Feb 20, 2008

Papers Please!

Pinky,
My wife just called to tell me that we have received a registered letter from LANL, informing me that I have been "randomly selected" to verify my dependent information by April 30, or have all my dependents dropped from benefits coverage. This means I have to supply marriage certificate for my wife and birth certificates for my children.

In all my working years (and I have plenty), I have never ever been asked to do this before. It seems onerous and insulting.

Has anyone else here had to "show me the papers" to The Man?

WTF?

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds to me like a government entity is practicing due diligence. Don't get too perturbed and verify that what you are claiming is real. I bet there are a few cases where it's not true.

Anonymous said...

Is this letter a joke? I get requests to "show me the papers" just for trying to buy beer.

Anonymous said...

Feel fortunate you weren't asked to prove your gender--male, female or long time Lab employee (neutered).

Anonymous said...

I think around 2000 people got randomly selected. Hope they catch the ones that signed on thier cousins and neighbors as kids for a little extra money.

Anonymous said...

Could be a phishing ploy.

Anonymous said...

Will the lab be checking paternity with DNA tests or do they just want the papers?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it just the papers, otherwise half of Spana' would have to submit to DNA testing.

Anonymous said...

A phishing ploy?

Via registered letter?

If so - dumbest con artist in the universe!

Anonymous said...

A few years ago UC sent me a similar letter. They accepted my tax return as proof.

Anonymous said...

But I wouldn't cheat by signing up my cousin's kids and claiming my sister as my wife. I have a Q clearance. That makes me trustworthy, right....?

Anonymous said...

This item was in this morning's Links:

"Because 2008 is a leap year, there will be 27 paydays this year (the December 31 payday is not reflected on the Laboratory calendar). Total Compensation Package 2 401(k) participants who are maximizing their contributions should adjust their biweekly contributions to reflect the extra payday and avoid losing the employer match."

Can anyone explain what to do with this info? Does this mean my gross income for 2008 is really going to be 27/26 of my nominal annual salary? If so, I'd have to adjust my percentage 401(k) contribution to 26/27 of the normal percentage from each paycheck... but only if I want to contribute the IRS maximum. And it really doesn't make a difference since I can only deduct 401(k) contributions in whole number percentages anyway...

Right?

Anonymous said...

I see a reasoning for this to occur. I was asked by a coworker to participate in a scam to get his-her daughter-son / sister-brother/ niece-nephew into the Los Alamos schools and some other outcomes. All of this did not appear to be on the up and up. I was Q cleared, and was asked by another Q clearerd person.

To me I see this as a justified action unfortunately, and everyone caught to be less than honest should forfeit Q and job ASAP, and not be eligable for rehire. NO MATTER WHAT THEIR POSITION IS

Anonymous said...

As Jessica Quintana demonstrated, absolutely anyone can get a Q clearance.

Anonymous said...

I wondered how long it would take before someone mentioned Jessica the Q.

Anonymous said...

Doris Heim is a phukking moron..........

Anonymous said...

9:23 pm:
"I wondered how long it would take before someone mentioned Jessica the Q."

Yep - the canonical evidence of why a Q clearance means *NOTHING*.

DOE will never live this down. To the never-ending pain of all the really trustworthy holders of Q clearances.

Anonymous said...

JQ not only had a Q, she also had a Sigma 15!

It seems they hand the crown jewels of the nuclear weapons world out to just about anyone, including stupid, immature young girls just out of high school like Jessica.

Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Jessica the Q's security clearance: was anybody who was involved in investigationg and/or granting her a clearance disciplined?

Anonymous said...

There is no extra "trustworthiness" hurdle required to get a Sigma 15. It is assigned based on need-to-know for your work assignment. Nothing more, nothing less. So please get over this idea that JQ having a Sigma 15 means anything in particular. She had a Q clearance, which is authorization to see any and all S/RD data for which the person has NTK.

Anonymous said...

Poster 8:12 AM demonstrates the problems of attitude at LANL. He/she obviously knows about security but sees no need to question why a young girl recently out of high school should be given a Sigma 15 without much questioning by LANL management.

Sigma 15 allows one to have access to the crown jewels of our atomic bomb data. It should not have been given to Jessica, and the people at LANL who decided to hand it out to her like a piece of candy should have been immediately fired.

That people at LANL are still around who try to justify this action with the Sigma 15 is beyond belief.

Anonymous said...

8:12 is right. Sigmas are handed out on a need-to-know basis, and don't require any additional trustworthiness checks. Having the Q is supposed to imply the necessary trustworthiness for those who have a Sigma level need-to-know.

Anonymous said...

"Because 2008 is a leap year, there will be 27 paydays this year (the December 31 payday is not reflected on the Laboratory calendar). Total Compensation Package 2 401(k) participants who are maximizing their contributions should adjust their biweekly contributions to reflect the extra payday and avoid losing the employer match."


This just exposes what has always been an obvious problem with how they calculate the employer match. They should change their payroll system, rather than requiring that each employee adjust their contribution according to how many paydays are in the year.

From the beginning, it was clear that making the bi-weekly contribution an integer percentage of salary meant that we either have to sign up for too little or too much to come out of each paycheck. Also, our salary changes part way through the year, so anyone who tries to maximize their contribution is likely to go over the maximum allowable contribution. Because of this, payroll cuts off the 401(k) contribution once the maximum allowable contribution is reached. BUT if there's no bi-weekly contribution, there's no 6% match, even if you've already paid in 6% of your ANNUAL salary before hitting the maximum allowable contribution.

The solution is obvious: payroll already knows when someone has hit the maximum contribution and they know whether 6% of the year-to-date salary has been paid in; they know whether a 6% match is warranted, so they should just do it. Instead of making the employer match contingent on the bi-weekly salary and bi-weekly contribution, they should make it contingent on the year-to-date salary and the year-to-date contribution.

Payroll is just a program; they should fix the program instead of trying to sell an obvious bug as a "feature."

Anonymous said...

"He/she obviously knows about security but sees no need to question why a young girl recently out of high school should be given a Sigma 15 without much questioning by LANL management."

Young, old, girl, boy, turnip, cabbage...

JQ's job assignment required access to Sigma 15 documents. DOE investigated her background and made the decision that she could be relied upon to handle nuclear weapons data, encompassing all Sigma categories.

LANL managers have neither the authority nor the responsibility to conduct background investigations on employees or subcontractors. They do have the responsibility to identify need-to-know for varous Sigma categories, and to assign 1-13. Sigmas 14 and 15 are assigned by a central authority based solely on need-to-know and current Q clearance.

End of story.

Anonymous said...

12:52PM

Surely you jest - that the Lab would actually have a computer program that works for business applications - payroll, procurement, travel, etc. The not so subtle threat is that if your 401K contributions are above the limit, you will lose the match??

Anonymous said...

Holy Christ!! What has this blog become? A bunch of crybabies bitching about exact percentage 401k contributions? Isn't there something more important? What planet are you people from? I realize a PhD automatically qualifies you as an "official asshole," but this is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

9:30 pm: "Holy Christ!! What has this blog become?"

You must be new here. It has always been crybabies and assholes. You wanted "all things considered"? Come to think of it, they're crybabies and assholes too!

Maybe that's all we are, folks!

Anonymous said...

"2/22/08 9:30 PM
"

Guess what? You are an f*ing troll.

G

Anonymous said...

On the off subject matter of 26 or 27 pay periods and 401K. If you exceed the contribution limit, Fidelity does not stop contribuiton. It takes the amount that exceeds the limit and puts it an an account segment that is taxed at the time of the contribution. When the next year begins, you start again and all contribuitons will be tax deferred again until you reach the limit. The "over limit" monies are earmarked as already have paid taxes and are done so for the life of the account. When distribuiton of funds occurs, those monies that were taxed (over limit) are not taxed again.

I saw no ending of LLNS contribuition when I exceeded the limit in 2007. This method of operation was explained to me by the Fidelity rep before the transiton and I have verified it by examining the transaction record.

Now maybe LANS and Fidelity set up a different operation at Los Alamos.

We now return you to the bitching 401k crybabies. I'll take some Gouda with my whine.

Anonymous said...

Maybe that's all we are, folks!

2/22/08 10:56 PM


Maybe so. I guess since you are not crying.....

Anonymous said...

Yes, LANS cuts off the contribution at the age appropriate maximum tax deferred contribution.

Expecting LANS to provide usable business systems is not whining. The trolls just have sour grapes.

Anonymous said...

"...claiming my sister as my wife.."

I hope she had a say in this ancient Appalachian practice.

Nice to know Hill people are getting out.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how contributing a little too much causes you to lose part of the employer match. Seems to me if you've contributed the maximum (or a little more) that you're allowed, then LANS will have matched up to their maximum allowable contribution too (but they don't match the part that goes beyond your maximum allowable contribution).

What am I missing?

Anonymous said...

"...Holy Christ!! What has this blog become... PhD automatically qualifies you as an "official asshole," but this is ridiculous..."

Hey, a little less coffee, Pancho.

Anonymous said...

"The "over limit" monies are earmarked as already have paid taxes and are done so for the life of the account."

Once you mix tax-deferred and taxable contributions in ANY of your retirement accounts (401(k), DC after-tax, etc.) you'll have the pleasure of filling out IRS Form 8606 every year to account for the two "pots". From what I've read, it's a big PITA. The only way out of having to fill out 8606 forever (that I know of) is to eventually convert all of your retirement accounts to a Roth IRA and pay the taxes. Or you can wait until all your retirement accounts are expended. Unfortunately, nowadays, that could be sooner than you think.

Anonymous said...

2/23/08 3:56 PM, say you make $100K and want to contribute the IRS maximum of $15500. That's 15.5% of your salary, but you have to choose an integer percentage, so you choose 16%.

Your biweekly paycheck is $3846.15 gross, so your 401(k) contribution is $615.38 per paycheck. LANS applies its "up to 6%" match against each contribution, for $230.76.

At $615.38 per paycheck you'll hit the IRS max at 25.18 pay periods. After your 25th paycheck you'll only have $115.50 to go.

So for your 26th paycheck, you'll only be contributing $115.50, which is 3% of your salary. LANS will match the 3%, so for that month you've lost $115.26 in potential matching contributions.

If there's 27 pay periods, you lose another $230.76 of match on the final paycheck. It's not a lot of money, but it's really baffling why LANS is unwilling to solve this problem by allowing employees to contribute non-integer percentages to their 401(k)s.

Anonymous said...

How is this a problem for LANS?

Anonymous said...

"It's not a lot of money, but it's really baffling why LANS is unwilling to solve this problem by allowing employees to contribute non-integer percentages to their 401(k)s."

All you've got to do is log onto Fidelity and notch your contribution down by one percentage point "x" number of paychecks before the end of the year to keep from going over and missing a little match. Why is this so difficult?

Anonymous said...

I talked to Fidelity about the "fixed percentage" issue. The lady on the phone claimed that she services many other companies that have a fixed sum contribution. So again, we are facing the same inconsiderate and callous behavior that terminated Calamos that had a high Morningstar rating, with a new fund that has no Morningstar rating.

Anonymous said...

Good to hear what this certified letter is. Now I just have to take the time off and go to the post office to sign for it. Couldn't this have been handed to me at work?

Anonymous said...

2/24/08 2:05 PM


How much of the day did it take you to figure this out bilking ( yes bilking) some project out of its funding to cover your time (plus overhead)?

Anonymous said...

"All you've got to do is log onto Fidelity and notch your contribution down by one percentage point "x" number of paychecks before the end of the year to keep from going over and missing a little match. Why is this so difficult?
2/24/08 4:27 PM"

One would have to design IRS forms to think the LANS solution is reasonable. Rather than fixing their program to take out the correct amount, they'll have all of the affected employees log into Fidelity on company time to change their contribution percent. And yes, on company time -- doing legwork for payroll and benefits is completely legit.

This inefficiency, or perhaps indifference, might have been understandable from good old UC, a non-profit that was obviously grossly underpaid for managing LANL, given the amount of the current contract. But from the legendary EFFICIENCY of a for-profit corporation? lol They should make a charge code for this nonsense and take it out of Mikey's bonus.

Please remember how much you liked this type of solution, as you fill out IRS worksheets for your taxes. Or will you use a software package and just cross your fingers and hope that it was written by people who actually care about quality and usability?

Anonymous said...

2/24/08 4:27 PM, Gee, I don't know. It's EASY. But I'm having so damn much fun getting my p-card audited, and learning about my organization's EMS goals and commitments, and getting my SAA pre-inspected before the NMED inspection, and trying to get my travel reimbursed before the collection agency sends "Guido" to my doorstep to collect payments on my travel card...

I'm just afraid in this atmosphere of general frivolity, I might FORGET to adjust my 401(k) deduction. God forbid LANS makes anything convenient for employees.

Anonymous said...

9:32 PM -

The 24th was a Sunday, you righteous little prick.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking at the LANL calendar and I count the usual 26 paydays this year. It looks like, as is often the case on the blog, that there has been a lot of blabbing over nothing.

Anonymous said...

The post at 2/21/08 1:00 PM provides the reference to the 27 paydays. You can access old LINKS from the Newsbulletin homepage.