The layoff has clearly exposed the blatant lie that LANS would absorb the new costs through efficiencies. Instead, 750 employees are now out the door simply to cover the fee alone. From DOE's perspective, the new costs were a bargain compared to the new control they could gain over their lab.
This whole RIF process has also clearly exposed the other blatant lie that LANS would have more autonomy to run the lab like a true business. Clearly, Anastasio cannot make a single, simple decision, nor even speak to us, without thorough review by all levels of LASO/NNSA/DOE. He is not a Director in any sense, he is simply the new messenger for DOE.
DOE now has full authority with very little responsibility. Recall Bill Richardson's frustration in the Summer of 2000, when, as Secretary of DOE, he tried to order LANL employees fired over the missing disk drive. UC and Browne both balked, saying that they would look into the matter and apply "due process." DOE was nationally embarrassed to have to explain that LANL employees were not in their direct control.
The overfunded UC Pension Plan was also a source of frustration to DOE. In 1996, they released a memo estimating that they believed that $600M of the mega billion UC pension plan should be "returned" to DOE as part of the overfunding. Never mind that the overfunding was saving them $100M a year at LANL alone in pension costs. They were administratively frustrated that there was no way to control the UC pension.
Recall also the fight that DOE only partially won in 1993 in trying to control the voluntary early retirement program offered to all UC employees (the rest of UC was offered 3+5, but DOE won the battle that LANL/LLNL could only be offered 3+3). Again, administrative frustration that they did not have control.
Separately, Congressmen are generally small businessmen who fundamentally believe in competition. That UC had never competed for the contract stuck in their craw. UC's threat was that they would never compete any contract.
Hence began the steady banging of the drum that the culture of LANL was bad and must be changed, by both Congress and DOE.
The conversion today is nearly complete. UC's "never compete" bluff was called. DOE has finally achieved several levels of control it has never had:
* The top managers are highly motivated via employment contracts, high salaries, and bonuses to jump to every command, and they simply will not make a single autonomous decision. Total Management Control.
* Every single employee within the lab can be simply and easily fired due to the "at will" status. Total Employee Control.
* The pension plan is now private with unvested rights to the employees, and therefore its future costs are totally controllable. Total Cost Control.
New contract costs: over $200M. Employment consequences: thousands RIF'd.