Sep 6, 2007


Anastasio to hold all-employee talk today

September 6, 2007

Laboratory Director Michael Anastasio will talk about the 2008 fiscal year budget at an all-employee meeting this afternoon in the National Security Sciences Building Auditorium.

The talk is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. The talk will be shown live on LABNET Channel 9. The talk also can be seen on desktop computers using Real Media Stream and IPTV technology and in facilities that receive LABNET.

The NSSB is now Q-cleared only. Click here to see the Security Smart on new access requirements for the NSSB.

[Let's see if our Perfect Storm contributor has it right. You may want to bring an umbrella, just in case.]

Update: 3:41pm. This comment sums up the content of the meeting nicely:

Nothing definitive was predicted. We're now in the "planning phase" to implement budget cuts in line with the worst case house/senate budget scenario (~$300M cut). Some/many/most actions (unspecified) necessary to carry out those cuts must be delayed at least 120 days so unspecified "management actions," required by regulation can be carried out first. WAG on number of job cuts is 2500 (just a WAG!). No word on how all of this would effect students and limited terms immediately. Think that pretty well sums it up.

Oh, and don't let any of this bother you. Continue to stay focused and be safe.

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'll be flabbergasted if Mike gives any solid information about the upcoming effects of the FY08 budget. Mostly it will be "don't panic just yet, we've ended this year in good shape thanks to everyone's hard work at tight budgeting". It is strange, however, that this All-Hands meeting seems to have been called with little warning. That's not like Mike.

Anonymous said...

I believe the storm has arrived...;)

Anonymous said...

All the recent All-Hands meetings
are called at the last second so it means nothing. It will exactly as you say.
"FY08 could be rough but we are aware of this blah blah".

Anonymous said...

Anything definitive that Mike says about the FY08 budget would be pure speculation at this point, so why bother with a meeting? Maybe just because managers believe they can effectively counter and defuse rampant rumor mongering with a clear statement that there isn't any information?

A justfiable, and helpful reason for a meeting would be for Mike to clearly lay out several "what if" scenarios, bounding the probable congressional actions, coupled with the Lab's planned response to each. Unfortunately, that would give the impression that actual planning is taking place, and give employees a chance to plan also. Can't have that...

Anonymous said...

My vote goes for

"FY08 could be rough but we are aware of this blah blah".

We'll know in about 15 minutes.

Anonymous said...

It was also announced this morning at LLNL that Director George Miller will talk about the 2008 fiscal year budget at a special all-employee meeting this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. Strange that both Lab Directors called meeting for the same day with no warning... maybe LANS and LLNS are going to merge in order to save money ;)

Anonymous said...

The boneheads, lazy, stupid non performers better watch out. You will know who they are by how worried and how much anxiety the exhibit.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. The real boneheads, still "just won't get it".

Anonymous said...

Another clue for those employees that might be on the chopping block and have no clue is that if you get a zero or almost zero raise you better be looking for another job.

Anonymous said...

2500 people from the lab gone. Hmm.
In the end it will be 1200. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

9/6/07 2:23 PM

You're quick to judge! Are you ready, you bonehead, lazy, stupid non performer.

Anonymous said...

Nice timing, that Mike A. announces the RIF possibilities on the day of the burning of Zozobra. . . who may be too wet to torch. More gloom? Less gloom? Looming gloom?

Anonymous said...

Would someone who saw the all-hands meeting please write a brief summary? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

just had ours at LLNL. bend over and assume the position

Anonymous said...

I imagine they are still handing out Kleenex. Give them a few moments to compose themselves.

Anonymous said...

Please, more information on BOTH meetings - not just bend over. How about some facts? Have budgets been decreased? How much? etc.

Anonymous said...

Senate starts on funding bills

Anonymous said...

Nothing definitive as predicted. We're now in the "planning phase" to implement budget cuts in line with the worst case house/senate budget scenario (~$300M cut). Some/many/most actions (unspecified) necessary to carry out those cuts must be delayed at least 120 days so unspecified "management actions," required by regulation can be carried out first. WAG on number of job cuts is 2500 (just a WAG!). No word on how all of this would effect students and limited terms immediately. Think that pretty well somes it up.

Oh, and don't let any of this bother you. Continue to stay focused and be safe.

Anonymous said...

Managers on the top tier have tripled since LANS came in. On the second tier there are four times the amount of managers. On page 7 of the Mercer Human Resource Report it states that LANS Managers earn 130% above the market value than any one else in the country.

Report:

Mercer Human Resource Report
Date: March 3, 2007
Title: Total Compensation Design and .....

Prepared for LANS

By: Marsh and McLennan Company

NNSA Proposal, Amendment #2
Approved by DOE.

Anonymous said...

WAG?

Anonymous said...

Yes, a $300M cut does translate to about 2500 jobs lost. But, it could actually be worse. If they drag on 120 days or more into the fiscal year, those 2500 people will have been paid for those 120+ days and there is also the matter of severance and terminal vacation. That could actually translate into about 500 or more jobs.

This time, I can see organizations such as CLER getting injunctions to halt the RIF. That could be very interesting.

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

WAG: Wild Assed Guess

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else see the resemblence between Mikey and a Koala bear?

Anonymous said...

LANL managers may make 1.3x national, but so does everyone else at LANL. It is not solely management that contributes to costs.

Anonymous said...

(which is not to say that LANL managers are not a problem, just that their pay is proportionate to the rest of LANL)

Anonymous said...

Good thing those greedy motherfuckers are making so much money on the contract. Fuck science - let's make the almighty buck and who cares what the cost is

Anonymous said...

What do you want to bet LANS picks the wrong 2,500 to be let go?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, only the ass kissing yes men will be kept, those that dare think on their own are dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Bullshit, 5:00pm.

The ones who could think for themselves have already left.

Anonymous said...

4:04 PM:

Re: time lag in RIF implementation and need for increased job cuts.

Mike emphasized that point but didn't specify whether his 2500 WAG was based on January implementation (now +120 days) or not. I'll bet not.

Also, he said that the 2500 number was arrived at using a lab average for labor costs, which implies that the burden will be shared proportionately across tiers. That seems a stretch to me, which also implies even greater numbers out the door.

Finally, I noted the constant point/counterpoint dialogue: NONE of these measures are a given, we're merely planning at this point; the longer we wait to implement cost saving measures the more drastic they will eventually have to be. Both valid points, both conflicting, and both perhaps indicative of a bought-and-sold career bureaucrat who is perhaps personally conflicted about the whole situation as well, but can't speak the straight truth in a public forum to save his life. Do you think THAT'S why they get paid the big bucks?

Anonymous said...

The

"Oh, and don't let any of this bother you. Continue to stay focused and be safe."

was a nice touch, I thought.

Anonymous said...

LANL employees - it's your "cowboy" mentality that got UC in trouble in the first place. Had "you" not had so many safety and security infractions, the Congress and Senate would not have had you on there radar. So, get off that d@mn high horse you're riding. "But officer, I know I was speeding 160 mph in a 55 mph zone, but it was in the name of science."

Anonymous said...

So, we're now planning to think about a plan for a RIF?

Anonymous said...

5:23 PM
>> So, we're now planning to think about a plan for a RIF? <<

That might be the official version, but I think its safe to say we're now in the process of ACTUALLY IMPLEMENTING a RIF (legal formalities aside), save a Hail Mary, and I'm not religious .

Anonymous said...

This really comes as no surprise. I was expecting it before now. However, lets see how many of the Becthel/BWXT/WGI/Pro2Serve folks are on the RIF lists. Bet none.. although I don't see some of them as shining stars either.

Anonymous said...

Employees used to have a warm safe security blanket around them, and now it has shrunk to the size of a pillowcase. I have only one-year of service and am classified as a "flex term" which was implemented the last time LLNL had a VSIP, so I am starting on my CV tonight. The handwriting is on the wall...

Anonymous said...

It would still be easy to alleviate some of this by outsourcing. No one likes it, but why do we do furniture, cubicle planning, travel, facility management of office space, computer support, security, audits, design engineering, construction, etc. These are all functions easily outsourced through a contract with performance metrics, incentives, penalties for lack of performance. LANS lets no one go.. they all transfer somewhere else. Might be a lower salary but still with a job as long as you perform.

Anonymous said...

and so Bechtel/LANS still gets its $80M operating fee as 20% of the workforce gets the axe and sells houses, uproots families, and moves on? NM will replace Mississippi in last place in all "quality of life" stats, but Bechtel will post a solid little profit for producing/delivering NOTHING but a bunch of rigged safety stats at a mere TEN times what UC got. Welcome to the Bush Era

Anonymous said...

Sorry 6:58

The idea of "outsourcing" is at least 10 years old, obviously already employed, and based on the fact (management school texts don't tell you this), that the outsourced "sources" employ sub-US labor (immigrant labor employed illegally), or outsource that labor outright, "legally."

Given the state in which we live, I'm surprised you could post such, without knowledge of the repercussions.

Anonymous said...

As the first poster on this story at 11:38 AM, I have to say...

I'm flabbergasted!!! The announced number of 2500 possible layoffs is about 20% of the LANL workforce! I didn't expect anything like this.

Anonymous said...

8:11, simple-minded math says if you cut the budget of a $2B lab by $400M, that's 20%.

Anonymous said...

We just lost another TSM in our group to a much better funded DOE lab. It's becoming a regular occurrence. I suspect a lot of the better scientists at LANL will now be looking for positions at DOE labs that have better and more stable funding sources and lower cost FTE rates. LANL is spiraling down the drain.

Anonymous said...

If you think the Lab is spiraling down think of the housing market now. Bad before, horrendous now. Did a quick web search for los alamos foreclosure and immediately got a page with 12 or so listings. You may find a new job at a new lab, but what if you can't get a house sold? Or you sell much less than you paid. Of course you are out of here.

Anonymous said...

why don't they get the 300M from the Nanos Stand Down that Congress never said shit about and then we're all even......

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:23 said...
The boneheads, lazy, stupid non performers better watch out. You will know who they are by how worried and how much anxiety the exhibit.

Actually, if I were one of the new people hired in the last year I would be worried. I guess the entitlement will start to disappear.

Anonymous said...

odd how all the haters and gloaters come out from under their rocks.... as NM sinks into shithole 3rd word status, what do they gain?

Anonymous said...

Well, now, I guess the LANS "Fall Festival" set for September 29th should be a real cheery event! Better get that free meal for your family while you still can. Come spring, money for food may be scarce!

Anonymous said...

Hey 9:24 PM - I bet that they come up with some lame-ass excuse and cancel the event. Mike and his PADs and ADs can shove those hot dogs and pulled bbq chicken up their butts!

Anonymous said...

Poster 5:09 PM, I actually was moved by Mike's reply on what we should say to try and recruit the best and the brightest to come and work at LANL!

Anonymous said...

"Hey 9:24 PM - I bet that they come up with some lame-ass excuse and cancel the event."

Given the dire budget situation, can we really even afford to do feel-good events like the LANS "Fall Festival"?

Anonymous said...

Pinky, did you have to put up that awful picture of Mikey on this post? There's that terrible "shit-eating grin" on his face once again. I can't stand it!

Pinky and The Brain said...

I was wondering if anyone would notice that his fingers seem to be crossed.

Anonymous said...

9:58, I suspect that event is paid for with FY07 funds. Potential problem is not until FY08.

Anonymous said...

Has the ADTR, Doug Beason, put out the 911 call for the "Morale Officer" yet? Hopefully, as a senior manager, he has suggested resurrecting that position.

Anonymous said...

Poster 10:47 PM, perhaps you didn't hear at today's meeting that LANL reserves were heavily drawn down to get through FY07, thus leaving almost no financial reserves for FY08. I suspect the "Fall Festival" is eating in to some of those dwindling reserves, so, yes, not having it might save a few days of extra funding for next year. As we have been told by management, every little bit helps.

Anonymous said...

"Has the ADTR, Doug Beason, put out the 911 call for the "Morale Officer" yet? Hopefully, as a senior manager, he has suggested resurrecting that position." - 9/6/07 11:11 PM

Surely, you jest, Mr. Feynman? Comments like this guy's really scare me. No "Morale Officer" is going to be able to do anything except eat more deeply into next years limited funding and kiss the ass of LANL management. I know, you're a Lab Fellow, right?

Anonymous said...

funny how in a group meeting just 2 weeks ago we were told raises looked "decent" and we (in our group) were all ok for FY08... I guess no one has a goddamned clue, least of all managers.

Anonymous said...

Makes one wonder why the Lab is ordering and stockpiling tons of new furniture in transportainers throughout the complex when there are already so many empty cubbies in several buildings.

Anonymous said...

Nothing to despair about - people are still getting hired to lofty positions at the Lab. Sexist Terry just named his deputy and the acting Anna Zurek did not get the post!

Michael Anastasio said...

7:29,

That is the new furniture for the pit production crews (we're already planning ahead for when you guys are all gone). Keep your mitts off of it!

Anonymous said...

12:02, I assume you know the basis for 11:11's sarcastic comment.

Several years ago Beason hired someone he paid >$160k/yr on OH at the DAD level who had been removed as LANL's Diversity Office Leader. Her specified job function was head of morale and performance enhancement for the directorate. She became known as the "Morale Officer". I still have the TR all hands email where Beason announced it; a classic in LANL history.

If you seek a more palatable title, check out the highly paid Senior Advisors currently on the payroll. Most are ex-managers of some sort.

Anonymous said...

9/07 3:39, Group Leaders found out about Mikey's announcement the same time you did, or at most about two hours beforehand.

We are pissed.

Anonymous said...

Our GL had absolutely no clue.

Anonymous said...

Some GL's were clued in before the meeting took place, but it sounds like the LANL tradition of Mushroom Management is still intact. No doubt, you'll find clueless staff walking the halls in the next few weeks who have no idea that Mikey even mentioned a possible layoff of 20% of the LANL staff.

Anonymous said...

"Has the ADTR, Doug Beason, put out the 911 call for the "Morale Officer" yet? Hopefully, as a senior manager, he has suggested resurrecting that position. 9/6/07 11:11 PM"

Yes, however the "Morale Officer" aka "$163,500" quit months ago probably now better off than the rest of us laggards.

Anonymous said...

Here's a LANL WAG: If your ORC score is less than 6.5 this year, you should be very worried.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps so 8:49. That's how life works sometimes.

Didn't she come up with the slice of pizza with Beason thing, or something like that? Amusing times, but all ancient history.

Time to get back to work on the CV and job applications, just in case. When I hear the Director talking about legal and diversity being involved in the process, I take it very seriously. I figure that being a WM non-mgt TSM makes me a statistical target at a minimum. Fact of life in engineering and science.

Unclear what ORC score or percentile will mean. In my group most of the the scores are fairly tightly bunched. Depends on the size of the RIF and how it is implemented.

One common comment I've heard among coworkers is they don't think any managers will get riffed. It would make the whole mgt buildup over the past year look like poor/clueless planning.

Anonymous said...

ORC scores are not normalized across the laboratory, so such numbers are meaningless outside of peer groups.

Anonymous said...

The ORC scores may be scientifically meaningless, but they still mean you gonna get fired.

Anonymous said...

LANS executives will probably make some decision about how many workers they want to cut and then implement a new N-rank RIF scoring system which will be run sometime this fall. ORC scores will be one component in their RIF ranking. Current and future funding prospects will also be a prominent feature in the scoring system. It looks like the executive parking spaces at LANL are full this weekend, so you bet they are currently working overtime on the plans for this RIF as we speak.

This scoring system may include some sort of normalization method to account for lack of uniformity in ORC scoring across the lab. The AD's will also have targets for each Directorate on exactly how many people they want RIF'ed based on the different budget scenarios. Some Directorates and Divisions will be hit much harder than other. For example, it's clear that the Weapons area is due for a drop in funding in future years.

One poster said the following:

"I figure that being a WM non-mgt TSM makes me a statistical target at a minimum." (11:31 AM)

This is correct. If you are a TSM, then take a look at your back. You will see a big bull's eye painted on it. TSMs are the easiest target to go after based on RIF politics, so that is where LANS will head.

Think of each TSM as "two-fer". You get rid of a salary twice as big as that of most SSMs and TECHs, yet you only have one mouth crying out to Congress and the media to do something about it. Thus, RIFing each TSM is like getting a 2-for-1 cost savings for LANS. They'll do some token cuts in the SSM and TECH areas, but not much. They don't want any problems with this RIF.

Anonymous said...

And don't forget my favorite part. Once the RIF is done, those that remain will get to enjoy being jammed into the new employee category structure. It's just a fun ride that won't stop, will it?

Anonymous said...

" It's just a fun ride that won't stop, will it?" - 9/8/07 7:05 PM

No, it won't, which is why most of the "best and brightest" are now heading for the exits at LANL if they can find a way out.

The "glory days" are over, yet many on the LANL staff still haven't come to grips with this new reality.