May 14, 2008
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.