Jan 26, 2009

Anastasio all-employee meeting is today

Laboratory Director Michael Anastasio will talk about opportunities, challenges, and priorities for the coming year at an all-employee meeting Monday, January 26. It begins at 1 PM at the NSSB Auditorium.

The regional community leaders breakfast / 'splainin' session is tomorrow.

Any predictions?

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just the usual blah blah. He will tell people what they want to hear, they will ask no questions. Most will not even attend.

Anonymous said...

Speech:
There is a new proactive administration. We're going to see change, and like the rest of the country, we're going to wait and see if we can personally profit from it...

Anonymous said...

Anastasio is in willful denial of the decline that is happening at LANL.

Expect more wishful thinking and large doses of denial and fact twisting at his Monday presentation.

Anonymous said...

We'll hear:

"The future looks bright.. blah, blah, blah.. we need the right type of workforce going forward... blah, blah, blah.. join with me in re-shaping LANL.. blah, blah, blah.. I can't promise you anything about future layoffs, buy there is no RIF and no plans for a RIF... blah, blah, blah.. expenses need to be put under very tight control.. blah, blah, blah.. and I just got a great deal on car insurance for my LANS-supplied sports car from GEICO!".

Anonymous said...

The "I Love Mikey" show will begin at 1pm sharp. If you miss it, reruns will be held on Labnet Channel 10.

Anonymous said...

QUESTION: Director Anastasio, when will LANS employees be forced to start contributing their salary's into the TCP1 pension and how much will they have to contribute?

QUESTION: Do you have future plans for a furlough if the budget won't support the current size of the work force?

QUESTION: Given the fact that Congress currently wants to cut $400 million from LANL's budget, does LANL even have a future?

QUESTION: Do you realize how low morale has fallen in the last two years? Do you care?

QUESTION: What are you doing to control and lower costs so that LANL can be more competitive at bringing in outside funding? Why is the TSM FTE rate so high after LANS took over and promised more efficiency?

Anonymous said...

Well, what did he really say? Us retiree's would like to know.

Anonymous said...

Zzzzzzzzz. At least that is what Glen Mara got out of it...I like Mara. His instincts are good.

Anonymous said...

After the pep talk about all of our marvelous accomplishments,and just as he began to explain all of the wonderful fast-track improvements he will implement, channel 9 went dead -- as if on cue!

Anonymous said...

11:09 you talk big but did you little pussy actually attend and ask your big-bold questions?

Anonymous said...

In an effort to make LANL more productive (you don't really want to sit through the video of Mike's Bore-a-Rama All-Hands meeting, do you?), I've decided to give a synapse of the event.

INTRO:

Mike tells everyone to get involved with the worker safety program (WSSP) so we can "improve our record of improvement".


SHORT VIDEO:

A 7 minute video is shown called "Pushing Frontiers" that trumpets all the really neat stuff happening at LANL this year under LANS leadership.


MIKE'S TALK:

Mike says that TCP1 investments are "down by 20% as of January", but he then goes on to say that the pension is still "fully funded at 100%" (?). This is strange because LANL HR said that TCP1 was down by 25% back in November and we know that UC didn't fully fund it during the initial transfer of money in 2006. How can it be fully funded with the meager returns in 2007 and a heavily down market in 2008? Beats me, but I'd be a bit careful in accepting this info at face value. Reading between the lines from Mike's comments, it appear that LANS is waiting for UC to implement salary contributions from the UCRP participants before they give the green light to do the same at LANL with TCP1.

Mike spends a considerable amount of time talking about how hard he has been working at meetings with the Obama folks and other politicians back in DC.

Mike then goes into the standard stuff... "We have much to contribute.. but, we'll face more competition", etc. He uses the onion ring schematic with nuke weapons work at the core, followed by non-proliferation, and finally and outer core of WFOs. And why will WFO sponsors come flocking to a high cost, policy strangled LANL? Because of what Mike sees as the "cross disciplinary aspects of the lab" and our "partnerships and alliances", that's why. He mentions that none of this bright future of project diversification will be given to us. We'll have to EARN our role in the "new missions".

To help us "earn our roles" in these "new missions", Mike says he wants to implement some "quick hitters" to make LANL more efficient. These will be done in 90 days and are a "down payment to demo our competence".

And what or these efficiencies that will make new sponsors flock to our doors?

1. The Director Office has given some money to the library to save some of the tech subscriptions.

2. Purchasing has plans to significantly reduce "sole source" justifications on all orders.

3. Further consolidation of some activities across the Directorates (he was very vague on this).


*** AT THIS POINT LANL's VIDEO FEED GOES KAPUT FOR ~10 MINUTES (sign of the times???) ***

....(Video Back Up Again!)....


4. The new "Director's Outlook" web page will help keep everyone informed. (Yes, he said this!)

5. Management retreats will help LANL work better. (Yes, he really did say this!!)

6. It's the Chinese Year of the Ox. The ox stands for hard work, so it's auspicious for LANL (I swear to God, he really did say this!!!)


QUESTIONS & ANSWERS (in brief):

Mike mumbles something about wanting to create a "capabilities based lab", notes how far we've already come, but says we need to get better at using employees between Directorates (It's been decades since this was first discussed at LANL and lab Director's are STILL talking about this same problem!)

There was a question about SSP and will we see any further changes in lab head counts? Mike was extremely non-committal on this question and played the same ol' "No RIF and no plans for a RIF" game. He does say that "financial stress is coming to the lab", but that he "can't articulate it yet". More ominously, though, he says we might see the financial stress "this year". We'll continue to rely on attrition to reduce the head count (and LANS is doing a great job on that one, what with many of the best scientist bailing out of the lab even after the SSP!).

Mike gives the standard reply of "unless we see dramatic events, no layoffs will occur" but that "we don't know what the budget will look like."

He also mentioned that it is hard to invest in growth for new programs when we don't have discretionary funds to do this type of program development work.

On the new Administration and Dr. Chu, Mike says the standard stuff:

"I see a strong emphasis on energy research".

"On the nuclear mission -- Perry/Gates report was released, and there is some renewed interesting in getting US deterrence 'right' (i.e. signs of interest)." How this will play out financially, he has no idea.

A question is asked bout the "outer circle" in Mike onion schematic. The questioner says most of this outer onion of work for others is UNCLASSIFIED research. Do we have a strategy to compete with our high LANL costs? Mike launches into a discussion of various strategies to compete with our high costs, such as the availability of supercomputers for climate modeling. He says, "We have ways to do things that differentiate us". What was very disheartening was that he said NOTHING about trying to reduce costs so that we can better compete. It's apparently not anywhere on his radar! He goes on to mention LANL's strength in "system level integration across many disciplines" as something that makes us somehow unique and goes on to say "We can bring value in ways that others have not yet learned to do."

He finishes by saying that "Some people at the lab think that someone is going to assign all this new mission stuff to us... they will NOT! We'll have to go compete for it."


CRITIQUE:

Frankly, I felt the Director's presentation was spectacularly unimpressive. He look disheveled and sounded down beat even as he attempted to mimic an upbeat presentation. He seems to exhibit no ability to inspire and has very poor leadership skills. All in all, another extremely mediocre All-Hands presentation. How did this guy ever make it to such a high level position?

If the rest of LANL's upper level management thinks Mike is doing a good job as LANL's Director, then I'm greatly concerned about the future of this lab. He seems to be going through the motions and he appears to be badly out of touch with most of his employees.

Perhaps the best we can expect is that he takes his 3-year HAPC salary as LANL Director on June 1st and decides to leave the lab and live out a very sweet retirement.

Anonymous said...

I see little hope of a bright future at LANL. We're all just waiting around until the budget cuts results in massive layoffs, either this year or next.

As other posters have mentioned, the LANL Director and his upper management team seem to be living in an alternate universe of major league denial. They are doing next to nothing to prepare LANL for the a competitive future. If you can swing it, bailing out to one of the other DOE energy lab seems to be the best solution at this point.

Frank Young said...

Did Glen Mara really fall asleep while Anastasio was talking? That is priceless!

Anonymous said...

Let's get extremely productive by keeping the Monday All Hands summary very brief:

To sum it up... we're f*cked!

Anonymous said...

Anyone going to the nice breakfast that LANS is hosting for the local politicos on Tuesday?

Isn't it interesting that LANL scientists can no longer use lab funding to buy lunch for visiting colleagues, but LANS can offer a free breakfast for the local politicians? Politicians, by the way, from a state that the FBI recently listed as one of the most politically corrupt in the whole country?

Anonymous said...

Lucy is dead so no 'spallin is possible, but perhaps if we are lucky, "Little Ricky" (aka Terry Wallace) will become our next Director.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone ask about daycare? Won't someone please, PLEASE think of the children?!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to anonymous at 1/26/09 9:57 PM for a nice report of the meeting.

Mikey is clearly clueless and out of touch.

Anonymous said...

Here is how I understand it:

(A) For plant engineers (CSEs), LANS (aka Bechtel) wants $2k Finders Fees and $30K job bonuses.

(B) For the scientists and researchers, LANS (aka Bechtel) wants ** ATTRITION **.


It should be fairly clear what LANL's future path will be.

Mike's job is singular. It's to bring in the $80 million profit fee each and every year to the bank vaults of Bechtel and BWXT. To do this in a reliable fashion, he need to get rid of the high cost scientists so LANS can rely on the more consistent and profitable engineering and production work.

The low morale you see among the research class at LANL is no mistake. It has a purpose, which Mike only hinted at during his abysmal All-Hands meeting on Monday. They want most of the scientific staff to leave. LANS can't say this outright, but their actions (and inactions) speak louder than any words.

Anonymous said...

For-profit management has completely poisoned the atmosphere at LANL. There is little hope to stem the lab's decline while this type of management is left in charge.

I find it interesting that only LANL and LLNL are fully engaged in this new for-profit management regime. While SNL is run for a fee, it is a very small fee and Lockheed doesn't appear to be in it for the money.

When you look at all the other DOE labs, you'll notice that they are mostly connected with non-profit management. Those in charge may be LLCs, but they come from the non-profit world, like Battelle Institute.

Why has NNSA decided to destroy their two "crown jewel" labs with for-profit management? Why was this decision basically left up to a single man, Tom D'Agostino of NNSA.

That's the million dollar question -- Tom's and Bechtel's millions, not yours.

Anonymous said...

It shouldn't be very long before Tom D'Agostino finds himself invited to Riley Bechtel's prestigious Bohmenian Grove summer camp for the rich and powerful. I suggest Mr. D'Agostino be relagated to the F*ckWad encampment, along with another new Bohemian Grove camper, Dr. Michael Anastasio.

See:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohemian_Grove

greg close said...

Hi. It's your friendly neighborhood benefit geek, here to dispel more misunderstandings and misinformation about the TCP1 funding status.

1/26/09 9:57 PM: Your assumptions regarding initial funding status are incorrect, and that throws off the rest of your analysis. The TCP1 plan was funded well over 100% in 2008, and the shortfalls mentioned by benefits last fall and alluded to by the Director yesterday have not yet brought the plan below 100% funding status. In other words, available assets still meet current liabilities, despite the horrendous market year. So far, TCP1 hasn't tanked out.

One of the requirements of the recent PPA (Pension Protection Act) is to provide a sort of "funding statement" to plan participants, which is due out this Spring. This means the wait for a few more particulars about funding status is a couple months away, and you won't have to wait for the SAR for 2008 to come out in Nov/Dec of 2009. Hopefully the particulars in this new PPA notice will be more immediately useful than what comes in the SAR.

As for the rest of the analysis about the state of the lab, who can say? For my part, I see redundancies and inefficiencies and resistance to change here at the Lab from all levels that cripple the ability for scientists to concentrate on science and frustrate the crap out of support personnel like me who WANT to facilitate science. This place still has potential, I hope it can still be realized by finding ways to cut useless overhead and streamline processes so that things can just GET DONE.

That's it from me. Benefit Geek OUT.

gsclose@lanl.gov

Anonymous said...

D'Agostino was enriched by a change to for profit management? I don't think so. The idea was that NNSA would gain some control over what goes on out there. So far it has been a failure but it is not yet time to give up on this approach. Turn the screws tighter and drain the swamp more. I'm betting the current management can be made to look in the mirror and recognize the problem. If not, they can be replaced.

Anonymous said...

(A) For plant engineers (CSEs), LANS (aka Bechtel) wants $2k Finders Fees and $30K job bonuses.

LANS recently published all the qualifications for this CSE program. What they didn't tell you is that they will be sending a memorandum of understanding (MOUs) to those that were selected (yeah selected) for the program. Get it, they are hand-picking their "special people" to give a bonus to, regardless if you qualify. Also, they "got off on the cheap" to force several people from W-Division (all women and Hispanics) just prior to this bonus program to perform these same plant engineering duties without any bonus. They also froze the salaries of the W-Division people that were transferred into these jobs. This fits the LANS profile of smoke and mirrors.

Anonymous said...

While it is fun to blame LANS entirely, remember that LANS can only do what NNSA tells them to do. So, blaming NNSA might be a good idea.

Anonymous said...

I do not know of ONE person who bothered to attend or watch the blab fest.... that about says it all.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1/27/09 4:30 PM said...

"While it is fun to blame LANS entirely, remember that LANS can only do what NNSA tells them to do. So, blaming NNSA might be a good idea."

Yes, it's true that NNSA dictates what projects we work on and that is appropriate. BUT, LANS decides how things are done, i.e., how much overhead we have, how much bonus Mikey gets, etc. LANS is fully-responsible for the mess that we have!

Anonymous said...

"For-profit management has completely poisoned the atmosphere at LANL." 10:04 AM is not wrong. But LANL upper management and NNSA was already poisoning the work/life atmosphere at LANL before Bechtel came in. It started with Hecker (even though he seems like a saint compared to Admiral Butthead) and his cronies down to Younger, Goldstone, and all the rotten people who did not give a sh*t about their fellow employees or the future of the lab. The leftovers of that ilk who ended up in ADWP and elsewhere such as Seestrom, Marquez, Wallace and others managed to hang on through the transition to LANS. However, what goes around comes around, and one can hope these people get royally axed in the coming 20% RIF in the next year.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 1/27/09 6:43 PM writes:
"It started with Hecker ..."

Well maybe Hecker did not make the best appointments. Browne's appointments were not all great either. BUT, I submit that both of them did and still do care about the employees and the science.

Anonymous said...

"Well maybe Hecker did not make the best appointments. Browne's appointments were not all great either. BUT, I submit that both of them did and still do care about the employees and the science."

So what?

Anonymous said...

"D'Agostino was enriched by a change to for profit management?" (11:45 AM)

D'Agostino's' enrichment will come LATER, after he leaves the NNSA and then gets well rewarded by his new friends in the NNSA "for-profit" contractor business. Just wait and see.

Anonymous said...

It's clear that LANS doesn't give a hoot about the high cost of doing business at LANL. Here is a memo from Alan Bishop on the subject that came out today...

****
Lab Update (Alan Bishop, AD for S&T):

As the Director described in his all-employees Meeting this week, LANL take's pride in your accomplishments of the last two years. The need for the Contract transition was based on a lack of confidence from many of our principal customers and stakeholders. Objective evidence from external Audits and Contract Assessments now demonstrates that we are well on the way to restoring that confidence to be good stewards of the large investments of national resources in Los Alamos.

This has unavoidably come at a price, as we have all experienced. The extra cost to meet contract compliance standards of safety, security, etc, are significant. This substantially changes investment of institutional resources in a number of traditional areas. As the Director emphasized, we will continue to seek efficiencies and cost savings but much of the increased cost is permanent. This also comes at a time of national and international financial pressures throughout the economy.
****

It's permanent, so shut your traps and deal with it -- that's how I read it. And in the future, these costs will likely rise even higher because you'll see absolutely no push-back from LANS upper management.

In effect, science at LANL is doomed. Get into management, like Alan, as fast as you can if you want any hope of survival at LANL in the next few years.

Upper management either has no clue about what they are doing, or they know exactly what they are doing and don't care. Either way, it doesn't look promising to anyone who is working hard to fund their research at LANL. Any money you happen to bring in will only be squandered by the high overhead costs, like that which pays for Alan's big salary.

Anonymous said...

Sig Hecker is one of the few people to have publicly fought against this whole for-profit insanity that has happened at the NNSA labs. He has taken the fight to the halls of Congress. For that, I salute him. He is an honorable man.

Hecker understands that the labs are slowly being destroyed by this process and by the insane level of NNSA's risk aversion and their extreme oversight. That is why he now calls the NNSA labs scientific "prisons".

People like Anastasio or Bishop (who, by the way, helped write the LANS proposal with Bechtel co-horts and was well rewarded for his work when he returned) are traitors to all that is great at LANL. I suppose the big salaries they now receive help them to look at their reflections in the mirror each morning.

Anonymous said...

I do not know of ONE person who bothered to attend or watch the blab fest.... that about says it all.

1/27/09 4:52 PM

Mike is a horrible speaker and an even worse lab Director, so you can't blame them. However, on the day that Mike holds an All-Hands to announce the big layoffs, it will be standing room only and no one will be falling asleep in the auditorium.

Anonymous said...

"Mike is a horrible speaker and an even worse lab Director" - 10:12 PM

The minority view is certainly on parade here at this blog. However, the great silent majority at LANL fully support their Director and are proud of what he and his associates are doing for this lab.

Anonymous said...

11:19 am: "However, the great silent majority at LANL fully support their Director and are proud of what he and his associates are doing for this lab."

Hee hee!! Good one!

Anonymous said...

11:19, perhaps that statement you posit for the great silent majority could could be validated. I suggest using the survey LANL used to use prior to LANS, with that specific question added. I'll be looking for it in my mail slot.

Anonymous said...

Let me guess, 11:19 you are an AD, a Division Leader, a Bechtel transplant, or a moron (not that there is much to distinguish the above classes). Nobody with a brain or integrity could write your post.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Mike is a horrible speaker and an even worse lab Director" - 10:12 PM

The minority view is certainly on parade here at this blog. However, the great silent majority at LANL fully support their Director and are proud of what he and his associates are doing for this lab.

1/28/09 11:19 AM


????????????????????
Please give us some numbers on this. What universe are you living in? I have yet to meet anyone who supports our Director.

Anonymous said...

Three other possibilities:

-It could be sarcasm, perhaps even intended to be funny.

-It could be a desk jockey - out of touch and in denial.

-It could be Mikey.

No wait, those last two are the same.

Anonymous said...

Division Leaders hate Mikey too.

Anonymous said...

There may be some people above the level of Division Leader who still support Mike Anastasio, but I've yet to hear a single person below that level who has anything nice to say about the man. He's been a complete failure as LANS' first Director.

It makes me wonder if LANS can top this with an even worse Director on their second try.

I have full confidence that they can. :-(

Anonymous said...

So... technical staff should all go out and work hard to bring in outside money by writing proposals using charge code fraud for their time so that management can burn up any of this incoming funding with their expensive overhead that will only get higher while management does nothing to help the staff with their project generating efforts and Mike is confident that the lab will diversify but nuclear weapons work is sacrosanct and holy and will always remain at the core of LANL no matter what and a bright future lies ahead.

Now I get it. We're screwed!

Anonymous said...

"There may be some people above the level of Division Leader who still support Mike Anastasio,"

I am not sure about that. I would say they are dissalusioned as well.

Anonymous said...

Now I get it. We're screwed!

1/28/09 9:30 PM

Only if you stay in a TSM position working on a real project. If you can join the club in management or support, your ass will be covered. Why try so hard? Give up and join the party!

Anonymous said...

8:53 PM, 1/28/09 "Division Leaders Hate Mikey too" - Yes sir, and Mikey hates some division leaders, and who can blame him - most are as corrupt as the rest of LANS upper management. Mikey's gonna let go of several of 'em in the upcoming RIF. Good riddance.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I would like to see Neu go. I am sick and tired of her retaliating against anyone who crosses her or her husband when they (Neu and Runde) break the rules and get reported. Just think of poor Rebekkah Aguilar the former RCT at TA-48/RC-1.

Anonymous said...

("Neu and Runde) break the rules and get reported. "

What is the story on this?

Anonymous said...

1/28/09 11:19 AM
"the great silent majority at LANL fully support their Director and are proud of what he and his associates are doing for this lab".

I agree this must be Mikey or one of his puppets that is paid to respond to blog comments (maybe Kevin Roark??). Whoever it is, is so ought of touch. How can anyone support a Director that won't even acknowledge you when you meet him face-to-face. Sorry Bud, but you need to pull your head from the sand (or a..)hole

Anonymous said...

Well I guess that explains why Runde lost his position and DC decided it can do his job remotely. I feel sorry for all those poor bastards that work in RC-1 ...

Anonymous said...

If, at least, Runde would start using an under-arm deodorant...

Anonymous said...

4:39 PM, he wants to stay natural.

Anonymous said...

RW lost his job? Good. Now they need to remove the b!tch who serves under him- a person who was hired under the most dubious circumstances by WR's wife.

Anonymous said...

I thought she was hired by Sara Scott (?)

Anonymous said...

Who is the 'b' that serves under him? And why is she a 'b'?

Anonymous said...

If, at least, Runde would start using an under-arm deodorant... (4:39 PM)

It's a European thing. They seem to think it drives the women crazy when they get of whiff of pungent man-smell.

Anonymous said...

To 9:07 PM - because she is a hoe.

Anonymous said...

The "b" is named Donna Smith, former postdoc of Mary Neu. She has no experience for the program manager position she "earned" in DC. She has an interesting history, which is why 8:07 PM called her a hoe.

Anonymous said...

I have not seen Donna in several years, but I have known her since she was a post-doc. There is nothing in her past that I am aware of that indicates she is less capable than the average scientist.

Anonymous said...

She has no experience for the program manager position she "earned" in DC. - 9:40 PM

Look around at the lack of new program growth at LANL. Almost none of the program managers at LANL are good at generating new project funding. Experience and a track record at being a successful PM doesn't seem to matter at LANL as far as I can tell.