Jun 24, 2008

Director speaks to Laboratory workforce on Thursday

Laboratory Director Michael Anastasio is holding an all-employee meeting at 10:30 a.m. Thursday (June 26) at the National Security Sciences Building.

Anastasio will talk about the Laboratory's accomplishments during the second year of management and operations of the Laboratory by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, and talk about the outlook for the future.

The talk also can be viewed on LABNET Channel 9. Employees can watch in auditoriums or conference rooms with LABNET capability, and on desktop computers using Real Media Stream and IPTV technology.

The NSSB is now Q-cleared only. Click here to see the Security Smart on access requirements for the NSSB.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

No pit production and no plans for pit production. In a way that's not news at all.

Anonymous said...

Only things I want to hear are the status of TCP1 and when's the next rif?

Anonymous said...

All I want to hear is that Wallace is no longer PADSTE and his idiot ADs have been replaced with competent leaders.

Anonymous said...

Something for the DOE to consider as LANS finalizes Phase 2 of the salary management process for scientists... if they get it wrong, they will be helping to exacerbate a serious brain drain that is occurring within the US military industrial complex (read below).

www.iht.com/articles/
2008/06/24/america/engineer.php

===============================
High-technology brain drain takes heavy toll on U.S. military projects
===============================
By Philip Taubman, International Herald Tribune
Published: June 24, 2008

When Paul Kaminski completed his graduate work in 1971 with degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford, he started building advanced airplanes for the U.S. Air Force. By the time he stopped several decades later, he had played a pivotal role in producing a flock of new weapons, including radar-evading stealth aircraft.

If Kaminski were coming out of a university today, chances are that he would be going to work for the likes of Microsoft or Google.

Over the past decade, as spending on new military projects has reached its highest level since the Reagan years, the Pentagon has increasingly been losing the people most skilled at managing them. That brain drain, military experts like Kaminski say, is a big factor in a breakdown in engineering management that has made huge cost overruns and long delays the maddening norm.

Kaminski's generation of engineers, which was responsible for many of the most successful military projects of the 1970s and '80s, is aging. But declining numbers of top young engineers, software developers and mathematicians are replacing them. Instead, they are joining high-tech companies and other civilian organizations that provide not just better pay than the military or its contractors, but also greater cachet - what one former defense industry engineer called "geek credit."

Precise numbers are scarce, but one measure of this shift can be found at the air force: As a result of budget cuts, the demands of fighting two wars and the difficulty of recruiting and retaining top engineers, officials say, the number of civilian and uniformed engineers on the air force's core acquisition staff has been reduced by 35 to 40 percent over the past 14 years.

The downsizing "has taken a toll in our inability to refresh our aging acquisition workforce," said the air force's engineering chief, Jon Ogg.

Anonymous said...

We'll be told by Mike that things are getting better and better at LANL. The future looks bright with LANS at the helm.

Roadrunner has been a terrific success. MaRIE is causing lots of excitement within DOE. The CMR is being built on schedule and our accident and security infraction rates are down. NNSA is please with these trends.

Please work harder, Mike will say, even though he will neglect to tell everyone that you'll soon be doing it for less pay and cuts to your benefits.

We'll probably hear something along the lines of "No RIFs planned right now, but I can't predict the future."

Oh, and Mike will want to thank the staff for helping him and his wealthy PADs/ADs get their fat 20% bonus checks this year... suckers!

Anonymous said...

"Only things I want to hear are the status of TCP1 and when's the next rif?" - 9:23 PM

(1) The status of TCP1 is awful. You're going to soon need to contribute around 15% of your salary to keep it afloat. Oh, and that salary is also headed sharply downward due to high inflation rates.

(2) The next RIF will start soon after President Obama discloses his budget around March of '09. It will be clear from this budget that drastic downsizing is quickly required. There will be no St. Pete coming to LANL's rescue.

Anonymous said...

Too bad the article posted by 11 am fails to mention the large downsizing of the engineering workforce after Vietnam and the end of Apollo in the early 70s, as well as the large downsizing in the defense industry workforce as part of the "Peace Dividend" in the early 90s. I imagine there was some "brain drain" during these times.

The article also fails to mention any substantive increase in salary as an incentive to get more engineers.

Since "precise numbers are scarce", I'm willing to conclude the problem isn't at the critical point yet.

My young friends tell me the starting salary for lawyers at larger firms ~$145-150k/yr. Not bad for 3 years of grad school and being in your mid-20s. Also roughly a 50-50 male/female student split in law school.

Anecdotally, my faculty friends tell me they are swamped with foreign applicants from China and India for engineering grad school - not so many from US students.

Not to worry, the H1B list seems to fill up pretty quickly. It will likely fill quickly as well if (when) the limit doubles.

Anonymous said...

10:17pm: Sorry bub. The only way you'll hear that is after smoking something that would fail you on your next drug test. Given the direction things are going, future leaders will probably continue to get worse, and eventually you'll look back on the days of Terry with fondness.

greg close said...

6/24/08 11:44 PM
On what facts do you base this very ill-informed statement?

"(1) The status of TCP1 is awful. You're going to soon need to contribute around 15% of your salary to keep it afloat... "

The fact is, right now you have no way of knowing this. Please find out before trying to panic people - there is a fine line between frustration/venting and irresponsible statements.

When the SAR is released, know your rights to information and exercise them and THEN make comments based on actual data.

I can tell you that as of our last official report on the status of the pension Trust, it was fully funded. Whether there is some future funding required - either by the employer or employee or both - remains to be seen. If it is passed along to employees as a flat 15% contribution requirement, I will sing the Love Boat theme naked on LabNet.

I am confident that both of those events are about equally unlikely...

gsclose@lanl.gov

Anonymous said...

"There will be no St. Pete coming to LANL's rescue."

Oh pulleeeeez! St. Pete is like the pusher supplying the addict. He may relieve the pain for the moment, but eventually the addict is going to die from his addiction. Just like the Lab's addiction to nuclear funding at a time when the needs of the nation have shifted dramatically. Pusher Pete really did us no favors.

Anonymous said...

This image of Mike Anastasio is from LLNL. (AnastasioLLNL.jpg(image).)

(The official image of Mike Anastasio from LANL is: www.lanl.gov/news/albums/people/anastasio_michael.sized.jpg).)

Anonymous said...

Just in case, here are the lyrics.

The Love Boat

Love, exciting and new
Come Aboard. We're expecting you.
Love, life's sweetest reward.
Let it flow, it floats back to you.
The Love Boat soon will be making another run
The Love Boat promises something for everyone
Set a course for adventure,
Your mind on a new romance.
Love won't hurt anymore
It's an open smile on a friendly shore.
Yes LOVE! It's LOVE!
Love Boat soon will be making another run
The Love Boat promises something for everyone
Set a course for adventure,
Your mind on a new romance.
Love won't hurt anymore
It's an open smile on a friendly shore.
It's LOVE! It's LOVE! It's LOVE!
It's the Love Boat-ah! It's the Love Boat-ah!

Anonymous said...

Greg:

Thank you, your comments are right on. You notice that the comments after yours do not address any specific comments, which makes me seem, they were inaccurate in the first place.

I agree that LANL may be in for some troubling times, but we have been there before and have always met the challange.

Anonymous said...

I'd give 15% of ONE paycheck just to see that Greg.

Anonymous said...

"If it is passed along to employees as a flat 15% contribution requirement, I will sing the Love Boat theme naked on LabNet."

Now if some of the managers around here would make commitments like that to back up their words, this would be a better place. I love it.

Anonymous said...

Okay now, Mikey naked is not something I need to see or know about - I don't care what he's singing or what gifts (?!) he's baring. I've seen those Ewoks in the movies and they don't wear a lot of clothes. Plus I don't like the way he's smiling. >shudder<

Anonymous said...

I recall in the segal analysis of ucrp during the transition that the actuarial value of the plan was stated as 14 to 16% of compensation. tcp1 has the same age factors etc so I imagine this number is closefor tcp1. UC is now putting the dcp into ucrp, and the next step is employer contributions. Usually this is split between employer/employee i.e. DOE and your check so he is not going to do any love boat dance. Also I recall that in the ucrp to lans transition tcp1 was not fully funded by the $ transfer... so I am surprised if it is fully funded now as our HR fellow says. That would be good news. Liabilities have probably grown in the last two years and net return on a balanced portfolio is probably single digits.

This is all academic to me, I went with tcp2 on the advice of people on their transition hotline (this is not a joke, it is true) and my financial advisor.

Anonymous said...

So, did anything spectacular happen? - outrageous claims, critical questions, more than 15 people attending, defacement of the director?

Anonymous said...

Where there any questions about daycare?

Anonymous said...

Where does LANL go from here after the presentation today?

Anonymous said...

So we have bigger and better computers and accelerators. Unfortunately, the quality scientists who may have benefited from this have already left...

Anonymous said...

DAMN, I'm glad I didn't buy a house. $500,000-> $10. Too bad the people in this town are such assholes, otherwise I might feel bad for their suffering.

Anonymous said...

Anyone remember Tyler Przybylek? He was that smooth-talking NNSA lawyer who came to town before the LANS hand-over took place. He came to assure everyone at LANL that we had little to loose in the LLC changeover. We'll, it looks like smooth-talking Mr. Przybylek has just taken a lucrative position with one of NNSA's biggest contractors. Tyler is leaving the NNSA fold and has been hired to the board of Pro2Serve, the company which handles security at NNSA facilities, including LANL. You can read about it in the article below from Knox News. I believe Tyler was also the man who NNSA designated to make the final decision on a winner in the "for-profit" LLC competition at LLNL.

What lucrative position will NNSA head honcho Tom D'Agostino be getting from the grateful NNSA contractors? Will he end up being a highly paid VP at Bechtel, or will he decide to go with BWXT? Both of these companies owe him big time, since Tom was the man who single-handedly decided which bid would win the "for-profit" LLC competition at LANL.

Follow the money if you want to fully grasp what has been going on with NNSA and the "for-profit" LLCs.

Are you listening, Mr. Congressman?


blogs.knoxnews.com/
knx/munger/2008/06/advice_for_a_price.html

-----------------------------
Advice for a Price - Frank Munger, Knox News, June 23, 2008
-----------------------------

Tyler Przybylek, former chief counsel at DOE's Oak Ridge Operations who later moved to bigger things at NNSA (serving as chief operating officer and playing key roles in contract rebids at Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore), has been hired as an advisor to the board of directors at Pro2Serve.

"In this capacity, Mr. Przybylek will provide strategic guidance to Pro2Serve's board and corporate leadership as it continues to expand its role in providing critical infrastructure engineering services in support of national security," the Oak Ridge-based company said in a press release.

In other words, he's been hired to help them win more contracts.

-----------------------------

Anonymous said...

Other than the overseers who are only concerned about their bonuses, I don't think that the employees care much anymore. They have become calloused and numbed by all of the nonsense and abuse and are just putting in their time until retirement.

It is hard to believe how rapidly and severely bad management can degrade an organization.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Tyler the one who got most everybody to believe that the DOE guarantees the TCP1 pension benefits? Truth is DOE only guarantees reimbursing LANS for any extra expenses it has, screw the employees! It also seems LANS is ignoring the federal law that requires specific annual statements to pension plan (e.g. TCP1) participants. Over two years now and no statements yet. It sure would be interesting to see what 'expenses' LANS is draining from the pension fund.

Anonymous said...

"I don't think that the employees care much anymore. They have become calloused and numbed by all of the nonsense and abuse and are just putting in their time until retirement." (4:57 AM)

How true. Thing is, the massive cuts that are soon coming LANL's way are going to cause radical modifications to a lot of these retirement plans.

Domenici threw out a figure of 2,000 layoffs the other day and he may not be very far off the mark. These layoffs will likely hit shortly after the FY09 budget is rolled out next Spring by the new Congress.

It's been clear for a couple of years now that Congress wants big cuts at LANL. Next year will be their chance to actually "get 'er done", now that St. Pete is out of the picture.

Anonymous said...

So, I guess nobody at LANL attended Mike's All-Hands or bothered to watch it on the boob tube? Maybe they were all busy polishing up their resumes?

Anonymous said...

> Tyler is leaving the NNSA fold and
> has been hired to the board of
> Pro2Serve

Well, darn. I was hoping that you were going to say the Tyler P. left the NNSA fold to take on a position as a short-order cook for Aramark.

Anonymous said...

Domenici's clout is no longer, I think that this year we could get cut extremely deep. If not, then watch out for FY 10 the end of the line for LANL as we know it. You/we have all been warned!! No whinning, if you chose to stay and work amongst the Stressed out, burnt out and demoralized, then you do so at your own peril.

greg close said...

Re: 6/27/08 8:53 AM

I can't believe we're treading this ground again, but - here's the link to the first Summary Annual Report, as required by Law (http://www.lanl.gov/worklife/benefits/pdfs/summary2007_dbpp.pdf). As I have stated earlier, this one doesn't provide much useful information, since it covers that period of the plan before assets were fully transferred over from UCRP (which didn't occur until Spring 2007). Regardless, it's what the law requires, states your right to additional information, how to request it, and it's been there for a while now (and was announced when posted, I believe in LINKS).

The next Summary Annual Report is required to be out (more or less) by the end of the year, and last I was updated we see no reason that we won't make the deadline.

Here are the reporting requirements, for your reference:
http://www.dol.gov/dol/allcfr/EBSA/Title_29/Part_2520/29CFR2520.104b-10.htm
Since there was confusion last time around, I'll remind everyone that there are different requirements for Summary Plan Descriptions and Summary Annual Reports, so make sure you are referencing the right subsection of ERISA before commenting.

This was covered in multiple posts under a previous thread (check out the CPD Phase 2 thread).

As always, I welcome any direct questions about our ERISA requirements and our compliance thereof. Any answer I don't know I'll verify with our Pension Plans Administrator.

Thanks,
Greg
gsclose@lanl.gov

Anonymous said...

Mikey announced Doug Beason is stepping down to focus on his writing career. An exhaustive national search will be conducted, which will determine that the best replacement is DADTR Mike Burns. The transition will be seamless, considering that Burns is already running ADTR.

Sadly, Mikey announced that he is proud to be our Director and has no plans for a plan to leave the Laboratory.

Anonymous said...

so, did no-one actually go to this? I did hear that MA announced Doug Beason's departure, but otherwise there has been little traffic on what was actually said...

greg close said...

Oh... just one more thing, if it eases concerns about this statement: "It sure would be interesting to see what 'expenses' LANS is draining from the pension fund."

"LANS" is 'draining' nothing from the pension fund. It's held in Trust (note the capital "T"). Anything paid out of the trust must be for eligible plan expenses - i.e. not for the S.S. Bechtel or Executive Vacation Fund; but paying participants, fees, etc.

I can't even illegally siphon enough money from TCP1 for a new coffee pot...

gsclose@lanl.gov

Anonymous said...

So how are other's TPC2 401k investments doing these days?

Mine continues to drop with near negative YTD rate of returns.

Using the old excel spreadsheet that was around at transition I just ran some numbers - 1% return for the 401k, with a 6% employee salary contribution matched by LANS... my TPC2/UC Pension combo is coming up 48% less than TPC1 alone for my planned age 60 retirement. My monthly retirement goal is 75% of final salary; TPC1 came in at 108% of the goal, and TPC2/UC was 64%.

So much for betting on the market...

Anonymous said...

6/27/08 3:31 PM ..."Sadly, Mikey announced that he is proud to be our Director and has no plans for a plan to leave the Laboratory."

Really, do you blame him? He gets a shitload of money - granted salary is only about 350K but the bonuses are where all the perks are at- he is hardly here spending most of his time at LLNL, AND he hardly has to talk to first line managers and then refuses to hear about any problems. Lots of money and no accountability - sounds like a great job if you can get it.

Anonymous said...

5:28, sounds like you might not be retiring at 60...I suspect many people will be working longer than they initially planned.

Anonymous said...

"..granted salary is only about 350K"

Mikey makes far more than $350K in base salary. A salary of $350K is more in line with what his PADs are making before their 20% bonus.

As far as working past 60 at LANL, I wouldn't count on it unless you're one of the lucky people in upper management. From the looks of the layoffs at LLNL, it appears the the "for-profit" LLCs are targeting the age 50+, 20+ years of service employees when they construct RIF lists. Of the 150 scientists laid off at LLNL, 110 of them met this criteria.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why a "for-profit" management company would decide to target this particular group.

Anonymous said...

Incorrect 12:38. Mikey's base salary is in the mid-300's. Mike Mallory's is in the mid-400's, presumably a souvenir he carried in from PX.

Anonymous said...

A bit off topic but I ran across this little excerpt in the April 2008 UC Regents meeting minutes posted on their website... The end of the 2nd sentence in the 1st paragraph leaves no doubt where we are all headed....

-------
Regent Bugay asked how the University Auditor’s role has changed with the University’s changed relationship to the national laboratories. Mr. Reed [University Auditor] responded that the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore laboratories, now LLCs, are not part of the UC audit plan, and their auditors do not report to him, but to Bechtel. He and Vice President Broome serve on the audit committees of the LLCs and thus maintain some contact. The Lawrence Berkeley laboratory is included in the audit plan just as the campuses are. Mr. Reed stated that the time he spends on the LLCs is nominal.

General Counsel Robinson observed that the University’s representatives on the LLCs have responsibilities including receiving previous audit reports and assurance that controls are in place. Vice President Broome pointed out that the University’s [LLC] business partner also engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), so that there has been continuity of PwC knowledge and staff. PwC carries out special procedures at the LLCs which are almost like a full scope audit. Ms. Broome stressed that the UC representatives monitor the LLCs closely, because the University’s name is still associated with them.

Regent Bugay stated that the University’s new relationship with the laboratories is not widely understood, and that publicity about an event would be associated with UC in media accounts. Mr. Reed reported that the audit committees of the LLCs are functioning well. There are frequent substantive meetings.

In response to a question asked by Committee Chair Ruiz, Chief Compliance and Audit Officer Vacca stated that problems or issues would be reported to the LLC board. Mr. Reed clarified that the auditors of those laboratories do not contact him; instead, their concerns move through the LLC channels.

----

Anonymous said...

To 8:28 PM - our friends in HR will fix this problem with the new job structure/salary alignment process.

Anonymous said...

"Mr. Przybylek has just taken a lucrative position with one of NNSA's biggest contractors."

Why not? Richie Marquez taught his boy well, didn't he? Screw the pooch, then move on. That should be the DOE/NNSA slogan. The pooch is the taxpayer of course, and the revolving door between the DOE/NNSA and the contractors it's supposed to be regulating (ha!) is the "move on." Marquez and his cronies are simply doing what they do best. Sticking it to the pooch. So why not just grin an bear it, Rover.

Anonymous said...

The information content of the latest All-Hands was almost non-existent. Why bother to even have one if you have nothing to really say to the employees?

And the questions that were asked at the end? Not a single one was especially relevant to the hard times that LANL is facing from Congress.

What's happening to this place? I can hardly recognize it any longer.

Anonymous said...

"Marquez and his cronies are simply doing what they do best. Sticking it to the pooch. So why not just grin an bear it, Rover. - 6/29/08 9:55 PM"

Marquez has the ways of a "cool cat". He can land on his feet no matter which way he is tossed. Don't look for him and his cronies to go away. There are still too many plums to pluck at LANL...cherries too, eh Richie?