Aug 15, 2007

UC president didn't bail, he was pushed out, sources say

Phillip Matier,Andrew Ross, Chronicle Staff Writers
Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Members of the University of California's governing Board of Regents, unhappy with what they saw as persistent management problems in the UC system, pushed university President Robert Dynes into announcing his resignation this week, sources involved in the move said Tuesday.

Board Chairman Richard Blum met with the 64-year-old Dynes over dinner at Trader Vic's in Emeryville three weeks ago to tell him the regents had grown impatient with his lack of progress in reforming a dysfunctional university hierarchy, the sources said.

Dynes, who has been criticized by state lawmakers for UC's practice of handing out hidden perks and bonuses to top executives, offered to step down next year. Blum, however, told him it would be better if he did it sooner rather than later.

In announcing his resignation Monday, Dynes said he would leave no later than June, explaining that he wanted to spend time with his new wife. However, UC Provost Wyatt "Rory" Hume immediately was put in charge of the system's day-to-day operations while the university searches for a permanent successor.

Blum, husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., confirmed that he had met with Dynes at the Emeryville restaurant but would not comment on details, saying only that "Bob told me he wanted to spend more time with his family."

"I know you have a job to do," Blum told The Chronicle, "but the answer to everything else is going to be, 'No comment.' "

Dynes issued a statement late Tuesday saying that "at dinner with Dick Blum, he asked me what my plans were as president. I told him then that I was planning to step down by June 2008. I have had this timing in mind for some time."

One state official familiar with the meeting said several regents had concluded that after nearly four years on the job, Dynes, a former physicist and UC San Diego chancellor, was in over his head at the top of the 10-campus system.

"But then, what do you expect?" said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "Spending 17 years in laboratories doesn't exactly set you up for running what is, in effect, a multibillion-dollar corporation."

Financier Warren Hellman, a major UC donor who was Dynes' father-in-law until the university president divorced Hellman's daughter last year, said of the fallout between Dynes and the regents: "Everybody sort of got tired of each other."

Blum told Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger about his meeting with Dynes on July 27, a few days after the dinner, sources said. The governor's chief of staff, Susan Kennedy, also was told.

Last week, other UC regents, state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata and Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez were alerted that Dynes was about to announce his resignation.

Blum, who heads a multibillion-dollar investment firm and sits on a number of corporate and charity boards, reportedly is putting together a reorganization plan himself for the UC president's office - something critics say is long overdue.

For all of his accomplishments - including presiding over the opening of UC Merced and retaining UC management of national laboratories at Livermore and Los Alamos, N.M. - Dynes probably will be best remembered for the public relations disaster unleashed by revelations in The Chronicle that UC was handing out millions of dollars in bonuses and benefits to top university executives without telling lawmakers or taxpayers.

The money represented only a small fraction of the system's budget, but the disclosures came at a time when student fees were rising and lower-paid UC workers were being stonewalled on raises.

"This guy had 70 lawyers on staff, and not one of them gave him a heads-up about the problems they were creating with these deals," said one regent, who asked not to be named. "It just goes to show how dysfunctional the whole place is."

Several regents made it clear that they had zero tolerance for repeats of such PR fiascoes as the revelation that the university had paid $30,000 to install a dog run at the UC Santa Cruz chancellor's home.

But there is concern that more is on the way. Just this week, it was disclosed that UC San Diego is the target of an Internal Revenue Service audit of its payroll and accounting systems. The IRS is believed to be looking into whether business income or employment taxes were appropriately reported or paid in 2005.

Taken together, the problems could make the search for Dynes' successor more difficult, UC watchers say. Whoever gets the job is certain to face endless scrutiny - and a lot less autonomy - in everything from dealing with UC's budget to hiring assistants.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Waaa-aa-aaah.

Anonymous said...

The solution is obvious. UC needs to hire Pete Nanos to succeed Bob Dynes. He then needs to drain the swamp at UC, warn the arrogant UC butthead cowboys that he's not going to put up with their crap, then shut down UC for about six or seven months, then form a consortium of military industrial partners to run UC. Yea...that's the ticket!

Pinky and The Brain said...

I like the way you think.
The Brain

Anonymous said...

So Dynes got his ass fired.

Maybe there is hope for UC.

Could Foley be next?

Anonymous said...

Dynes and Foley should have been kicked out with Nanos...

Anonymous said...

But then, what do you expect?" said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "Spending 17 years in laboratories doesn't exactly set you up for running what is, in effect, a multibillion-dollar corporation."


That's what Chuck Montano kept saying about PhD group leaders.

(sorry, no idea how to tilda the "n")

Anonymous said...

Chuck Montano may be right about this, but that does not change the fact that he is a bigot!

Anonymous said...

I'll take non sequiturs for $200, Alex.

Anonymous said...

I'm Anglo and have the utmost respect for Chuck Montano. To label him a bigot is absolutely wrong. He is committed, and can be brutally direct when he has to be, but that doesn't make him insensitive. I witnessed him shed tears of despair once because he felt he let people down. A bigot wouldn't shed tears for anyone, much less put his neck out on the line for complete strangers the way this man has done more than once. 7:54PM, you clearly have no idea what you're talking about. You've probably never even met the man face to face.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion any credibility Montano had was lost after the Tommy Hook case. Below is just some random news reports.

"According to a report in GovExec.com, Susan Hook, the victim's wife, Bob Rothstein, his attorney, and Montano confirmed that Hook was at the club to meet with another employee who claimed to have information that would support charges of wrongdoing.
Susan Hook and Montano further alleged that the assault was absolutely connected to Tommy Hook's impending testimony"

"Chuck Montaño , a fellow lab worker, said Hook admitted he drank two or three beers. “I was right there with him at 5 a.m. (Sunday in the hospital ) leaning over him, and I couldn’t smell alcohol on his breath,” he said."

Anonymous said...

The Money Quote... "It just goes to show how dysfunctional the whole place is."

Yes, indeed, much like what we've seen at LANL for many years. UC seems to be exceptional at breeding dysfunctional management.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous at 8/15/07 9:02 PM: I am
anonymous at 8/15/07 7:54 PM.

I do know what I am talking about. I worked with Montano. I also worked with Hook. Montano is indeed an anti-Anglo bigot and both are liars.

Anonymous said...

Too little too late.

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with 12:44AM--UC and LANL both need a major overhaul. As for 7:54PM and 10:36PM (probably one of the psychos who went ballistic over the Homesteader issue in a previous thread), using anonymous postings to defame is, well, the word "dysfunctional" comes to mind.

In the mean time the world keeps watching us perform in this blog (not the blogs fault, but ours), as we slice each other to shreds in what has become the Internet-equivalent of the Roman coliseum. Indeed, many who contribute to this blog are like the gladiators of old (street punks of today perhaps), using their anonymous identities to attack our senses in the most violent way possible--mentally and emotionally, thus effectively destroying what little faith we might have in humanity. We've met the enemy (as has been said), and the enemy is us.

Anonymous said...

So what's the issue 10:36PM? You don't like beer? You don't like Hook? You don't like naked women? You don't like Hispanics? You don't like people from Santa Fe? You don't like newpapers? You don't like people who surviving brutal attacks? What is your problem? Why don't you just crawl back into your hole and stew?

PS This post has to do with Bob Dynes (one of the world-class best and brightes of the UC/National Lab establishment) getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar, being way over his head when it comes to administrative skills, and finally getting the political establishment (who isn't much better by the way) to turn against him. But rest assured there are a thousand more just like him lined up to take his place. So don't hold your breath on this one either.

Anonymous said...

8/16/07 6:32 AM

Kudos - Yes being anti - anglo is a bigot

Anonymous said...

11:42AM is 6:32AM, who in turn admits to being 7:54PM. Does this clown spends his entire life posting to blogs? Get a life! It's obvious you've got an ax to grind. People like you love to take cheap shots at others using the cover anonymity.

As stated so elequently in a previous post, 11:42AM ought to just crawl into a hole with the rest of rats and snakes that have done such a great job destroying our once great Laboratory. It's people like you that need to be RIFed out of existence!

Anonymous said...

Native Americans were brutalized by every wave of Europeans that invaded their lives. To this day many (I being one) are resentful of how our ancestors were treated. As for the anglo community of Los Alamos, I resent their arrogance toward surronding communities and towards me, a dark skinned native of the area. So I assume that makes me a bigot? The fact that I resent being treated like I don't belong in my own back yard makes me a bigot? Talk about the stove calling the kettle black!

Anonymous said...

I’m an Anglo woman who’s been at the Lab over 20 years. I moved here with my husband. He also works at the Lab, and together we raised our family here. Two of my three children now work at the Lab. With that said, now I have to admit I don’t know Mr. Montano personally. I do know of him however, and what I know of him isn’t the negative stuff being said here. I’m one of hundreds of women who are going to benefit from the salary class action case the Lab settled recently. I know that Mr. Montano was instrumental in getting that case started and in getting it resolved. I know that I, along with many of my colleagues (regardless of their ethnicity) will benefit because of it. I thank him for that.

Anonymous said...

8/16/07 1:29 PM

I am glad that you're one of THOUSANDS that will benefit from the class action lawsuit. I feel an absolute need to educate you somewhat on that Mr. Montano was NOT the only one instrumental in getting that case started and had absolutely nothing to do with it in getting it resolved. For many years a handful of colleagues including Mr. Montano showed extraordinary commitment, conviction, and courage; each one made a bold decision to step forward against a backdrop of risks, sacrifices, long days and longer nights, struggle, doubt, and anguish. But they always understood that to improve the quality of life for present and future generations, they must make these efforts. For over 14 years now, they vigorously committed themselves to the employees working at the national laboratory.

When they decided to become an advocate for employee rights, they knew that they would continue to be very visible to LANL management and their supervisors. They knew that LANL has a history of retaliation against those who seek to hold LANL accountable for its lack of commitment to the laws of equal opportunity. They knew that that was risking their career and future at LANL. They also knew that this could affect other jobs they might seek in the future. They nonetheless decided to go forth because they strongly believed that change was necessary. They believed that the risk to their career was a risk they were willing to take to achieve justice. Today, they have a job -- no career. They have been “blacklisted” from any opportunities at LANL.

Anonymous said...

From what I recall, this man also saved a lot of people their jobs back in mid 1990s. The Lab was getting set to layoff a bunch of folks back then. I was one of the one's being targeted at the time, so I know. But out of nowhere this guy appears, and he challenges the Lab's decision not to offer a voluntary separation package that will help mitigate the forced termination of hundreds. I remember reading about all this in the paper at the time, and because I was at risk I paid attention. But then at the last minute the Lab changed its mind (thank goodness) and offered a voluntary separation package that resulted in about 500 volunteers. This translated into about 500 people who weren't forced out of their jobs because of it, and I was one of them. As for those that did get forced out, this man again surfaced in the battle that would ensue. In the end the Lab's plan of conducting three consecutive layoffs, beginning with the one in 1995, was thwarted because of Mr. Montano effortd. This means hundreds more were probably spared the loss of their jobs because of him. There were others involved in all that stuff of course, but he was the one leading the charge, and so his was the neck that was always on the line. His name was in the media almost weekly at that point, and the Lab was doing all it could at the time to trip him up, but yet he somehow managed to survive. And so I have no doubt this man saved my job at the Lab back then. I'm now retired, but I was able to put in 10 more years because of Mr. Montoya. So yes, I do feel I owe a debt of gratitude to this man. And no, I'm not alone.

By the way, I'm white and I'm male, and no I don't know the Mr. Montoya. I'm not even sure I'd even recognize him if I bumped into him.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Montoya, Montano; whatever.

Anonymous said...

11:42AM is 6:32AM, who in turn admits to being 7:54PM. Does this clown spends his entire life posting to blogs? Get a life! It's obvious you've got an ax to grind. People like you love to take cheap shots at others using the cover anonymity.

As stated so elequently in a previous post, 11:42AM ought to just crawl into a hole with the rest of rats and snakes that have done such a great job destroying our once great Laboratory. It's people like you that need to be RIFed out of existence!

8/16/07 12:04 PM


My first response was to tell you to go fuck yourself, since this was my first time posting to the blog. Then I thought better, and there are people out there thast are quick to judge and place blame on others regardless of the facts. You appear to fall under this blanket.

Racism is discrimination against ANY RACE BY ANY RACE.

Can you understand that basic point, or do we need to break it down to a first grader level?

You blame me for being a part of what destroyed the lab, but I am against discrimination from any race to any race so your statement is quite ridiculously stupdid. It is the remark of a racist coward.

Anonymous said...

It's also thanks to people like Chuck Montano that nobody can be laid off from LANL, no matter how incompetent and/or corrupt they are.

Anonymous said...

Hey, this is 11:42 AM with an additional comment. I continued tyo read on after those accusations. I agree that there is still a level of racism in New Mexico. I relate to the frustrations also. But I thought the end game was the equality of races. We will never reach the end game is one race hates a race that historically conquered.

Have you ever thought anglo's don't sense the resentment ad develop a level of frustration. They are receiving the same treatment you are complaining of - being treated unfairly for something they do not believe in and something they cannot do a dang thing about.

Can we get past that? Yes, there are bad apples in every race. Are they going to bring the downfall? Do we keep on trying, or do we give up and go back to racial segregation? I personally would prefer the former.

Anonymous said...

Hatred and bigotry between Hispanics and Whites at LANL always seems to build to a crescendo right before a RIF. If the recent comments on this blog are any indication, a RIF must be right around the corner.

Anonymous said...

So this is a MODERATED blog? Turn up the noise filter, moderators. Please.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you macho guys stop signing anonymous and meet in the parking lot to "address the situation".

Blogs...what a joke.

Anonymous said...

This post has turned into deja vu all over again ...

Anonymous said...

8/16/07 5:42 PM

Chuck Montano didn't get your job back which allowed you an opportunity to work for another 10 years. You have been misinformed on how this transpired. Raymond Sanchez, NM Speaker of the House and Manny Aragon, NM Senate Pro-Tem met with the California State Legislature Leadership and together they forced UC to correct the injustice that happened with the RIF in 1995.

Anonymous said...

9:11PM obviously assumes he's so gifted as to have no fear of being laid off unjustly. If there are incompetent employees that deserve to be terminated, that's what the performance evaluation process is supposed to be used for. But if managers can't or won't use the performance evaluation process to develop employees and eliminate incompetence in the workforce, then perhaps the incompetence stems from incompetent managers refusing to perform their jobs in a legitimate fashion. As for managers that use system-wide layoffs as a way to target people they simply dislike for whatever reason...that's the empitome of bigotry, and that's precisely what occurred in the 1995 layoff. That's also why the Lab lost that battle, and why the Lab then cancelled its plan to execute two more rounds of layoffs in 1996 and 1997. And yes, that's also why the Lab is so reluctant to execute another random lab-wide layoff exercise today. The bigoted mindset that resulted in the layoff fiasco of 1995 is still firmly entrenched at the Lab, and we all know it as evidenced by some of stupid comments surfacing on this blog. Yes bigotry is alive and well throughout northern New Mexico and the rest of the country, but Los Alamos remains at the epicenter when it comes to bigotry.

Anonymous said...

9:11PM must have an echo. Both 9:11PM posts are equally inane.

Definition of inane: lacking sense, significance, or ideas; silly; empty; void

And 7:55PM, well this guy just needs a can of "ass-whuppin" open up on him, that's all.

So let's move on folks. Dynes is out, Nanos is history, UC is on the ropes, our careers are on the line, and we're wasting time with these morons?

Anonymous said...

As stated so elequently in a previous post, 11:42AM ought to just crawl into a hole with the rest of rats and snakes that have done such a great job destroying our once great Laboratory. It's people like you that need to be RIFed out of existence!

8/16/07 12:04 PMO

OK Poster 12:04 there is no reason to get nasty. Calling those humans, rats and snakes was really uncalled for. Call them what they really are---nasty human beings. Snakes are absolutely wonderful creatures and for you to deride them by putting then in the same category as those who have destroyed the Lab, is really uncalled for.

Anonymous said...

Poster 12:05 AM,

With Doug's blog, we all at least knew who was running the show. Does anyone really know anything about Pinky and Gussie? Do they even still work at the lab? I have my doubts, as many of the important memos on LANL's internal web site never seem to cross their desk until someone bothers to pass them along. Also, posts seem to be put up on this blog at all working hours, which tells me these guys are probably not sitting at desks down at TA-3.

Pinky and Gussie seem to have only one agenda, which is to destroy the lab. For all I know, they speak Chinese as their native language or perhaps they are 15 year old acne-faced teenagers somewhere down in Santa Fe who like to run pranks.

Moderate the blog? I don't think so. This blog has become a big freak show and they appear to like it that way.

Anonymous said...

11:05 AM - As Doug once mentioned on this blog, he wouldn't start a blog under his own name in these times as an at-will employee. Thus having anonymous blogmeisters/mistresses is to some extend ok with me. On the other hand it would at least interesting to know if Gussie, Pinky and Co. have ever worked at LANL. And, in the latter case, if they (still) care about the science that is going (or should go) on at the lab. Or if they have already given up, as many other LANL present and past LANL folks, celebrating the downfall of LANL.

Anonymous said...

7:03AM thinks a bunch of worthless politicians gave a sh*t about LANL and people's jobs. What a crock! Politicians don't get involved unless someone kicks them in the ass. The media sometimes helps in this regard. So go figure. Now 7:03AM can go back to smoking whatever it is she/he was smoking.

Politicians giving a damn?! Boy have I got a bridge in Minniapolis to sell you, or a mine in Utah. Your choice.

Anonymous said...

Thank you P&B for not allowing the dark forces of censorship to prevail. We've already been through the Dark Age once. Those clamoring for greater "moderation" are really talking about keeping opposing views hidden from view. In a free society we sometimes have to endure those we disagree with. An alternative is to move to North Korea. I'm sure their moderators won't disappoint.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes. Absolutely. Thanks P&B! This blog is a real high-quality treat!!!!!