Jun 13, 2008

CPD Phase 2

Pinky,
Since everyone's depressed and angry already, this might be a good time to post some current info on CPD Phase 2. This comes from a briefing that is marked "not a finalized product" so YMMV.
-Anonymous


For the R&D Engineers and Scientists there are six proposed levels with the following descriptors and salary bands:

Level 1 "Assists": Entry Level
Approximate Estimated Mapping: 20% (includes most postdoc conversions)
Salary band = $69-113K

Level 2 "Performs": Fully-Functioning and Self-Sufficient
Approximate Estimated Mapping: 30%
Salary band = $76-126K

Level 3 "Leads": Advanced/Specialized Technical Leader
Approximate Estimated Mapping: 30%
Salary band = $83-140K

Level 4 "Builds and Develops": Discipline Authority; Laboratory/National Leader
Approximate Estimated Mapping: 16%
Salary band = $101-171K

Level 5 "Inspires": Recognized Authority; International Leader
Approximate Estimated Mapping: <3%
Salary band approximately $120-210K (note that there is no phase 1 job with this exact band, so I am interpolating between two existing levels to arrive at this guess)

Level 6 "Transcends": Recognized, World-Class Authority
Approximate Estimated Mapping: <1%
Salary band: off the chart, exceeds Division Leader salary band.

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is anybody's salary really going to change? I note that the bottom of each pay band is quite low so there should be few if any below their respective minimums. BUT, there may be some above their respective maximum so they would not get raises.

Anonymous said...

Fine, so now what it I do not like the salary band that they put me in?
What can I do?
Is the a mechanism for appeal?
If the classification results in a frozen salary, should I sue the group leader and others?

Of course it is too late to debate this as it appears to be fait accompli, but did anybody consider the cost/benefit of this foolishness?

Anonymous said...

Looks to me with those prescribed salary bands which heavily overlap that the "friends and family plan" will still be allowed and only those people will get the large salary raises. The rest are f*cked.

Anonymous said...

This is just great.
Another nail in the coffin
of LANL. The HR idiots are clearly in charge.

Anonymous said...

It looks like HR will determine researcher pay from this point onward. It's how the new owners from Bechtel Corporate want it to be. In fact, Bechtel was even picked as one of the exemplars to use in the market survey for Phase 2.

If you are a scientist at LANL, please note you are totally F*CKED! There are going to be a lot of TSMs placed into Level 1 & 2 who won't be seeing a pay raise for probably the next 8 or more years. And this with a true rate of inflation running above 8%!

Under LANS leadership, the standard of living for most of the technical staff is about to head downward very quickly. I think there is a message in this Phase 2 exercise. They want the scientific staff to leave. They can't tell you that to your face, but the message is coming in loud and clear.

Anonymous said...

It appears that 80% of the research TSMs of Phase 2 will be in Level 1,2 or 3, and thus held to under $140K in salary for the rest of their careers unless that make the rarefied levels 4, 5, or 6.

A figure of $140 K sound high to some, but LANL has a high cost of living and I doubt these salary bands will be changing very much in future years. They are derived from what LANS is calling "market-driven" surveys, and both LANS and NNSA gets to pick the companies allowed into these surveys.

From the looks of it all, salaries for research positions, the reason why LANL is even here, appear like they will be horribly compressed as the years goes by. Even worse, the Phase 2 CPD lumps almost all LANL's researchers into just 3 levels of salary bounds! If you look over the results for the Phase 1 CPD, you'll see hundred of different job descriptions, each with its own salary band. For example, there are 6 different levels for Construction Managers, each with a different salary band. Why are salary bounds for scientists being bound to such gross levels?

Where are the distinctions given for different areas of research? Is someone doing nuclear research worth the same as someone doing computer science? What does the market say about this position? Is an environmental clean-up researcher worth more, or less, than a physicist? What about someone who holds a Top-Secret clearance and an SCI? In Washington DC, beltway bandits pay about a 30% premium if you hold high level clearances. Were clearances considerations put into this market survey?

There are markets for most of these types of specific technical positions. The compressed 3 level scheme that LANS plans to apply to the majority of LANL scientists makes no differentiation for any of this. In fact, the gross compression of salary bands makes me wonder just what type of salary survey was actually performed. Why were all the various types of scientific positions lumped so crudely together?

Scientists at LANL need to ask some very hard question about this Phase 2 effort. A single meeting on the Phase 2 results has been scheduled for Monday morning, but LANS has done little to announce this meeting. It seems that LANS already considers this whole Phase 2 exercise a done deal.

Anonymous said...

"The HR idiots are clearly in charge."

Actually, it is the idiots at NNSA/HQ. They want a Civil Service structure for the Labs. HR is trying to find middle ground....

Anonymous said...

I read the following into these levels...

=== Most TSM researchers (80%) ===

Level 1 (BS)
Level 2 (MS, or early career Phd)
Level 3 (Phd, may lead a team)

==== LANL "Top Guns" (19 %) ====

Level 4 (Phd, builds large projects and heads several teams)

Level 5 (Phd, same team leadership as 4, but much greater stature)

==== "God as TSM" (< 1%) ====

Level 6 (Phd, Noble-prize material, a "catch" that has to be paid really well)


Bottom line to all this is that if you are one of the many MS level researchers who works at LANL, you'll likely get stuck at Level 2. You may remain stuck there for the rest of your LANL career.

This being the case, check out what an MS in the area of information science with a Top Secret clearance makes in high cost locales. That LANS Level 2 figure of $76 - 126K is too low (that is, unless LANS *wants* to see an exodus of their scientific talent).

Many of the non-scientist Phase 1 positions that LANS came out with in the first round of this "market survey" are higher than this level. It appears LANS wishes to penalizes those who perform science at LANL.

Anonymous said...

Let's make this simple. Bechtel thinks that mosts of the scientists who work at LANL need an attitude adjustment and are paid way too much. They're about to correct this situation.

If you want a nice salary from LANS, better think about becoming something like a Construction Manager. End of story.

Anonymous said...

YOu all, this is Terry Wallace's brain-child in an effort to make his mark at LANL and perhaps be the heir-apparent to Mikey. HR is just following orders.

Anonymous said...

There were several attempts to create TSM levels over the past few decades. None ever worked, primarily because the folks trying to do the "leveling" were HR people, and not capable of understanding the complexity of TSM positions, and not able to compare the "levels" across so many scientific and engineering disciplines. At least the former people attempting this had the grace, courtesy, and perspective to realize they were in over their heads. Not so with LANS - they are used to being in over their heads and calling it success.

Anonymous said...

I predict a bunch of unhappy scientists when they fully grasp the consequences of LANS' Phase 2 'market survey' effort. A lot of TSMs are going to have much more to worry about than just getting a lousy 2% annual raise. Try no raises at all... for many, many years to come!

Does Terry have any clue at all about what he's doing here? Does NNSA? If they want to clear out LANL of the "best and brightest", this is, without a doubt, the fastest way to do it.

Anonymous said...

The message to the LANL scientits is quite clear: "Don't let the door hit you in the ass!"

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 6/14/08 11:03 PM writes:

"I predict a bunch of unhappy scientists ..."

SO, and then who in LANS management will care?

Anonymous said...

Pension law requires employers to release the previous year's financial results by at least 6 months after the new year. We'll reach that point by July 1st, so LANS is soon due to release the TCP1 financial results for 2007.

I mention this because there is a good possibility that TCP1 members will be required to contribute a significant amount of their salary to this under-funded pension.

Piggy-back pension contributions onto LANS attempts to reign in TSM salaries and you've got some real financial pain to deal with as a scientist at LANL.

Anonymous said...

Here's the basic scenario that I see with the Phase 2 plan:

The "average" TSM would seem to fit into Level 2 ("Performs: Fully Functioning and Self Sufficient"). This level has a range of $76-126 K, so the average of this band would be around $100 K. Based on this, it would seem that the "average" TSM at LANL should expect to see a salary of around $100K. If you are one of the few TSMs who make less than this, then you may be OK with this scheme. If you're one of the many TSMs who make more than $100K, then prepare to see your salary held back until inflation slowly brings you into conformance with the average salary of the Level 2 range.

If you're a "leader" (Level 3 - "Leads: Specialized Technical Leader"), then you'll make it into this band's average salary of about $111 K.

Less than 1 in 5 of the scientists at LANL will be allowed above these levels.

Any way you slice it, the salaries of scientists at LANL appear headed for a significant hair-cut.

Anonymous said...

I know a fair number of scientists who have left Los Alamos over the last few years and were able to match their LANL salary. With LANS implementation of Phase 2, most scientists at LANL should be able to easily beat LANL's salary by moving to another employer. Is this really what LANS intends? If they want to destroy what's left of science at LANL, this is a very effective way to go about it.

Anonymous said...

These brackets could have no effective meaning as far as salary levels are concerned. Suppose you are at the top of one of these bracket. Each year the salary range is adjusted for inflation; say they raise the top of the bracket by 2%. Then you can get your 2% raise like you always have. So no effective change in how the system has worked for some time now. QED.

Anonymous said...

"Each year the salary range is adjusted for inflation" - 11:29 AM

The 2% annual raises are given out on an *individual* basis. The poor performers get no raise. Thus, it's not a given that the brackets will increase by the annual raise amount. In particular, I wouldn't trust LANS to raise these brackets on an annual basis. Would you?

Anonymous said...

With the position-titles being broken up into "levels". I have this vision of HR playing a Dungeons and Dragons game

I am a level 3 TSM. Roll a twenty sided dice to save my job....

Anonymous said...

Baa, baa... go back to sleep, everybody. Nothing to worry about here. Besides, the scientists are helpless to change anything at LANL and this has been demonstrated on more than one occasion. The selection process has served to effectively breed out any real dissent. Pliable, soft, and compliant employees... that's the way to build a world-changing National Laboratory filled with the best and brightest minds in America. Bechtel will help show us the way!

Anonymous said...

"most scientists at LANL should be able to easily beat LANL's salary by moving to another employer."

LOL - try your best, sparky. You'll never match this gravy train.

Anonymous said...

There is a level missing from the list.

Level 7 "Untouchable": Exempt from Accountability; Entitled on the Basis of Friends or Family Connections

Anonymous said...

This cannot be all there is. There are ex-mgrs who are TSMs that make more than the top of the Level 3 band and who are not at Level 4. I suspect there is another generic "advisor/expert" category to catch some of them.

The other question is at what level are those TSM % for each level calculated - Lab, PAD, AD, Div? Does anyone think the "science" dir/divisions will have the same splits as the "engineering" dir/divisions, e.g., X and W?

Let the gaming begin.

Anonymous said...

"The other question is at what level are those TSM % for each level calculated - Lab, PAD, AD, Div? Does anyone think the "science" dir/divisions will have the same splits as the "engineering" dir/divisions, e.g., X and W?"

X Division will have no problem taking its share of levels 5 and 6 --- look at how many Laboratory Fellows are in this division.

Anonymous said...

Another disaster in the making.... Even the SSM reclassifications rolled out June 2 (they were supposed to be done October 2007) are incomplete. There are many MANY job slots without even a job description. If there was no "incumbent" with that particular job title and grade (1-4) they didn't bother writing a job description.

Anonymous said...

Wait till they get this done and they find that women and Hispanics are under-represented in the upper bands.

Anonymous said...

Anyone have an idea of how one would get promoted to a higher level over time?

Anonymous said...

"Anyone have an idea of how one would get promoted to a higher level over time?" - 6/16/08 9:31 AM

I could tell you to work hard, don't complain, and keep your noise clean. However, you sound like a nice chap so I'll let you in on a little secret on how it's really done in most large organizations.

Start by puckering up your lips and begin sucking on as much upper level management ass as you can stand before you start puking. The key to this technique is to recognize the critical stopping point that comes right before you start spitting up the really big chunks.

With lots of practice, you'll be able to take it right up to the edge and get the admiration and respect that leads to those coveted upper level slots.

Good luck and keep practicing!

Anonymous said...

How do you advanced to the higher levels?

I find that black-mail works wonders when properly executed. Be sure to take lots of pictures and make accurate recordings for evidence.

Anonymous said...

Those higher levels can be achieved only if you work at getting a Six Sigma Black Belt.

There is no other way of achieving those high levels but by this arduous means, my little grasshopper.

Anonymous said...

...or you could try rolling the 20-sided die. Keep your vorpal sword handy.

Anonymous said...

LANS is about bringing down the salaries of all you grossly overpaid legends in your own minds. Thank goodness Marquez and his Bechtel colleagues are kicking scientific butt at LANL and taking names. About time.

Anonymous said...

"LANS is about bringing down the salaries of all you grossly overpaid legends in your own minds. Thank goodness Marquez and his Bechtel colleagues are kicking scientific butt at LANL and taking names. About time."

I'm sorry your life didn't work out for you. Maybe you should try harder.

Anonymous said...

6:51 PM - you clearly are one of the idiots hired in HR or procurement who can't do their jobs and are dictating the livelihood of the scientists that pay your f-in salaries...

Anonymous said...

Any word about what was said at the Monday morning meeting held to roll-out the finalized Phase 2 compensation plan?

What story is LANS management feeding the scientific staff about this plan?

Anonymous said...

What story are they feeding us?

Well, everything is just dandy. All management positions from Group Leader on up will now be filled with BS level recruits from Bechtel. Scientist salaries at LANL are too high and will be have to be cut by 40%. HR will now be empowered to make all hiring decisions at LANL. The top paying positions at LANL will be reserved for construction management jobs. We can't get enough of these people. A finder's fee of $20 K will be paid to those who refer someone from Bechtel into these positions. This finder's fee is only good for current Bechtel employees already in place at LANL. Oh, and Mike is trading up from his slick looking Audi TT sports car to a brand new Lamborghini. The lease for this new vehicle will paid for out of LDRD funding, as LDRD is going away. And as always, remember that if you don't like any of this activity, please leave quickly and don't let the front door hit your fat ass on the way out.

Anonymous said...

As with the tcp-1 pension plan the official word is 0, zip, nada. LANS remains silent on this as well as every other important employee issue. My management refuses to even openly acknowledge such a plan exists.

Anonymous said...

You sit there and complain about the low salary bands and inadequate job descriptions. Did you ever stop to think that it is the managers who haven't responded to HR with job descriptions or enough information about job responsibility and scope to justify raising salary bands? By the way did you want Swiss or cheddar with that whine?

Anonymous said...

"My management refuses to even openly acknowledge such a plan exists." - 7:53 PM

I'm hearing that the DLs are already at work mapping staff into the various TSM levels. What has not yet been fully resolved is the exact salary bands for each of the levels.

Like you, I'm finding that lab management is extremely reluctant to discuss what they are doing. I suspect they plan to suddenly announce their final plan as a "done deal" to the general staff sometime later this summer.

As far as the Monday meeting went, attendance was sparse and the info content was almost nil. No figures were given for the salary bands of each level.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, over at LLNL...

=============================
Lawrence Livermore Laboratory Layoffs Affecting Quality of Science, Workers Say

www.contracostatimes.com/ci_9591711

By Betsy Mason
Contra Costa Times
06/15/2008 12:01:44 AM PDT

In the wake of its most significant layoffs in 35 years, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory is not the place it once was.

Not even close, according to some of those who got the boot last month, as well as others who remain.

Some fear the lab's ability to employ the country's top scientists, critical to its ability to carry out its mission, is in jeopardy.

"I think the lab is going to be a mediocre place, and I just don't see good support for scientific research here," said physicist Govindasamy Bala, who survived the layoffs but left about a week later for a research position at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore after 11 years at the lab.

Even before the layoffs, the cultural shift to a new corporate manager coupled with budget cuts threatened several core attributes that made the Livermore Lab an attractive place to work. Shifting priorities for the Department of Energy and the country have added to the uncertain future. Although the lab has always been about more than nuclear weapons, steep federal cuts to the weapons programs have stung.

Lab director George Miller sees plenty of room for growth in other areas, such as climate, energy and anti-terrorism, however.

"These are things that are of fundamental, long-term concern," he said in a meeting with the Times editorial board in April. "The laboratory is ideally suited to help the country deal with these sets of problems.

"The real issue is are we going to
be able to, as a country, sustain the investment in these very important pieces of science and technology that will allow us to get out of some of the really difficult problems we're facing."

Working on these types of problems is part of what has attracted scientists to Livermore.

Once linked to a prestigious academic institution — the University of California, which ran the lab until October — the lab was a place where promising young scientists would choose to spend their entire careers, forgoing more prestigious academic positions and more lucrative industry jobs.

In return, they got job stability, UC's generous benefits and the opportunity to do cutting-edge research.

But under new corporate management, the workforce has been subjected to layoffs for the first time in three decades. Of the 440 employees escorted off lab property May 22 and May 23, more than 150 were scientists and engineers, including 110 with at least two decades of experience at the lab.

About 100 additional temporary workers will lose their jobs in July.

"I do not believe, given the information I have now on our budget situation for (fiscal year 2008) and what we might expect for (fiscal year 2009), that future involuntary separations will be necessary," Miller told employees in an internal e-mail in May.

But that hasn't stopped the bleeding.

Bala, the physicist who left for India, said he felt increasingly stifled.

"During my first 10 years, if there was a great idea, you could pursue it and there was money to do it," he said. "I think in the past couple of years it has become more difficult."

Several scientists still at the lab spoke on condition of anonymity, for fear of putting their jobs at risk. One who is staying at the lab while his children are in school, but is looking for future opportunities, said the lab has been fundamentally changed.

"I feel like I'm working for a corporation now, a corporation that's out to make money, not necessarily to do great science in the public interest," he said.

Others are worried about job security.

"We used to feel like a research arm of the university," said one physicist with 32 years at the lab. "Now, it feels like we're contract scientists, and we are at-will employees. It's easier to fire us."

The new manager, Lawrence Livermore National Security LLC, is jointly owned by UC and several private companies led by Bechtel International.

Mistrust of the new management, which many employees refer to simply as Bechtel, has been simmering for months.

A year ago, when the UC-Bechtel team won the contract, Miller said he expected the corporation's $40 million fee boost and other increased costs of moving to private management would be recouped by efficiencies that Bechtel and its industry cohorts would implement, not from laying off subcontractors as had happened at Los Alamos Laboratory after its transition to private management.

Now, he said that by the end of the year, the lab will have lost about 1,900 employees since 2007 through layoffs, buyouts and attrition, all part of the effort to make up for $100 million in federal budget cuts.

On top of that, the costs of the change from public to private management have spiraled to $180 million, $100 million more than originally estimated.

That miscalculation did little to generate goodwill from workers, and today some of them are having trouble believing Miller when he says the layoffs are over.

"Part of the reason I'm leaving now is I don't have confidence that there won't be more rounds of layoffs in (fiscal year 2009)," said Jeff Collins, an engineer leaving the lab voluntarily for an industry job.

The distrust and resentment was further stoked by the perception that the recent layoffs were handled unfairly and disrespectfully.

"Our No. 1 goal throughout the entire process was to try to do this in the most empathetic and dignified manner possible," lab spokeswoman Susan Houghton said.

Management went the extra mile, she said, by providing counseling, allowing forwarding e-mails to be automatically sent to people who contact workers after they are gone and giving scientists who opted to continue doing unclassified work for two to three months the option to work at home rather than in an office outside the lab's perimeter fence.

They have arranged a job fair with many employers eager to get their hands on laid-off lab employees, to be held Thursday at the Robert Livermore Community Center.

Houghton said they tried to keep things low-key and professional, but the needs of employees had to be balanced with the fact that it is a national security laboratory.

Some employees likened the process to the kind of treatment normally given to criminals, a kind of "perp walk."

Each departing worker was watched by a colleague designated as an escort as they gathered their belongings, drove to the "exit center" to fill out the necessary paperwork and then drove off lab property through a lane lined with orange cones and security guards, escorts still in tow.

"I felt like a lamb being led to slaughter," said Albert Lopez, 52, who worked as a buyer at the lab for 20 years, first as a contractor and then as a lab employee. "Twenty years of my life just gone out the door in 45 minutes."

Some older laid-off workers feel they were targeted because of their age, and some employees say the lab bent the rules by breaking groups of workers with the same job designation into smaller "business units" — a way to skirt the rule that requires layoffs to be seniority based.

"Absolutely not true," Houghton said. "Every layoff decision was reviewed by the lab's legal department and the (Department of Energy)" to be sure policies were followed.

"It was based on where we can get efficiencies and what level work will be needed in the future," she said.

Regardless, for those remaining at the lab, "the atmosphere has been wounded," a physicist and group manager said. "There's more stress. There's so much pressure on worrying about your budget."

And the loss of support staff means "you're going to find a physicist like me doing more paperwork because there are fewer administrative people," he said.

Houghton, while recognizing this painful period, said the "worst is behind us."

"I think there is a general desire to get to that good science, to get back to why we are here in the first place and fulfill our mission for the nation," she said.

Miller has tried to rally the troops in staff meetings and e-mails to employees, calling the transition an opportunity to help forge the Lawrence Livermore Lab of the future.

"Working together, your leadership and commitment, your talents and ideas will propel us into a successful future," he told employees May 27.

But energizing the troops may be tougher now than ever.

"The whole atmosphere is not this 'rah rah, let's make a new beginning,'" one scientist said. "That's the kind of stuff we've been hearing from management, but I don't think anyone in the trenches feels that way.

"It feels more like the end than a beginning."

Anonymous said...

"It appears that 80% of the research TSMs of Phase 2 will be in Level 1,2 or 3, and thus held to under $140K in salary for the rest of their careers unless that make the rarefied levels 4, 5, or 6."

OK, this statement actually makes me laugh. Have you looked at the current (UC-historic) salary bands for TSM's? A PhD with 16-20 years of post-BS experience is supposed to max out in the 130's, while 20+ years experience lets you into the 140's.

Anonymous said...

Per 6/17/08 10:38 PM--Lawrence Livermore Laboratory Layoffs Affecting Quality of Science, Workers Say-- "Some fear the lab's ability to employ the country's top scientists, critical to its ability to carry out its mission, is in jeopardy."

Same script was used at LANL. Same UC/Bechtel monkeys are in charge, they're just squatted on different trees now. The best and brightest argument is already worn to the bone. No more "great" science needed in the bomb-making department unfortunately. We’ve got the gist of it now. So maybe it’s time to change the script. Better yet, maybe it’s time to change jobs if you're really that interested in being a legitimate scientist. But what about your house you say--all that equity down the toilet if we leave now? Well then, better pucker up, hold your breath and learn to like chunky peanut butter. What you see now, is precisely what the rest of your career is going to be like. This is as good as it gets. Remember the movie?

--Sir Richard of LANS

greg close said...

"Re: As with the tcp-1 pension plan the official word is 0, zip, nada."

I don't understand this statement - we've got lots and lots of TCP1 information available; more than required by law, to date. Please let me know if you want any answers to TCP1 questions, and I'll happily point you to the resources.

Thanks,
Greg

Anonymous said...

Greg, where is the TCP1 (Annual) Report with the Plan's assets, liabilities and investements located? Thanks.

greg close said...

In answer to: 6/18/08 1:56 PM

This is actually a very good question, and there is a very boring, rational, answer.

There is an assumption that since the Transition was in June of 2006, that the TPC1 Defined Benefit plan was also in existence in June 2006, and is therefore now two years old with no SAR. That is incorrect. Due to lots of legal negotiations with UC and DOE/NNSA the Plan did not exist as a separate entity under Trust for LANS until April of 2007. Therefore, as the plan just reached the close of it's first full plan year in April of 2008, the first TCP1 SAR (Summary Annual Report) hasn't been completed, filed, or shared as yet. It will be, as required by law, and within the deadline set by ERISA. If I knew the exact date I would post it, but I don't - and if I guessed and I was wrong I'd be roasted alive, I'm sure. Instead, I'll post a link to a useful overview of the ERISA regs concerning a SAR. As I understand it, the law allows up to 9 months following the close of the Plan Year to issue the report. I imagine we won't take that long, but again - I'm not going to guess.

http://www.dol.gov/dol/allcfr/EBSA/Title_29/Part_2520/29CFR2520.104b-10.htm

I hope that takes some of the mystery away from this topic. As I've mentioned before, the people primarily responsible for the health of the pension plan are both in TCP1, so there is a vested interest in it being a success on their part. I think it sometimes helps to remember that people in Benefits and HR are employees in pretty much the same boat as any other employees, and not involved in any far-reaching conspiracies or hidden councils to defraud themselves or their peers.

I'm happy to address any follow up questions on this to the best of my ability.

gsclose@lanl.gov

greg close said...

One clarification to my previous statement. There is a SAR posted right now on the benefits web-site for the TCP1 DB Plan.

http://int.lanl.gov/worklife/benefits/pdfs/summary2007_dbpp.pdf

This only covers the period I described wherein UC, DOE/NNSA and LANS were negotiating the funds transfer from UCRP (June 1 - Dec 31, 2006). I'm assuming this is not what you're looking for, but after discussing with the Pension Plans Administrator, it seems we should point it out so that it doesn't appear to be hiding in plain sight.

Thx,
Greg

Anonymous said...

"As I understand it, the law allows up to 9 months following the close of the Plan Year to issue the report." (Glenn Close)


I thought the time limit was only 6 months.

Also, even though the original TCP1 plan was "born" on April 07, it seems logical (and perhaps even a legal requirement?) that at some point the controlling regs would be sync'ed up to the calendar year.

I'm sure a lot of people in HR care about TCP1. LANS could go a long way to reassuring us all by letting us know the financial condition of the investments they have been making with our money.

It will have a big effect on TCP1 workers if they suddenly have to start kicking in a substantial part of their salary to keep it afloat. This is a huge issue that LANS cannot leave in the dark. The sooner they let us know what's going on, the better.

Anonymous said...

Greg,

Thx for the info.

greg close said...

A) it's 9 months, please read the law - I did provide the link for your reference. There are many requirements for many different docs, please make sure you are referring to the appropriate information (for example, SPDs and SARs are different docs with different regs and time tables).
B) There's a preliminary SAR already posted, link provided earlier. We are making every effort to keep everyone informed with the info we have on hand to share.
C) The intent is to provide the next SAR as soon as it can be provided. There is no intentional delay to "keep people in the dark." On the other hand, it's not like someone at the Trust presses a big red button that say "Make SAR" - it has to be compiled and vetted. It's a very important document, after all.

greg close said...

Just to address the thought that we're keeping anything in the dark, here's a copy/paste of the SAR language currently on-line (for 2006 partial/initial year):

SUMMARY ANNUAL REPORT
FOR LANS DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION PLAN
This is a summary of the annual report for the LANS Defined Benefit Pension Plan, EIN 20-3104541, Plan No. 003, for period June 1, 2006 through December 31, 2006. The annual report has been filed with the Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, as required under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
Basic Financial Statement
Benefits under the plan are provided through a trust fund.
A total of 6,519 persons were participants in or beneficiaries of the plan at the end of the plan year, although not all of these persons had yet earned the right to receive benefits.
The value of plan assets, after subtracting liabilities of the plan, was $1,399,854,200 as of December 31, 2006, compared to $0 as of June 1, 2006. During the plan year the plan experienced an increase in its net assets of $1,399,854,200*.
Minimum Funding Standards
An actuary's statement shows that enough money was contributed to the plan to keep it funded in accordance with the minimum funding standards of ERISA.
Your Rights To Additional Information
You have the right to receive a copy of the full annual report, or any part thereof, on request. The items listed below are included in that report:
1. an accountant's report;
2. financial information; and
3. actuarial information regarding the funding of the plan.
To obtain a copy of the full annual report, or any part thereof, write the office of Kenny Leivo, Los Alamos National Security, LLC, Post Office Box 1663, MS P280, Los Alamos, NM 87544.
You also have the right to receive from the plan administrator, on request and at no charge, a statement of the assets and liabilities of the plan and accompanying notes, or a statement of income and expenses of the plan and accompanying notes, or both. If you request a copy of the full annual report from the plan administrator, these two statements and accompanying notes will be included as part of that report.
You also have the legally protected right to examine the annual report at the main office of the plan (Los Alamos National Security, LLC, Post Office Box 1663, MS P280, Los Alamos, NM 87544) and at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C., or to obtain a copy from the U.S. Department of Labor upon payment of copying costs. Requests to the Department should be addressed to: Public Disclosure Room, Room N1513, Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210.
*$1,399,854,200 in receivables were due to this plan from the University of California Retirement Plan effective December 31, 2006.

Anonymous said...

Greg,

LANS had 90 days after June 1, 2006 to distribute the plan description to all participants. LANS was also required to furnish ERISA rights to each employee at that time. Was that done?

The next SAR was due 210 days after the completion of the plan year; by reading the initial SAR the clock restarted on Jan 1, 2007. The SAR for plan year 2006 was due in September 2007. Since the initial SAR covered that same time period, that appears to have been done on time.

The next SAR is due on September 27, 2008.

Your statement that the plan did not exist until April 2007 is directly contradicted by the initial SAR and, if that was true, LANS would be in violation of 10 CFR 2520.104b-2(3)(i); reproduced below.

10 CFR 2520.104b-2

(3)(i) A plan becomes subject to part 1 of title I on the first day on which an employee is credited with an hour of service under §2530.200b–2 or §2530.200b–3. Where a plan is made prospectively effective to take effect after a certain date or after a condition is satisfied, the day upon which the plan becomes subject to part 1 of title I is the day after such date or condition is satisfied. Where a plan is adopted with a retroactive effective date, the 120 day period begins on the day after the plan is adopted. Where a plan is made retroactively effective dependent on a condition, the day on which the plan becomes subject to part 1 of title I is the day after the day on which the condition is satisfied. Where a plan is made retroactively effective subject to a contingency which may or may not occur in the future, the day on which the plan becomes subject to part 1, title I is the day after the day on which the contingency occurs.

(ii) Examples: Company A is negotiating the purchase of Company B. On September 1, 1978, as part of the negotiations, Company A adopts a pension plan covering the employees of Company B, contingent on the successful conclusion of its negotiations to purchase Company B. The plan provides that it shall take effect on the first day of the calendar year in which the purchase is concluded. On February 1, 1979, the negotiations conclude with Company A's purchase of Company B. The plan therefore becomes effective on February 1, 1979, retroactive to January 1, 1979. The summary plan description must be filed and disclosed no later than 120 days after February 1, 1979.

greg close said...

Responses to 7:37 PM

Please, please - make sure you are referencing the right chapter and verse of ERISA scripture before quoting. The section of ERISA you are referencing is “Sec. 2520.104b-2” which is specific to Summary Plan Descriptions, NOT to Summary Annual Reports. Please refer to the link I provided earlier, to “Sec. 2520.104b-10 - Summary Annual Report” to view that data. I am not trying to quell disagreement, only trying to make sure we are disagreeing about the same thing! ;)

In answer to your question, it is a qualified "Yes". We sent out our Summery Plan Descriptions by the ERISA deadline in 2006. The TCP1 Pension SPD was the one description we had to post a month or two late, because of some concerns on part of our ERISA lawyers. I believe this even came up in an All Hands meeting at that time, and there were more than a few explanations on the web page and via email for the delay.

FYI, the SPDs are still available for review on the benefits webpage, here: http://www.lanl.gov/worklife/benefits/summaries.shtml

To clarify my earlier statement, taken somewhat out of context, "the Plan did not exist as a separate entity under Trust for LANS until April of 2007. " What I was trying to state, perhaps none-too-clearly, is that all assets had not been transferred into the LANS TCP1 Plan until April 2007 from UCRP. Arrangements were made to make any and all payments out of the plan to annuitants with the cooperation of UC until the plan was strictly on it’s own two feet. My point was that the plans full assets were not transferred, approved by the IRS (and a bazillion lawyers), and therefore "whole" until April of 2007. This was all done with full approvals of all regulatory bodies - there was no ERISA violation, however poorly I may have worded my attempt to condense all the boring details into blog-friendly "Cliff Notes." And, remember that the violation referred to would only have applied to an SPD, not a SAR. Apples and Oranges, each with their own bureaucracy.

I think, legally and ethically, we have gone to great lengths to try and be open and forthcoming with plan details since June of 2006. I'll never claim perfection - but I do sincerely value the binding doctrine of ERISA, and the day I know we intentionally violate it is the day you won't see my name out here posting facts and explanations to the contrary.

gsclose@lanl.gov

Anonymous said...

"The value of plan assets, after subtracting liabilities of the plan, was $1,399,854,200 as of December 31, 2006, compared to $0 as of June 1, 2006. During the plan year the plan experienced an increase in its net assets of $1,399,854,200*."

This is meaningless info. What many pension holders really want to know is where, exactly, the assets of the TCP1 pension have been invested and the assets' current rate of return.

The financial news is full of horror stories of pension funds being handed over to poorly run hedge fund outfits, badly timed investments into commodities, and pensions buying up mortgage junk debt.

What have the $1.4 B in LANS TCP1 funds been invested in and has it been able to sustain an 8% return that most pension funds attempt to achieve? These are the critical questions that need an answer. I sense some stalling on LANS part in giving out these answers.

greg close said...

Re: 6/19/08 11:08 PM

I don't know how to be LESS evasive on this topic...

You can get an accounting just as you requested, but you have to read the directions, first.

I re-quote, from the 2006 SAR that I posted earlier on this thread:

"Your Rights To Additional Information
You have the right to receive a copy of the full annual report, or any part thereof, on request. The items listed below are included in that report:
1. an accountant's report;
2. financial information; and
3. actuarial information regarding the funding of the plan.
To obtain a copy of the full annual report, or any part thereof, write the office of Kenny Leivo, Los Alamos National Security, LLC, Post Office Box 1663, MS P280, Los Alamos, NM 87544."

IF you want this level of detail, don't complain about not having it, just ask for it! If we don't give it to you, THEN complain about us being evasive.

Do I really seem evasive? I'm really trying hard to be open and honest here, I don't know what else to do to change this perception?!

gsclose@lanl.gov

Anonymous said...

Mr. Close

If April 2007 was true, from what fund did LANS pensions get paid for the staff retiring from LANS during the period from June 2006 to April 2007?

I appreciate your willingness to answer questions here.

Anonymous said...

Poster 11:59 PM, I believe UC sent LANS a small amount of "up-front" money soon after June 1, '06 to cover any TCP1 retirees during the interim period.

greg close said...

RE: 6/19/08 11:59 PM

I'll be honest, I don't know how the breakout of funding for the initial retirements under TCP1 were worked out specifically, only that it was necessary to coordinate between our Pension Administration unit and that of UCRP in order to make sure the payments were made (until all UCRP funds had officially been transferred). As to percentages of benefits from one place or the other, I just don't know.

Sorry I can't shed much light on that.

Anonymous said...

"Level 1 "Assists": Entry Level
Approximate Estimated Mapping: 20% (includes most postdoc conversions)
Salary band = $69-113K"

Actually, I was told by my Neu that this was not true and that most PD conversions will be Level 2. Also, she said that she was pushing to put most of her directorate into 4 and 5 and she is calling for a few 6's as well (like Klimov, for example) since she thinks ADCLES has the best scientists at the Lab. Since Terry and Mike are ball-less, she usually gets what she wants. This means the rest of the Lab will have to occupy the lower levels to make the mandated % work out ...

Anonymous said...

Anyone hearing a thing about the Oct 1st raises? Do we get another tiny 2% raise, or perhaps none at all?

And what does the budget look like as we near the end of this fiscal year?

Mike hasn't held an All-Hands since way back in January and LANS has said very little about how the books are looking as we close out the year. The obvious lack of any meaningful communication and forth-rightness between LANS and the LANL staff is dis-heartening.

Anonymous said...

"..Any way you slice it, the salaries of scientists at LANL appear headed for a significant hair-cut..."


Won't happen. No one will sit still for no raises.

Market is too strong at the technical centers. LLNL ISP folks are getting multiple offers.

Q/SCIs are worth quite a premium.

The market will tell LANS and LLNS what to pay, not vice versa.

Same as it ever was.

Anonymous said...

"Won't happen. No one will sit still for no raises."

Wow! That's really a hilarious comment after watching how LANL staff acted during the last 5 years to a whole slew of insults. As usual, they did absolutely NOTHING! And they will do nothing this time, too. Same as it ever was.

Anonymous said...

6/23 11:20 am: ""Won't happen. No one will sit still for no raises."

Wow! That's really a hilarious comment after watching how LANL staff acted during the last 5 years to a whole slew of insults. As usual, they did absolutely NOTHING! And they will do nothing this time, too. Same as it ever was."

Some of did something. We simply left. Quietly. Unless you intend never to work again, you don't burn bridges.

Anonymous said...

I was offered a 32k raise to do a similar job for a defense corporation out of Washington. This is a 14% raise after cost of living adjustments. Other benefits are comparable to what was offered before the LANS disaster. Now that I'm leaving, I venture to guess others will find equally attractive offers outside while LANS freezes your salary to match up with the GS series.