Sep 10, 2007

Anastasio's RIF Memo, Sent 9/6/2007

To/MS: All Employees
From/MS: Michael R. Anastasio, A100
Phone/Fax: 7-5101/5-2679
Symbol: DIR-07-257
Date: September 6, 2007

SUBJECT: FY08 Budget Uncertainties

As you are aware, the budgeting process for LANL is long and complicated. This year is no exception. Although I had hoped that the Laboratory budget uncertainties would have been resolved by now, that is not the case. In fact, despite the efforts of the Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration, and our congressional delegation, our budget will likely be subject to a continuing resolution for several months. This creates a significant problem since it is unknown when a budget will be approved or what the budget will be. We believe the magnitude of the problem ranges from a best-case scenario flat budget to a budget cut by more than $350 million.

Last night I received a note from NNSA Administrator Tom D'Agostino expressing his concerns about the uncertainties associated with the fiscal year 2008 budget and the potential for a continuing resolution scenario.

Tom's note, which went to all NNSA sites, said:

Since we have no ability to estimate how long we may have to operate under these conditions, we have to anticipate that it will be for an extended period of time. This situation unfortunately will cause some significant impacts to our sites' operating budgets and could affect our workforce. In addition, at a few of our sites, even if the impacts of a continuing resolution are avoided, changes to missions and work for other programs will likely cause workforce impacts in FY 2008.

Thus, as a hedge against the uncertainties of the budget and its timing, we need to begin planning for a possible restructuring of our work force. I have said before that we have had no plan for a reduction in force (RIF), nor were we planning for a RIF. The steps we have taken over the last year have served as a hedge against employee layoffs. These actions include cutting non-personnel costs, reducing spending and managing attrition across the Laboratory. But given the current budget uncertainty and given that the biggest cost for the Laboratory is personnel, these steps may not prove to be sufficient.

We are just beginning the planning process and there is a wide range of scenarios for which we must plan. While you can expect to hear and read estimates regarding possible employee impacts from a variety of sources there is no way to project specific outcomes this early in the process.

Under section 3161 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 1993, the Secretary of Energy approves and implements a Work Force Restructuring Plan whenever there is a determination that a change in the work force is necessary at a defense nuclear facility. The purpose of this plan is to mitigate the socioeconomic effects of prospective budget reductions and resulting work force restructuring on affected contractor and subcontractor workers and on our communities. You can find more about 3161 plans within the

DOE Web site.

Delaying such prudent contingency planning only compounds the problem. Thus, I have formed a team who will meet with DOE and NNSA beginning next week to start developing a Work Force Restructuring Plan. Additionally, while we're initiating this planning process because of our current budget situation, we must keep in mind our prospects for future years. This plan will also put us in a better position to deal with any budget uncertainties in the future.

It is important to keep in mind that this is a planning process and that we have not yet worked out the details of our plan. Our preparations will be grounded in fairness with a lot of care and thought behind them. Looking at the Laboratory as a whole, our plan will focus on preserving the right jobs and people so that the Laboratory can successfully carry out its missions.

We are early in the planning process and I don't have many answers or even know all the questions that may be asked, I wanted to inform you at the outset, and I will continue to keep you informed as the process moves forward.

I find this personally difficult. And I understand that these decisions affect individuals, families, and entire communities. While this is distracting, we cannot let the anxiety and uncertainty created by this situation divert us from ensuring that our best and brightest successfully carry out our missions and serve the national interest. Our vision remains to be the premier national security science laboratory for the 21st century. We will continue to make limited strategic hires during this period as well as give our raises this year, paying special attention to ensure that our best people are paid the appropriate salaries.

I would like to close with a safety and security message. With the anxiety these uncertainties will surely create, now more than ever it is critical that we look out for each other's safety and security and take time to think before we act.


Anonymous said...

Did anybody ask Mikey why they are acting like this was such a big surprise? With the increased management fee, added gross receipts tax, added pension costs, and added managers, this was predicted by most of us 18 months ago.

Did anybody ask Mikey why LANS had to increase the number of ADs and DDs threefold?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it was a big surprise to LANL management. They're pretty much known for their short-sightedness. In fact, if you had to pick a hallmark for LANL's management style, short-sightedness would certainly make the short list. Was true for UC, is true for LANS.

Anonymous said...

From the Reader's Forum. Maybe if folks volunteer to clean also, they will not be riffed.

September 5, 2007

Unsanitary working conditions

This week my trash can hasn't been emptied for a week and is filled to almost overflowing with my leftover lunches. The ladies bathroom also is dirty and the sanitary disposal container is filled to overflowing with... well I guess I don't have to elaborate any further on that matter. When I complained to my Kleen Tech representative I was told that services to my building had been "substantially" decreased. When I asked why I was told to contact the Kleen Tech supervisor.

After a prompt response from the Kleen Tech supervisor I was told the following: All non-hazardous facilities will only have garbage picked up once a week, bathrooms will only be cleaned twice a week, and no one will be vacuuming anywhere in any of the buildings anymore including common areas like conference rooms and hallways. When I asked if the NNSB was a non-hazardous facility I was told "Yes, it is." When I asked if services to the NNSB Building had been "substantially decreased" the reply was "Why no, the services there have not been decreased at all."

Being a staff member and costing about $200/hour burdened compared to approximately $45 burdened for Kleen Tech, does it really make sense to pay for us to empty our own trash, clean the bathrooms, and vacuum the buildings? That's a pretty expensive way to get janitorial services done around here at the expense of actual programmatic work. Besides the fact that I have my own house to clean and I certainly won't be getting the vacuum out of the closet anytime soon.

Here are my questions:
1. Who made this decision and what was the rationale?
2. If we are "all in this together", then why was service not reduced at the NNSB Building given that it is also a non-hazardous building?
3. How do we get this changed to something more reasonable?

I can see compromising with emptying the trash and cleaning the bathrooms every other day, and possibly vacuuming twice a month, but to eliminate these services almost completely is maddening, unsanitary, and looks bad to our visitors.

--Dawn Lewis

September 7, 2007

Response to unsanitary working conditions

Due to budget constraints in our infrastructure funded facilities and unforeseen expenses during the year, we have been forced to make some cut backs in service for the remainder of the fiscal year. These cut backs are in the areas of custodial support, deferment of corrective maintenance where practical, and temporary reassignment of support staff. I deeply regret the necessity of these actions and understand that these actions will have an impact. It is incorrect that cuts were taken in some facility but not in others. The cut backs have impacted all facilities. However, there are some buildings where the impacts are deeper than in other buildings due to varying budget constraints in building portfolios. We anticipate restoration of more uniform service delivery in October, with the beginning of the new fiscal year.

Even with budget constraints though, we strive not to have the type of situation develop that is described [in Dawn Lewis' letter] as we shift from a frequency-based service delivery to a more performance-based delivery. If you have a situation in your area where service is not adequate, please contact your facility coordinator or submit an on-line service request ( to fix the issue.

--Andrew Erickson, Institutional Facility and Central Services

It's pretty sad when a company can't afford to pay the custodial staff but can afford $40,000,000 in management salaries.

Anonymous said...

"While this is distracting, we cannot let the anxiety and uncertainty created by this situation divert us from ensuring that our best and brightest successfully carry out our missions and serve the national interest."

Whew, I'm glad Mike has taken the pressure off as far as mission success and serving the national interest go, since I'm not in the best and brightest category. GL says I'm more in the average and marginally bright category of 50-75th %ile ORC.

Anonymous said...

Yep, Mikey and the rest of the LANS boys and girls sure earned their bonuses this year, didn't they? I've heard (on the quiet) that if LANS can reduce the workforce by 25% there will be an extra 10% bonus for certain top dogs. Less staff = less expenses, same $79 million annual award fee, and Voila! More money to spread around favored LANS board members.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the Director's office and PADs get their offices vacuumed. Mine on the other hand, hasn't been vacuumed in months. After weeks of food debris piling up on the floor, my office mate and I took the vacuum cleaner from the janitor closet and swept the carpet ourselves. Many folks hang signs on the outside of their office doors "Please vacuum inside."

Anonymous said...

MarTEEN Aguilera instigated the TSM Trash Patrol.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the LANS plan is to create so many problems with rotten garbage and filthy restrooms that the staff will be forced to leave the premises by the retched stentch. In fact, LANS may be hoping that staff will leave on a permanent basis. Life under LANS just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it?

Funny, though, the NNSB does seem rather spotless. No overflowing garbage over there. Pristine looking restrooms. It's Mikey's little palace in a sea of growing filth.

I hope Dawn Lewis doesn't get targeted by management for asking such impertinent questions in the LANL Reader's Forum. You probably want to be very quiet and extra compliant these days if you hope to keep your job through next year. Be especially careful about the subject of TSM cost of $200 per hour. By next year, I'm sure LANS will have figured a way to drive that cost figure even higher.

Anonymous said...

9:17 PM, so why doesn't POGO report on stuff like what Dawn Lewis wrote? Why doesn't the SF New Mexican or even the LA Monitor? This is unhealthy working conditions and someone should be investigating and someone's ass needs to get fired over this - hey Andy Erickson, how about you?

Anonymous said...

A better question is why aren't the RADs fixing the unsanitary working conditions in their spaces? Heck we even have a few women ADs who should understand what overflowing sanitary disposal containers are like! This is just disgusting. Maybe emptying these containers in front of Mike, Jan, and Terry's offices would make a nice point as to our working conditions.

Anonymous said...

I broke a fingernail today shoving trash into my already stuffed trash can. Gawd, that makes me mad! Where are the overhead-grubbing PHD's when you need them?

Anonymous said...

Poster 7:51 AM, many of the Phd's are out trying to drum up proposals for more funding to help pay for LANL's outlandish support costs. Help them out. Go empty their trash.

Anonymous said...

The impact of this crisis spreads far beyond Los Alamos to northern New Mexico and beyond. For those of us who left LANL within the past year and are STILL trying to sell our homes, now face taking huge losses or even foreclosures. Meanwhile, the blotted LANS Staff continues to pull their bonus money out of nowhere. It's infuriating to hear talk of salary increases, management fees, etc. when people's jobs are at stake. How about no salary increase but keep your job? How about putting the management fee back into the laboratory to retain people? (most start up companies work at minimal profit or in the red for several years before returning profit.) How about eliminating some AD, PAD, DD jobs? Does LANS -really- need executive managers managing other executives? Come on! How about some of those PAD/ADs taking a pay cut? I worry for all of you still out there trying to do good science and keep your jobs. I worry for myself and others who are trying to sell our homes. I worry for the community. Surely, they saw this coming... I know I did. That's why I left. I may lose my home but at least I have a job in another state now.

Anonymous said...

"How about eliminating some AD, PAD, DD jobs? Does LANS -really- need executive managers managing other executives? Come on! How about some of those PAD/ADs taking a pay cut?" - 10:12 AM

Not a snowball's chance in Hell. In fact TSM FTE rates will probably be going up as LANS adds on even more upper management and stealth fees which causes the better fund-producing TSMs to flee the lab. The mood on Monday was extremely gloomy and I'm suddenly hearing a surge of TSMs who are reconsidering whether they want to continue to keep helping to bail out a ship that appears to be going down fast. Many of those who are in the category of being able to leave may soon be doing just that.

Anonymous said...

From 10:12 AM - "How about eliminating some AD, PAD, DD jobs? Does LANS -really- need executive managers managing other executives? Come on! How about some of those PAD/ADs taking a pay cut?"

I agree with poster 10:55 AM. The new AD/PADs are either building new palatial estates in Quemezon or have already bought or built their McMansions there. The need their huge ass and undeserved salaries to live in the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to. I do ask this- how can they stand to live among the "commoners" they routinely screw and now plan to RIF?

Anonymous said...

Since the NSSB is advertised as being maintained, I plan to trek to the NSSB daily to take a dump in the restrooms on the 7th floor.

Anonymous said...

This is a very sad situation indeed. Advice to everyone who does not want to lose his/her job, do your work, do not complain, and keep your nose clean.

Anonymous said...

8:17's advice aside, I kind of like what 8:47 PM suggests and would take it a bit further. We should ALL take our daily dumps in the NSSB 7th floor bathrooms.

Anonymous said...

Y'all are underestimating our self-described "high performance management team"; they're way ahead on the retraining spelled out in Section 3161:

(3) Employees shall, to the extent practicable, be retrained for work in environmental restoration and waste management activities at such facilities or other facilities of the Department of Energy.