Oct 18, 2007

Comment of the Week (Thursday Edition)

From the Word from Washington post:

But hey!

You've really gotta admire the way LANS is keeping LANL staff appraised of all the latest RIF developments.



Anonymous said...

Get used to it, this is the Bechtel style of management. You'll be told whatever you need to know.

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

Received on another post.



The Laboratory is in the process of submitting the specific detailed plan to DOE for review and approval. The Laboratory plan includes an incentive for the SSVSP, but details cannot be shared until the plan is approved.
Will the SSVSP pay incentive be extended to take affect in 2008? January through March 2008 could be the best time to receive this incentive. If not received in 2008, this money will be taxed in 2007 FY with any FY 2007 income already received this year. 20% to $40% will be taxed.
The sick leave for TC-2 personnel in inactive retirement status will not be compensated. The time earned will not be given for any for service earned, as I understand it. (It takes 25 years, plus to acuminate this amount of time) Why? (I have 2200 hours of service sick leave accumulated.) Should I start using it now? Although I believe the new LANs Company was compensated and paid for the sick for my hours transferred from UC to LAN’s. Can anybody verify this? Did the taxpayers pay for this transfer to a private company? Do I get any compensation for my family if I get sick later after taking a SSVSP with the hours I have accumulated?
Do the dates provided give any new future in-active retiree’s time to activate the retirement, and the process, including medical coverage ? I understand it can months to activate retirement. Does anyone know? The New LAN’s HR does not offer any help? Call LANs and you are told “Sorry we can not help you, call UC”. The hope is when you call UC you can talk to a person and not a recording. Thank you. Best of luck to all.
PS- age 53.

Anonymous said...

Today's sobering thought.

What if the agreement between NNSA and LANS to manage here is exactly what we are seeing now?

Could LANS have signed on to demolish the Lab?

Seems reasonable to me.

Anonymous said...

9:07 its a sad day when insanity and stupidity becomes "reasonable"

Anonymous said...

That's ok, 9:34. Please continue to post anyhow.

Anonymous said...

I notice Rep. Hobson is RIF'ing himself from Congress. How soon until he is working for Bechtel?

Anonymous said...

Study D'Agostino's recent memo carefully and you'll start to get a better outline of the game plan that NNSA has decided to execute. He knows that Complex 2030 is going to be an extremely hard sell to Congress. In fact, he knows that it will be almost impossible to sell this plan to Congress, given the budgetary outlook in the next few years. Because of this, D'Agostino feels he needs to generate some cash savings *now* so that he will be in a better bargaining position with Congress at a later date in regards to getting parts of Complex 2030 implemented. It's a "pain-before-gain" game plan which he thinks he can use to reach his goals. I believe that LANS will eventually buy-in to this NNSA game plan. When they do, we'll begin to see reductions in staff regardless of the yearly budget situation.

The outfall of all this is that we are going to be seeing big reductions in the size of LANL's workforce. People in the audience gasped when Mike announced the 2500+ figure at the All-Hand's meeting. Don't think that this number is too unrealistic. It may not happen all this year, but eventually you are going to see the LANL workforce shrink to by about 1/3rd, or about 3500 employees. At least half of the laid off employees will be TSMs (i.e., "scientists"), so the effect of all this on LANL science is going to be extreme.

Also, note that we will not be allowed to grow the WFO projects at LANL to lessen the effects of budgetary shortfalls because neither LANS nor NNSA really want to see this happen. They want to trigger events that will cause LANL to shrink, purge the workforce of expensive TSMs, and, thus, help support the arguments for implementing Complex 2030 before Congress at a later date.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that we have no "economy of scale" at LANL. One would expect that the overhead rate would shrink as the number of employees grows because the "fixed costs" such as facilities maintenance, utilities, and management fee could be spread over a larger population. But, that has not been the case.

But with a RIF reducing the number of employees, it is virtually assured that the overhead rate will increase.

Anonymous said...

Economy of scale works when a company can save costs and make more profit by being economical.

Saving costs to the taxpayer does not seem to be a driving force here.

Spending money and making jobs seems to drive events.

Anonymous said...


I think you're right in the overall reduction in staff on the science side, but my guess is that after the impending split that redefines LANL into separate production and science organizations (probably something else that LANS signed on to do but won't ever admit)there will likely be at least equivalent or larger staff increases in the production organization. Trouble is, there won't be much/any overlap in skill sets between the two staffs, so if you're RIF'd from the science (no money) organization there won't be much opportunity to get picked up at the production plant. My guess would be that the split will occur this year, if Pete's health declines quickly, and next year if he hangs in there.

Anonymous said...

"But with a RIF reducing the number of employees, it is virtually assured that the overhead rate will increase." (8:02 AM)

It already has for FY08. Just look at your latest hourly FTE rates. You'll find that they went up on average by about 3.5% on October 1st.

Plus, new stealth charges are appearing almost everywhere at LANL as overhead groups become desperate to find new sources of funding so they can hold on to their jobs.

Anonymous said...

Bodman, D'Agostino, and all the rest will be gone in a year, The only question is how much damage will be done by then (and of course, how much more will be done by Hillary and Co.)?

Anonymous said...

Once Hillary gets in (and she will), she and the Democratically controlled Congress will mean very hard times for LANL. The current crop of Democrats don't care about nuclear weapons and won't be sending us much funding to help change the lab's direction. We could end up on life support with just enough to keep the lights on.

The glory days at the nuke labs are long over. Here in New Mexico, we're going to find out just how important St. Pete was to keeping LANL afloat.

SNL, on the other hand, will make out much better. They still have plenty of DOD WFO projects and other stuff to keep them going, and their cost structure is not nearly as bad as LANL's.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the next administration (Hillary or otherwise) may not place the nuclear weapons establishment on a pedistal. That's probably going to be one of the primary reasons why they get voted into office as is. Apparently there are already too many millionaires clogging the streets of Los Alamos. Time for them to work for a living.

Anonymous said...

10/19 10:45 PM: "Once Hillary gets in (and she will), she and the Democratically controlled Congress will mean very hard times for LANL."

The very large elephant in the room on which no one will comment is that Hillary cannot be elected. The two telling points are that 1) nobody can stand her as a person; and 2) she is female. The country will not elect a female (or a black) president. Period. Political reality, polls notwithstanding. It is interesting to watch the self-deluded Democrat Party self-destruct with Hillary.

Anonymous said...

You may be wrong about Hillary not being electable, 9:42 PM. The Madison Avenue types are already working on the Hillary makeover.

A kinder, softer Hillary is being packaged for US consumers. If the US economy goes into recession (50% chance, and quickly growing) and the GOP continues to self destruct, Hillary may be electable. It will be close if she gets elected and she may not be the best Democratic candidate, but I would be careful about placing bets against her being the next US President.

Even if she loses, we could end up with Rudy from the GOP. My take on Rudy is that you can't count on him to be an enthusiastic supporter of the nuclear weapons labs.

LANL's political support is quickly eroding on all sides. This is going to bring about some very hard times for Los Alamos over the next few years.

Anonymous said...

Like the Democrats (Hillary) are going to be any worse then the Republicans in regards to LANL. Look what has happened to the Lab under Bush's administration...

Anonymous said...

Actually, it's the difference between the 500 people RIF (republican) and the 2500 people RIF (democrat).

Anonymous said...

Where did you get those numbers?

Oh, yes, you pulled them out of your ass.

Anonymous said...

The truth is LANL has lost political support from almost all sides, both Democrat and Republican. Because of this, the long term outlook for LANL is bleak. If LANL survives, it will be as a lab that is much smaller than it is today. I would guess that we'll be at least 1/3rd smaller by about 2012. The only event that might hinder this would be if some huge terrorist attack took place on US soil and that is not something to wish upon this nation.

Anonymous said...

Remember when President Bill Clinton came to town with Ms. Hazel O’Leary, the lab and the their family's did not get a raise for 18 months. My kids shook thier hands and loved it.