Jan 9, 2008

Lab averts layoffs

Los Alamos Monitor


By ROGER SNODGRASS, Monitor Editor

The director of Los Alamos National Laboratory told employees today that there would be no need for involuntary staff layoffs.

With 430 eligible voluntary departures, along with 140 employees who have departed since Sept. 17 through natural attrition, the total of 570 is above the minimum goal of 500 and below the higher target of 750, Director Michael Anastasio said at an all-employee meeting Tuesday,

“However, given the 570 we have achieved, coupled with an assessment of the skill-mix consequences and the budget picture, I have decided that it is best for the Laboratory not to proceed with an Involuntary Separation Plan at this time,” Anastasio wrote in a follow-up memo that summarized his discussion.

There will be a 10 percent reduction, or about 50 positions, from the so-called flexible workforce. The flexible workforce includes staff augmentation, generally short-term subcontractors and limited term staff, some of whom would not be renewed when their contracts expire.

Anastasio was upbeat about LANL’s budget prospects for this year under the recently signed consolidated appropriation bill.

“Overall this is very good news for the laboratory, providing us with a relatively flat budget compared with last year,” he wrote. “However, future budget uncertainty mandates that we successfully take advantage of opportunities for program growth and that we carefully manage hiring.”

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is just a matter of time before Mr Troll posts on this story. It will something about how it will be a disaster for Norther New Mexico that jobs where not lost. How horrible it is that more scientists,
engineers or people with Ph.ds will
not be Riffed, that this shows that Los Alamos is arrogant and that everyone there is worthless. Of course it will say something like "after all we are the best and brightest!" It will have the usual lack of logic and make little sense.

Let us see how predictable Mr Troll is.

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

I'd say he was pretty predictable.

-Gus

Anonymous said...

Everyone has an opinion, including you, 9:37. You may not agree but that's the Americian way.

Anonymous said...

The "slow sizzle" and burn has began, expect Rif's under 50 FTE's almost every month from now till Sept. then another 500+. Lets see how many can take the pressure and continue to be productive after all it's a "pleasure to work for our country"

Anonymous said...

I think the real key phrase to remember is "at this time."

As soon as certain eyes are no longer focused so intently on the Lab, I expect the next round of RIFs.

Anonymous said...

Since when is laying off people something to celebrate? I never heard "Mr. Troll" suggest such a thing. How childish by the way, tossing names around like 9:37AM likes to do. And you Gus, why encourage it? People like 9:37AM wear blinders to bed at night, but if that's the kind of "enlightened insight" you prefer for your blog well then, have at it. No forced layoffs is indeed good news. Perhaps now people (and Trolls) can move on with their lives and leave 9:37AM and his ilk to wallow.

PS Best and brightest? Not likely.

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

I neither encourage nor discourage the sub-standard contributions on this blog. I have, however, frequently been disappointed by the overall lack of quality of the majority of the comments that come in.

Like it or not, the comments you see in this blog are a reflection of the LANL community. Neither Pinky nor I try to censure or spin what you people post here.

-Gus

Anonymous said...

Didn't Anastasio say that there would be an additional 50 people let go - from the ranks of the 'flexible workforce'? I'm sure the 50 who get notices to turn in their badges will bristle when they hear "No layoffs needed" again and again over the radio or tv.

Granted, I do understand this isn't the Phase 2 nor the magnitude that could've been on the block but 50 people will still be out of work so why say "NO layoffs"?

Anonymous said...

Ridding the workforce of limited term employees is not per se a RIF. Limited Term means once your initial term say 2 years has expired the employer can let you go. Its unfortunate that before Bechtel took over UC/LANL did a wholesale conversion of LT employees to regular. There would have been hundreds more to choose from in the LT pool.

Anonymous said...

Gus,

Did you say you don't censure the comments here? Maybe my eyes deceived me. Maybe I just read it too fast. No, I just read it again. You said you don't try to censure the comments. Must come naturally and you don't have to try.

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

1/9/08 3:29 PM,

Yes, as Pinky has repeatedly stated, we do not censure most comments, at his request. In other words, most of them are allowed to pass through to shine in all their brilliant glory here on the blog for the whole world to see.

Yours included, asshole-ish though the tone of it was.

If it were my blog, it would filter a lot of the garbage out that Pinky prefers to let pass. But that's ok, because

1) It's his blog, and
2) It lets the rest of the world experience LANL 'culture' in a way that they ordinarily would not enjoy.

-Gus

Anonymous said...

1/9/08 3:38 PM

Guss I appreciate your work.
However I simply do not believe that this blog reflects LANL culture. In sociology it is well known that surveys can be highly inaccurate since only certain types of people will reply. This blog and any other blog will have the same problem in that only certain types of people will post.

Nothing wrong with blogs as long as you keep this in mind.

Anonymous said...

Don't you mean censor? Censure means something else.

A lot of comments here could stand to be censored. Many of those that aren't do contain censure, which is all right by me.

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

4:00pm,

The following little piece of harsh reality undermines your case: no one outside of our immediate neighborhood cares all that much about LANL. Therefore, the only people posting here are those who are part of the LANL community. The rest of the world simply does not care all that much about what goes on here.

Sure, you get a few left wing-nuts posting from Santa Fe. But you also get a few right wing-nuts posting from Los Alamos. By and large, though, the only people who contribute here are those who are connected to LANL.

I travel a lot in my new work, including to the Washington area. Believe me, once you step outside of Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, and Santa Fe counties, LANL's importance in most people's minds drops right off to near zero.

-Gus

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

4:06,

Actually, I did mean censure, as in "pass judgment", which would be an indirect method of attempting to impart spin on the material presented here.

Unless I'm adding my 2 cents worth to a top-level posting I try to just let all you anonymous commenters duke it out on your own.

The sum result of all the anonymous posting that goes on here is usually not much to be proud of.

Now that *was* censure.

-Gus

Anonymous said...

4:16pm

Guss I agree with both your points that (1) Very few people outside
of LANL care about the blog.(2) Most posts come from people who are associated with LANL.

The point I was trying to make was that there may only be a small subset of people from LANL that post regularly. This subset may have characteristics that are well outside of the average person at LANL. If this is the case than the blog is not capturing the culture at LANL.

I would estimate that you only have about 50-100 people who regularly post.

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

You are of course welcome to your opinion. You and Kevin Roark share the opinion that this blog, as well as the original "LANL, The Real Story" where home to a "few, highly vocal malcontents.

I have studied the logs for this blog, IP addresses and all, and I have no idea whatsoever how many lanl.gov contributors there are. Nor, for that matter, how many comcast.net, qwest.net, Level3.net etc. contributors are unique LANL employees posting from home.

If you, on the other hand are sure that it is only 50 - 100 per day, then more power to you.

-Gus

Anonymous said...

Anastasio actually said there is no IMMEDIATE need for for involuntary layoffs. And then he later elaborated that a rif wasn't needed if attrition rates returned to 'normal', programs grew, and congress is nice to lanl in 09.
He's got the bases covered so he can 'honestly' announce a rif next month if he wants.

Anonymous said...

Ouch, 4:35.

You've just been subtly yet efficiently eviscerated. Being compared to Kevin Roark is like being compared to slime mold. Which unfortunately is an insult to slime molds everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Gus has a broad view of "LANL community." He himself no longer works here. I guess "community"means if you work here, if you ever worked here, if you heard of the place, of if you have some sort of opinion about it.

The blog is what it is comprised of, but to call it some sort of reflection of the LANL culture is off base.

Anonymous said...

From 10:11 AM

"The "slow sizzle" and burn has began, expect Rif's under 50 FTE's almost every month from now till Sept. then another 500+."

Perhaps this is someone who is disappointed that all the gloom and doom postings proved to be incorrect? Some of them --- such as one poster who predicted an immediate 1,000 layoffs --- were laughably hyperbolic.

Of course everything is not roses; far from it, and there may/will in fact be significant layoffs in FY09 if the budget comes in low and staff turnover remains light. But if you look at how things have actually played out, you can, at least from one angle, see a viewpoint that suggests LANS actually is trying to avoid layoffs of full-time regular staff.
Though their communications have been poor at best (and malicious at worst) looking at LANS' actual actions supports such a viewpoint.

For heavens sake let's accept some good news, with at least some good cheer, when it comes along. It's rare enough these days.

Doug Roberts said...

"Gus has a broad view of "LANL community." He himself no longer works here."

I no longer work at LANL. I grew up in Los Alamos. I worked there for 20 years. I still have lots of friends there. I sometimes come up to LANL to give an invited talk.

I consider myself to be a part of the LANL community.

Doug Roberts
LANL, Retired

Anonymous said...

Fair enough I suppose. You make a good point, Doug. However, you are not anonymous and have never displayed the same bias against LANL that Gus typically does.

But you do make a good point...

Doug Roberts said...

I take it you've never heard of this blog, 7:41.

;-}

Doug Roberts
LANL, Retired

Anonymous said...

No, I know all about your blog. But I never thought you were running the same agenda I detect from Gussie. And you had a much lower tolerance for crap postings, which was also a good thing. You seemed to refrain from broad generalizations. Sure, you had your blind spots for some things (as do we all, including Gus), but in balance I thought you were more even handed. Particularly once you saw the level of bile rise in the comments, you altered your policies appropriately.

Anonymous said...

Anyone want to make a guess as to when the next 500 or so of LANL staff will be herded out the front gates. My bet is around Thanksgiving of '08 when the FY09 budget brings in signs of more declines for nuclear weapons work. Even Mike told us to expect these declines in his Tuesday talk.

Anonymous said...

While more layoffs may be coming for FY09, the next big story at LANL will emerge when the TCP1 funding report for the year 2007 comes out in early summer. It will then become clear that significant salary contributions are going to be necessary to prop up the TCP1 pension. LANL employees are going to be livid when they find out exactly how much of their salaries will be taken to sustain TCP1. Plan on seeing a target figure of around 10%, with LANS instituting a multi-year phase in to get there and the initial salary contribution starting at 5% beginning October 1st.

John M. Pedicini said...

1/11/08 12:07pm

The LANL TCP1 documents are now available. The short notice sent to all participants is useless, but you can request the longer and more informative data. This shows about $1.4 billion in the plan against present value obligations of approximately $660 million. The assumptions underlying the present value analysis appear reasonable.

While LANL has had a rough year, poor financial condition of TCP1 does not appear to be one of the problems.

John M. Pedicini