Jan 2, 2008

Predictions for 2008

A thread was started on an earlier post in which predictions for LANL in 2008 were given. Top of the list was this one:

Future Senator Tom Udall won't be investigating anything. He'll watch the lab budgets go down, perhaps helping them move downward with his votes, and then exclaim,

"Oh, wow! I told LANS they needed to diversify the lab. None of this financial disaster is my fault!"

Don't kid yourself. We're going to soon realize just how vital St. Pete was to the well-being of Los Alamos County and all of Northern New Mexico. His loss is going to be a real shocker when the concrete reality of his leaving the Senate finally hits next year.

Who says Udall is stupid? Not me. He realizes what most of the rest of us have long understood: that LANL's sky-high FTE rates alone will prevent the successful recruitment of WFO. We also know that NNSA's new guidance regarding WFO at NNSA labs will prevent any substantive activity in this area. When Tom discovered this, he covered his bases by going on-record as having told Anastasio to diversify the lab.

Here's my prediction for 2008: The GAO will not produce any findings against LANS, LLC. If the recent well-publicized discovery of $41 million in LANS-approved overcharges by KSL are not enough to motivate some kind of legal action against LANL's LLC, then nothing will.

Feel free to add your own.

-Gus

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here's mine: Congress's poor performance on passing a budget for FY08 will look great compared to FY09. With a soon to be out of office Republican president, a Democrat-controlled Congress, the real budget negotiations won't start until after mid-January in 2009.

Look for more and harder cutbacks for DOE and NNSA since Congress has already shown that they don't believe in the DOE mission anymore. St. Pete will be history, so anticipate cuts of $500M or more to NNSA's weapons account.

Anonymous said...

Some lowly administrator from the Director's Office, miffed that she did not receive an invitation to attend the DO Christmas party at the La Fonda in Santa Fe will leak the chain of evidence chronicling John Mitchell's use of a LANL classified laptop in his home.

Congress will laugh it off as "human error", as just they did last year after the LANS board member took it upon himself to email classified documents around on the unclassified net.

Anonymous said...

As a result of having his Lucky 13 album mentioned on this blog, Mike Montiel and his music will enjoy world-wide aclaim. However, Mike's new-found popularity will cause him to be besieged by young, nubile groupies. As a result, his marriage will fail.

Peeved, Mike will disinvite Doug Roberts from ever playing music with him again.

Anonymous said...

Here's another: Terry Wallace will continue to destroy science at LANL. He will continue to ignore the malignancy hired on as ADs and will continue to screw over the Lab fellows by making sure none of them can come back and do science at LANL if they have taken the voluntary RIF option or if they simply retire. Furthermore, he will not go out of his way to try and keep any of the best/brightest at the Lab. Terry is intimidated by smart people and will make sure he rids the Lab of anyone who challenges his "superior" intellect. Remember, before his momma got him his job as DL of EES, he was a museum curator. Yep, we sure got the cream of the crop out of that exhuastive national search ...

Anonymous said...

Doug Roberts is a young, nubile groupie?

Anonymous said...

Here's mine: this blog will continue to do a disservice to Los Alamos and northern New Mexico through unmoderated posting of unsubstantiated nonsense, sometimes by Gussie him (or her) self.

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

They're awful hard to please, aren't they, Pinky?

Pinky and The Brain said...

You approved his (or her) comment. I think that counts as a disservice to Los Alamos and Northern New Mexico. It sounds like he (or she) predicted correctly.

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

Mea Maxima Culpa, my fine-furred rodent. Perhaps we should endeavor to clean up this blog (starting with 8:11's contribution, perhaps?)

BTW, Happy New Year, Pinky!

Anonymous said...

LANS has to raise overhead rates to pay the 39 week severances owed to almost everyone who self-selected (retired). LANS, realizing that the self-selection "layoff" didn't save a penny, announces major cuts to the "flexible" workforce and pursues an involuntary layoff that targets staff with 1 to 5 years of service (and very little severance owed).

Staff morale drops so much it becomes negative even when measured in the LANS morale gauging system (which apparently uses imaginary numbers). LANS then tries to help find financial security for the young staff just layed-off by hosting a Spring Debutante Ball, complete with free hot dogs.

Pinky and The Brain said...

Happy new year, Gussie!

I was just teasing. Even if it was about Pinky I would have published that comment too. Let the readers apply their own filters.

Anonymous said...

We don't have St. Pete any more, sad but true.

But not to worry, we have Santa MaRIE-a!

Anonymous said...

Morale will drop even further, more bright staff will leave in disgust, and LANS will come up with new policies that hinder productive work.

This is not really a prediction, though, because most people already realize that the odds of all this happening are around 99.99%.

Anonymous said...

Late in the fiscal year it will be announced that average FTE rates will need to rise to $600K in FY09 to help pay for the LANS 20% executive bonus and next year's super-fine DO Christmas party.

Anonymous said...

LANL staff will, at every opportunity, circle the wagons and shoot inward. They will continue to fail to recognize the value of solidarity, will continue their verbal abuse of each other in this blog, and will continue to disparage the idea of joining a union, at least in part because it seems so working class.

Partly due to this inability to work together, they will continue to be jerked around by LANS, NNSA, et. al.; and will never be able to present a unified front. LANS and NNSA will benefit thereby, and LANL staff will remain helpless to fight back, never realizing how easy they are making it for their tormentors.

Anonymous said...

No matter what you will see postings by Mr Troll saying how horrible the people at Los Alamos are, that any person with a Ph.d is in idiot, how jobs are bad for Northern New Mexico, scientists are worthless to society, that the earth is flat, Chris Mechels is not really insane he doubleplusgood and ignorance is strength.

People will lie, make things up, use language in dishonest ways, make inappropriate and sweeping accusations, be prejudice againts
accademica and make false claims.

Gussie or Pinky will allow this filth on their blog. They will however remove my posts.

I also predict that people will start fighting about who should be the next president.

Anonymous said...

9:08 pm,

"LANS has to raise overhead rates to pay the 39 week severances owed to almost everyone who self-selected (retired)."

I know 6 people who took the SSP. One retired, 1 went back to school and 4 took other jobs. Four had been here less than 10 years, the other 2 had 15-20 years. All 6 were direct: 2 on WFO and 4 on DOE. Four of them were under age 50.

I also know people close to, and over, age 60 with 20+ years who did not take the SSP.

Would be interesting to see the demographics.

Doug Roberts said...

"Doug Roberts is a young, nubile groupie?"

No, not the last time I checked, anyhow.

--Doug

Anonymous said...

I predict further disclosure of safety and security events. Remember that speech you gave Linton Brooks, Sam? Look in the mirror and play it again. Time to go.

Anonymous said...

Uncle Boddy is a full-up dues-paying member of the DOE/Bechtel military industrial club. He's not going *anywhere* until a new president tells him to.

Anonymous said...

9:08 - Where do you get your information that LANS will have to raise the overhead rate to pay the severance of the SSP's? This does not make sense. The institution is going to pay the severence, not the individual programs. To recover the severence and realize actual savings, Indirect budgets will be reduced to cover the institutions cost. Organizations will not have a windfall due to the vacancies created by the SSP participants.

Anonymous said...

I predict that in 2008, approximately 320 staff will be involuntarily RIF'ed from LANL.

For starters.

Anonymous said...

For the Lab I predict a retrenchment of entitlement attitudes and a resurgence of the totally clueless. Taxpayer dollars will be wasted at unconscionable levels in 2008. It will be business a usual in other words. Nothing will change.

--Baaaa...baaa...baaa...

Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...

For the Lab I predict a retrenchment of entitlement attitudes and a resurgence of the totally clueless. Taxpayer dollars will be wasted at unconscionable levels in 2008. It will be business a usual in other words. Nothing will change.

--Baaaa...baaa...baaa...

1/2/08 12:29 PM"

Congratulations! you just verified 11:19pms prediction about the trolls. Way to go! you prove that it is always safe to bet that dishonest, arrogant and ignorant people will do what they always do.

Thank you for not thinking about what you post, thank you for making unfounded or
nonsennsical statements.

Your ignorance is business a usual. Nothing will change.

Anonymous said...

Whoa 10:33, time for an accounting class.

The "institution" only has one source of funding to pay severance, G&A, a overhead tax on direct funding. DOE did not allocate separate funding to pay the big severance checks, they authorized payments out of the G&A pot. So it costs overhead funds to pay everyone who won the SSP lottery.

The average direct-funded employee pays an overhead tax (G&A and all other overhead burdens, not including related payroll expense) which is a sizeable fraction of their salary. More than 50%. However, the average employee working on direct funding makes much more money than the average indirect-funded employee, so a similar number of indirect-funded employees must leave as direct-funded employees to be able to reduce overhead rates NEXT YEAR, not THIS YEAR.

THIS YEAR the picture is grim! There are what, 39 weeks left in this FY after January 10. Care to guess how they chose Jan. 10? Every indirect-funded SSP winner with 39 weeks of severance draws their entire salary for the rest of the FY on Jan 10. In one big check. Same for every direct-funded employee w/ 39 weeks - but the direct-funded employees also stop paying their overhead taxes on Jan. 10. Thus they stop contributing AND draw their remaining salary in one big check from the G&A pot. That's a bad thing. Very bad.

Now not all employees get 39 weeks but it doesn't matter, no matter what the average severance is, overhead rates must go up. One only needs to make the assumption that SSP lottery winners aren't predominately low service time, overhead-funded employees. If you believe they are, you qualify to be a LANS upper-level manager.

Maybe the overhead rates can drop next year, but this year they go up.

Anonymous said...

My prediction? LANS will replace all of the 430 SSP slots and the slots from the upcoming RIFs with stealth hires from Bechtel, BWXT and WG. These new hires will all be cleared using the accelerated clearance process. It's part of a plan for the corporate takeover of the core "hearts and minds" at LANL.

There will be no savings in FY09 from either the SSP or the RIFs. LANS plans on filling every one of the open slots with loyal workers from the Mother Companies. If you watch the LANL parking lots you'll already notice plenty of cars with license plates from states like Nevada, Tennesse, etc. Expect to see more. It's part of the LANS stealth "invasion" of corporate new hires. The outcome of all this will be that LANL's FTE rates in FY09 will actually go higher, not lower!

LANS sees this year's budget problems as an opportunity to do an Extreme Makeover at LANL. They'll get rid of additional long term employees using RIFs as needed during FY09 and FY10.

Anonymous said...

Prediction: Some low-level, braindead contractor who is about to be laid off will be caught with a pit in their trailer. The pit will be being used as a doorstop and heater to keep a closet full of pot plants secure and warm.

The contractor will get 1 month of probation and a puppy dog as punishment.

Anonymous said...

I went to the Departure Information Session scheduled yesterday at the Physics Auditorium. Many of the SSP employees are returning as guest scientists. Their security clearances, work spaces, etc. continue to cost LANS money. What difference does it make. They continue to milk this place. After one year, these guest scientists will come back as FTEs.

Anonymous said...

1/3/08 2:22 PM,

Your logic escapes me. How is it that a person working for free is milking the lab? How would you actually reclaim his or her desk space and save real money? By a massive office move that crams people together and prevents any flexibility, followed by a building demolition? How is it that maintaining a security clearance costs money, until it is time to re-investigate, at which time another decision has to be made by the guest's host?

I predict that we will continue to get wild, unsubstantiated claims on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Your logic escapes me. How is it that a person working for free is milking the lab? How would you actually reclaim his or her desk space and save real money? By a massive office move that crams people together and prevents any flexibility, followed by a building demolition? How is it that maintaining a security clearance costs money, until it is time to re-investigate, at which time another decision has to be made by the guest's host?

I predict that we will continue to get wild, unsubstantiated claims on this blog.

1/3/08 11:03 PM"

I do not think these people will be working for free. They will come back at 1/2,1/3 or 1/4. That is how it works. People linger on forever getting some kind of pay.

It is not true for everyone but I know of a case with a person who before they retired would come in 3 days a week from 11-4. They came back at 1/3 time and would come in about 2 days a month.

Anonymous said...

Those SSPs that are returning as
UNPAID! Guest Scientists are doing so strictly out of loyalty to LANL and to thier co-workers.

The sudden departure of senior personnel due to the SSP process has eliminated any possibility of succession planning. We are losing many critical skills. The individuals who return as UNPAID! Guest Scientists should be commended. Can you imagine Mikey and/or any of his highly-compensated and frequently-bonused ADs doing such a thing?

Anonymous said...

"1/4/08 6:47 AM"

Sorry I do not buy this huge loss of critical skills. Sure they had skills but we also have young people who can fill in the gap.
No big deal. I know you will scream that anyone under 50 is an idiot but we all know this is not true so do not even try it.

Anonymous said...

"How would you actually reclaim his or her desk space and save real money? By a massive office move that crams people together and prevents any flexibility, followed by a building demolition?"

In the long term, there is a big payoff for footprint reduction, including office space. And remember, footprint reduction throughout the Complex is a major part of Complex Transformation. The long-term savings in maintenance and utilities costs more than justify office moves and building demolition. On the bright side for the LLC, there is a lot of fee to be gained by demolition of surplus facilities.

Anonymous said...

I believe 11:04 might be talking about Lab Associates who do get paid at some level, not Guest Scientists who are unpaid. Check out the LANL policies.

There were many TSMs in the 90s and early 00s who retired and came back as paid Lab Associates. Their pay and hours were limited by formula. I believe they are now considered part of the Limited Term pool (need to verify if interested).

However, many preferred to come back as higher paid contractors either through a Task Order or Staff Augmentation. TO contractors typically earned the highest wages. They were also the easiest to hide. (Perhaps you remember Busboom?)

People used to say that this was "phased retirement" at LANL.

I add that most of the folks I knew did a fine job. Although they did a good job, there were no critical skills involved in the work I knew about. Pretty mundane stuff.

Anonymous said...

"The sudden departure of senior personnel due to the SSP process has eliminated any possibility of succession planning."

I consider that statement evidence of longstanding (pre-LANS and LANS) failure throughout the management chain. Arguably, NNSA, DOE and others have been paying for this all along.

Anonymous said...

"In the long term, there is a big payoff for footprint reduction, including office space."

I certainly agree with that -- in the long term. But the poster who raised this issue was talking about the cost of office space for the relatively short term < 1 year returning guest scientists. I don't think management could act fast enough to achieve immediate footprint reductions while the guest scientists are working here. So, practically speaking, I don't think that providing existing office space for guest scientists in the near term is costing anything.

If I were making the decisions, I would think that the guest scientists are a good deal for the lab, and I would be pleased to accommodate them, while making plans for what the footprint is expected to be if and when they depart.

Anonymous said...

Science and some technical work done for free by guest scientists - an excellent business plan. I'd think LANS can't get enough of these people. We have a half empty trailer, the marginal cost of having some more people in there is nil.

There is however, a bunch of relatively unexciting technical work that needs to get done, for which LANS will have to pay. Anyone working in these areas only comes back for substantial $.

Anonymous said...

In 2008, we'll see more like today's notice, that waits until late Friday afternoon to announce an important Monday meeting.

Why such late notice? Can't they plan further ahead?


To/MS: All Employees
From/MS: Michael R. Anastasio, A100
Phone/Fax: 7-5101/5-2679
Symbol: DIR-08-001
Date: January 4, 2008

SUBJECT: All Employees Meeting - January 7, 2008

The Director will hold an All Employee meeting on Monday, January 7, 2008, in the NSSB auditorium beginning at 1:15 p.m. to provide an update on several items including the status of workforce restructuring and the recently signed FY08 Budget.

Anonymous said...

"I do not think these people will be working for free. They will come back at 1/2,1/3 or 1/4. That is how it works. People linger on forever getting some kind of pay."

As 6:47 pointed out, SSPers who become Guest Scientists indeed work for free; it should be pointed out that they are prohibited from being paid any salary by LANS for at least one year (unless they repay the severance payment). And, of course, Guest Scientists have to be invited back to the lab by a supervisor (who needs to get the AD's approval). It certainly appears to me that this is a good deal for LANS.

Anonymous said...

1/4/08 10:01 PM

You are right that it is a good deal for 1yr, but after that they will be getting paid. They will use that one year to smooze, wine and dine and so on. It is just the way it works.

Anonymous said...

""The sudden departure of senior personnel due to the SSP process has eliminated any possibility of succession planning."

I consider that statement evidence of longstanding (pre-LANS and LANS) failure throughout the management chain. Arguably, NNSA, DOE and others have been paying for this all along.

1/4/08 10:43 AM"

Relying on guest scientists for programmatic work really illustrates the lack of succession planning.

Anonymous said...

1/4/08 10:01 PM

"You are right that it is a good deal for 1yr, but after that they will be getting paid. They will use that one year to smooze, wine and dine and so on. It is just the way it works."

In what status will they be getting paid? Rehire, staff aug contractor, lab associate, task order contractor, consultant...? Who's going to sign off on the paperwork?