May 14, 2008

LANL to Run Support Services

By Raam Wong
Albuquerque Journal Staff Writer

Los Alamos National Laboratory is preparing to take over most of the work now done by KSL Services, the lab's largest subcontractor.

LANL hopes to offer employment to many of KSL's 876 employees and does not expect major job losses, spokesman Kevin Roark said Tuesday. The transition should be complete by the time KSL's contract expires at the end of this year, he said.

The decision to "in-source" KSL's work— ranging from building maintenance to trash collection and road repair— means the lab will be without a site support services contractor for likely the first time in its history.

"It's a business decision," Roark said.

Lab officials said in a memorandum to employees that the change would cut overhead costs, improve efficiencies and free up resources for improving facilities and science capabilities.

Still, the memo states, "we do not underestimate the scale or challenge involved in moving to a new arrangement."

KSL has held its five-year, nearly $800 million contract since February 2003 when it replaced Johnson Controls Northern New Mexico. The contract had the option of five single-year extensions.

Roark said the decision to assume KSL's responsibilities was unrelated to a Department of Energy investigation in October 2007 that found KSL routinely overcharged for its work, with taxpayers picking up the multimillion-dollar tab.

KSL billed taxpayers for work not done and materials not needed, and often charged more than 20 percent above the original cost estimate.

Roark said the problems revealed in the DOE Inspector General report have long been resolved.

Activist Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group praised the change. Mello said shifting responsibility for maintenance and other work from a subcontractor to the contractor that manages the lab would amount to increased accountability, more transparency and job security for maintenance employees.

KSL is a joint venture of KBR, Shaw Group and Los Alamos Technical Associates. KBR— the former Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root— is the majority owner and manager of KSL.

Roark said KSL will not have a role at the lab after 2008, though he said LANL will still use contractors.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Lab officials said in a memorandum to employees that the change would cut overhead costs, improve efficiencies and free up resources for improving facilities and science capabilities."

And Greg Mello supports it. When was the last time Mello and Lab Management were on the same page?

Now I *know* this is going to be a train wreck.

Anonymous said...

"Roark said the decision to assume KSL's responsibilities was unrelated to a Department of Energy investigation in October 2007 that found KSL routinely overcharged for its work, with taxpayers picking up the multimillion-dollar tab.

KSL billed taxpayers for work not done and materials not needed, and often charged more than 20 percent above the original cost estimate."

What a lie. LANS has figured out how to keep money in house, and overcharges for any service will be hidden from investigation since there will be no way to track them. Money will go from one pocket to another, out of sight of the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Well of course Mello agrees with dumping KSL. You see, the K in KSL is KBR, "the former Haliburton subsidiary" that is the majority owner and manager of KSL.

Halliburton taint. Dick Cheney probably personally ordered them to overcharge for services not performed, etc.

Anonymous said...

It's great to see KSL finally kicked out of LANL but there is a bigger story beneath the surface. KSL was kicked out because Bechtel was jeaolous of them and saw a great opportunity to milk the maintenance budget at LANL.

Expect to see an influx of Bechtel maintenance new hires brought on board by LANS over the next year to handle this work. Costs for maintenance work at LANL will not be going down. Of that you can be sure.

Bringing in additional employees under the LANS umbrella will also mean bigger layoffs of the permanent staff in future years. This decision flies in the face of the SSP layoff exercise that was just done at LANL.

Hello? Anybody home? Are the employees at LANL paying attention to all the stuff that is happening around them?

Mike "My Shit Don't Stink" Anastasio said...

Dear LANS employees: I am writing to address the rumor that the steaming pile of manure at the entrance to the security checkpoints is the new LANS logo.

This is incorrect. The pile of manure is intended to represent the opinion that I, as well as my trusted PAD's and AD's, hold of the many hardworking employees who make LANL great. As you drive by on your morning commute, please take a moment to breathe in the scent of the manure pile, and imagine it nourishing your souls. May it serve as a daily reminder of the high regard we hold for you, our valued staff.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if the lab will try to bypass the trade unions KSL currently has to deal with? There could be a whole new comedy about to unfold here.

Anonymous said...

They are dumping crafts and trades as fast as possible and replacing them with contractors at LLNL while the opposite is happening at LANL. Both claim to reduce overhead.

I need another drink.

Anonymous said...

This will surely become to be a circus. LANS hopes to save $$ by this move, well, I give them (1) one year and I'll bet this proves to cost more than it saves. (wanna bet?) Not to mention the lack of services.

Anonymous said...

What will 800 plus employess'do to our already bloated over-head? This conversion will not have any value-added, why not hire a competent contractor to replace KSL?

Anonymous said...

"..why not hire a competent contractor to replace KSL?" - 5/14/08 8:39 PM


Are you kidding me? This is LANS we are speaking about here.

Hiring a competent contractor to handle lab maintenance at lower cost would be too logical. No, instead Mikey and his pals will bring it all in-house and then later use the big run up in costs as an excuse to get rid of more scientists at LANL. They want to accelerate the coming of the Big Layoff that awaits us.

The longer I watch these LANS folks, the more convinced I have become that they are hostile to good science at LANL and secretly wish to smother it so that the lab can become a profitable production and clean-up facility largely run by and for the corporate partners (Bechtel, BWXT, and Washington Group).

Seen in this context, bringing the maintenance work in-house makes perfect sense.

Anonymous said...

Isn't "competent contractor" an oxymoron?

Anonymous said...

LANS intend to do to KSL what it has done to the rest of the Lab.....God help us all!

Eric said...

A small thought.

Why would any subcontractor choose to work for the Lab or bid on Lab RFPs if the Lab is likely to throw the subcontractor out and hire all of their former employees.

What business would want a customer that routinely destroys the businesses that contract to it?

The only viable business model that comes to mind is a business that has a few core employees who stay from job to job and location to location and lots of disposable 'temporary' employees.

Any comments?

Anonymous said...

10:31 has analyzed this correctly. Having worked for a big contractor that ran SRL, I have seen exactly this practice before, many times. The standard practice was to move corporate people who were not working productively (business down) over to that lab for a few years, then pull them out again when they swag another big project. Kept them on the payroll, on a less profitable but still paying contract. They learned the gov'ment way to do work, which usually did more harm to the corporation, but that was a risk they took. With new construction and building in a slump right now (except in Iraq), this is a great opportunity for them.

KSL is, as we know, offshoot of KBR, which is offshoot of a competitor of Bechtel in the contruction biz. It made no sense for them to continue paying this company to do grunt work at LANL, when they could use the lab as a buffer like this.

We should expect to see not only some of the KSL folks returning with LANS jobs (once they have sworn off allegance to their old corporation) but also some new faces around here, from Bechtel. More clipboard-holders standing by every crafts job?

This isn't likely a cost savings, but it is a way to store workers from corporate. Surprised it took this long for them to start it.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine LANS doing their own maintenance/repair and support services? This is not a laboratory anymore, it has turned into a large burden on the tax payers. It has become obvious that LANS has been told by Congress that their will be massive cuts in the next few years, they (LANS) is trying to survive by cutting everthing they can think of with out regard to the consequences. (And Max Baker is running around telling us that Los Alamos is here to stay) Yea Max for at least another year or two.

Anonymous said...

LANS has turned this Laboratory upside down and backwards in their failed attempt to make a go of it. Well friends as you can see the data coming in regarding the management is not looking too good. The new Dem. Congress looks like it will have full power to cut the living hell out of the labs, without Domenici to pull the puse strings we are in deep shit. The KSL change over is just the latest indicator of another failed mission. We are reaching the end.

Anonymous said...

LANS is hiring a growing number of Bechtel managers who worked out at NTS before Bechtel lost the NTS contract. It seems that many of these former NTS-based Bechtel managers are now being "parked" here at LANL as new hires. Poster 7:34 AM has it right. Bechtel is using LANL as a holding tank for their managers that loose position at other NNSA facilities.

Don't expect the same courtesy from Bechtel, however, when long term former UC staff get laid off during the coming NNSA downsizing exercises. These Bechtel Boys know where their loyalty lies and it is not with LANL.

Anonymous said...

You lanl boys have it dead on about RECHTEL, here at LLNL they have been playing hide and seek with maintenance budget and driving the over head cost up by transfering in their buddys from other NNSA sites. My groups hourly rate went from $65hr pre-transition to $125hr post-transition and with next weeks 535+ eployees leaving the rates will go up again.

Anonymous said...

5/16/08 7:34 AM:
This isn't likely a cost savings, but it is a way to store workers from corporate. Surprised it took this long for them to start it.

Bechtel folks have been working this KSL angle since the first day. What does this tell you: (1) it did take them 2 years to get this done and (2) LANS, I mean Bechtel, will keep all of the profit that was going to KSL. This move has everything to do with getting more profit in its pockets - nothing else. Why give anyone else a piece of the pie if you can have the whole pie yourself.

Another big driver is that LANS committed to procuring 50% of its $ from small businesses. By cancelling its largest contract with a large business, guess what, the contracting pool just got alot smaller which means more profit for LANS because they can now meet its 50% goal. Now what if LANS management would use that type of devious thinking to more practical manners, such as employee morale, hmmm. But hey, employee morale does not create more fee/profit for LANS.

Anonymous said...

yeah, but ksl was anything but competent, honest, and legal

Anonymous said...

I'm happy to provide gross details on people places, and times of gross waste, fraud,abuse, and downright criminal activity.

I guess I would need to refer to it as IMO? Advice?

Anonymous said...

Seems like Pinky does not post all comments.


Ok, alternate route

Anonymous said...

so, no outing the real criminals?

Frank Young said...

"I'm happy to provide gross details on people places, and times of gross waste, fraud,abuse, and downright criminal activity.

"I guess I would need to refer to it as IMO? Advice?"


The most anonymous way to expose those details on the blog is to send them as a comment, although if you email me I can help you compose a top level post. I will reveal neither your name nor email address.

"Seems like Pinky does not post all comments."

I do reject some comments. If I knew which comment you refer to I could tell you why. It is also possible that I never saw your comment and therefore could not approve it. I'm stumped because I'm not aware of any comments that were rejected recently. If your comment contained no profanity please send it again.

Anonymous said...

Hey how about the "new" story regarding the CMMR building. The Albq.Journal reported that the funding has jumped from the initial 500 million, at it's inception to nearly 2.5 Billion (Yep thats Billion with a B) as of today. Congress is getting ready to vote to pull the funding for the entire project, now that the RRW is dead. Oh no! Now we can really began to panic for real.

Anonymous said...

From 7:57 ..."The Albq.Journal reported that the funding has jumped from the initial 500 million, at it's inception to nearly 2.5 Billion (Yep thats Billion with a B) as of today."

Gee, I would think that Congress would tell NNSA to take it out of the Rectal bonuses and fees ...

Anonymous said...

"frank" if that is really your name. You cancel any comment that offends your silly anti- lanl bullshit agenda. You are no different from Chris Mechels and your agenda is the same. You claim you have been contaminated. How about some evidence? Of course you have none.

Anonymous said...

WOW!!!

You people are more dumb than I thought! The reason LANS took over the KSL contract is to eliminate the double dippers and comatractors contracting LONG-TERM. Get it, You will no longer be allowed to contract for mor than one yars! Also, the contractor will make less now under LANS and all contractors pay will be cut down alot! Get USED IT!

Anonymous said...

Wow where did 7:12 come from the fucking moon? Why don't you go back to sleep.

Frank Young said...

Maybe he came from Baghdad.

Anonymous said...

7:12 is just plain stupid. Nuff zed.

Any follow up on the whistleblowers et. al. and their situation?

Anonymous said...

I get the feeling that someone's life is about to suck - it is time to pay the bill.

The misdirection to the criminal endeavors worked well eh. Turn your self in, or it will be done for you.

Frank Young said...

Sorry, I've been out of the loop for a few days. Which whistleblowers?

Anonymous said...

They have some time before their hand is dealt for them. The worst bet, would be to have the hand dealt for them. The worst part will be the egg on the face of the FBI.

Anonymous said...

How can the DOE allow this?
Didn't LANS just get a grade of
D for management?

Anonymous said...

How can the DOE allow this? - 8:17 AM

"It's a business decision," Roark said.

There, Roark has just answered your question for you. It's just business. As in a big, corrupt, stinking business decision custom made to benefit Bechtel's huge appetite for milking the crap out of LANL.

Any more questions?

Anonymous said...

"Can you imagine LANS doing their own maintenance/repair and support services? This is not a laboratory anymore, it has turned into a large burden on the tax payers. It has become obvious that LANS has been told by Congress that their will be massive cuts in the next few years, they (LANS) is trying to survive by cutting everthing they can think of with out regard to the consequences. (And Max Baker is running around telling us that Los Alamos is here to stay) Yea Max for at least another year or two. 5/16/08 9:17 AM"

Can you spell Marteen Aguilera? He's in charge of maintenance. Remember the custodial fiasco from a year ago? Staff hauls their own garbage to the community dumbster.

Anonymous said...

"Any more questions? 5/19/08 11:00 AM"

You forgot to include "FatCat" in Rechtel's best attributes.

Anonymous said...

LANS just got rid of over 500 LANL permanent staff using the January SSP because they said we needed to reduce our LANL permanent employee head count, yet now they want to bring in over 800 former KSL employees as LANL permanent staff? This will entail big increases in LANL's medical costs and the TCP2 6% employer match, both of which come directly out of our shrinking operating budget.

Add to this, the fact that Congress just zeroed out $66 million for the RRW program and killed any further funding for the GNEP program. It also appears that Congress is getting ready to kill any further funding for LANL's CMRR construction, so all those new Bechtel construction managers that LANS recently hired won't be needed for much longer.

I'm perplexed by all this stuff. We kick out the good scientists who bring in funding and replace them with a huge increase in support workers who generate no income. Our budget is headed south, yet LANS is eager to add more permanent staff. And this, coming only months after pleading with permanent employees to accept the SSP buyout and leave!

You almost get the feeling that LANS has some kind of death wish for LANL. It's perverse, is it not?

Anonymous said...

"You almost get the feeling that LANS has some kind of death wish for LANL. It's perverse, is it not?" - 5/19/08 10:04 PM

It's called gross incompetence. LANS is an expert at it.

Anonymous said...

LANL runs an outrageous manager-to-staff ratio of about 1:5. Therefore, bringing in over 800 new employees to the LANL fold will allow Bechtel to bring in over 150 of their managers onto the LANL payroll. That's the whole basis to this KSL deal, to flood LANL with more Bechtel management.

Look, it should be very clear by now that LANS doesn't give a rat's ass about the operating budget or the cost of doing science at LANL. It's all about benefiting the corporate partners. That's what LANS' version of "corporatization" is all about.

Anonymous said...

With over 150 new Bechtel managers coming into town, I'll finally have a chance to unload my over-priced Los Alamos home and move to a more sane and secure job.

Whoppeeeee!!!!! I'm outta here!