's offense?

Anonymous said...

6/24/07 7:59 PM - OK, fine - but the reports would disagree with you. Wallace, Mara and Anstasio should just fire the rest. Saves a few jobs for the rest of us who have not been involved in scandles to tarnish the Lab's rep with COngress and put LANL in the situation we are in right now.

Anonymous said...

My time on the job starts when I enter LA county space. And it stops when I hit the edge of LA county space. Didn't used to be that way.

When you carpool... you drop someone off in town at 7:45am. You then don't get across the bridge and through the guard shacks until 8am. You park and walk in .. that makes it 8:15. You work until 5:15. No lunch. That is your 9 hours right. Go across town and pick up your car pool. It is now 5:30 or so. You worked 9 hours. They have now worked a 10 hour day (but got paid for 8). So you compensate by leaving a wee bit early. But you are now perceived as a slacker because you leave early.

Can't win here....

Anonymous said...

That no lunch could be a problem. The least I have heard of people being approved for is 1/2 hour.

Anonymous said...

Who cares about how much lunch time people take since there are different rules for different classifications of people. What matters is that workers now count their time from when they enter the County, or maybe when they leave home if the live in the County. The comments about empty parking lots, backed up traffic, people not at their disks for their alloted amount of time further demonstrate the lack of moral at LANL.

Anonymous said...

moral - did you mean morals or morale?

;)

Anonymous said...

Neither, he meant morel:

http://thegreatmorel.com/

;-}

Anonymous said...

There's both a lack of morals and morale at LANL. Management is clearly lacking in morals because of their bloated salaries and the support from Bechtel in the form of a housing allowance to live in SF. Maybe if they had purchased homes in Los Alamos and become real community members, they might care a little more. It's a slim hope. And we all know about morale. In fact "morale" is of French origin, feminine of moral.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification of morals and morale.

I am off to Smiths to check on the morels situation.

Anon. said...

Check out Newsweek for info on lost laptop and another classified email transmitted over non-secure channels. LOL LANL you will need it.

Anonymous said...

Labor laws apply to non-exempt (Exempt employees are "exempt" from the labor laws). See Monster Primer for a summary. Non-exempts must take a minimum of 1/2 hour lunch and work no more than an 8 or 9 hour day. You can't skip lunch, if you are non-exempt.

And I believe the hours worked have to be at your primary work location, not in your car, inside the county line, sitting at a guard station, etc.

Anonymous said...

12:57 If you are serious about your time, you aren't doing any of us any favors no matter how you justify it to yourself. If your work ethic doesn't support "a days work for a days wage," then I have no sympathy for you when you run into T&E fraud problems. Nothing that is happening here justifies such behavior - and when it shows up in Newsweek, we all get another black eye!