Albuquerque Journal Staff Writer
Los Alamos National Laboratory plans to offer jobs to hundreds of workers now employed by KSL Services, the lab's largest subcontractor, before its contract expires in December.
The move means Los Alamos will be handling its own building maintenance, trash collection and other “support” services for the first time in its history. It will also be the first time that workers under collective bargaining agreements are employed directly by the lab.
The lab intends to offer jobs to most, but not all of, KSL's nearly 900 employees, according to Mike Mallory, the lab's principal associate director for operations and business services.
Los Alamos is ending its association with KSL because a number of the managers who came in with Los Alamos National Security — the lab's corporate manager that took over in 2006 — have experience in support services, Mallory said. He added that there have been “safety questions” about KSL's work, but he did not elaborate.
Mallory said the plan is to sign contracts next week that would offer KSL's 625 unionized employees jobs at the lab. Another 214 nonmanagement and nonunion KSL workers have also been offered employment, and 211 have accepted, he said.
There are also 58 KSL employees who have “manager” in their title. Of those, LANS has determined that 20 of them aren't really management and have reclassified the employees, Mallory said. Another 20 of the “manager” positions have been eliminated.
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.
The lab will assume support services on Dec. 1, while KSL's contract expires Dec. 31.
Mallory said the union employees' benefits will remain the same, while nonunion employees will keep their vacation time but not their sick time.
Lab officials have previously said the decision to assume KSL's responsibilities was unrelated to a Department of Energy investigation last year 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, according to the results of that investigation.
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.
Mallory spoke Wednesday before the Legislature's LANL oversight committee. Lab director Michael Anastasio was scheduled to attend but canceled his appearance due to illness. The committee hopes to schedule a follow-up meeting with Anastasio in December.