Apr 1, 2009

Bottled Water Purchasing Curtailed

Hi Frank,
The idiots have done it again. Below is the Daily Links announcement we received yesterday with the first bullet telling us there will be no more water purchased. Let's see, we live in a desert and 99% of the buildings have unsatisfactory cooling and undrinkable water supply. How much money are they truly saving here? They can't buy us water out of their $70M fee? Hmmm, we will buy you yak-tracks and safety calendars but we won't fix the air-conditioning or give you water. Maybe if they stopped buying all the stupid signs like "It's cool ... to carpool" or "Don't trip ... get shoes that grip" or "Drive now ... phone later" we could afford water. This should really go a long way to improve morale.

Thanks!
-Anonymous

Thanks, Anonymous. I wonder what people are saying around the soon to be gone water coolers?

"That job at Google sure looks good right now."
"Double plus good idea. I was taking too many water breaks anyway."
"Is it 5:00 yet?"

I just made those up. Hopefully the blog readers can supply better data.

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Daily Briefs, Links
From: links@lanl.gov
Date: Tue, March 31, 2009 6:10 am
To: LANL-ALL@lanl.gov
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bottled Water Purchasing Curtailed:
Because of federal requirements, LANS is no longer able to provide bottled and commercially purchased water at the Laboratory because it is not an allowable cost. Starting today, water may no longer be purchased, unless it is for employees who work in a building with non-potable water. Click on the headline for more information.
See: http://int.lanl.gov/news/index.php/fuseaction/nb.story/story_id/16125

143 comments:

Anonymous said...

And it gets only better! From today's Daily LINKS:

Excess Water Coolers:
In light of the announcement that the Laboratory can no longer use
appropriated funds for bottled water, the Lab is working on a streamlined process for proper salvage or disposal of excess water coolers, which contain refrigerant that is subject to EPA regulations. Guidelines for all facilities will be forthcoming and disseminated through appropriate facility operations directors.

So in their assanine interpretation of the letter of the law, our great LANS "leaders" have now made it so we have to now spend money on removing the coolers that contain hazardous waste. With all the people time added to this ... no wonder we need some of the stimulus bill. It's brilliant!

Frank Young said...

Reminds me of Canned Air Day.

Anonymous said...

Some random tidbits from UC at

http://atyourservice.ucop.edu/

State Budget Contains $115 Million in New Cuts for UC
[February 20, 2009]

"...Other major changes in the final budget include the elimination of $20 million the governor had proposed for re-starting employer contributions to the UC Retirement Plan,...

In addition, Yudof said the university is gravely concerned about the budget's elimination of proposed state funding for the re-start of contributions to the UC Retirement Plan.

UC has saved the state over $2 billion in obligations to UC retirees during the 18 years in which the university suspended both employer and employee contributions to its retirement system. Today, however, the UC Retirement Plan is only 95 percent funded, and it has been estimated to fall to 60 percent within five years even with the reinstatement of contributions..."

Anonymous said...

I believe the policy was intended for the 12oz/16oz variety bottled water. But, I am only a lawyer. The first thing you LANS people should do is get rid of your crack legal team. They are doing you no favors.

Anonymous said...

I think that LANL employees should focus on more pressing issues than free water in bottles. There are only a few jobs with a certain future like "clean-up". Eventually it will become more difficult to continue the custom of charging FTEs for jobs that require little real skill but exist only to facilitate a formality of operation.

Anonymous said...

The link puts you into the LANL internal website where a login and password are required.

Can somebody please copy and post the article?

Anonymous said...

Did LANS ever consider that some of that $80M fee might be spent on the employees who actually did the work?

Anonymous said...

Quit Whining, with as much $$$$$ as you likely make take go down to Smiths and buy some bottled water for work.

Anonymous said...

"Did LANS ever consider that some of that $80M fee might be spent on the employees who actually did the work?"

[Snicker]

You're new around here, aren't you, 3:20?

Anonymous said...

"Reminds me of Canned Air Day."

HA! they probably all sat around with the canned air and got high! was this about the same time the new drug testing rules came out? reminds me of this mug shot...an oldie but goodie.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/mugshots/tribettmug1.html

Anonymous said...

This business of "allowable costs" has some extreme idiocy. About 20 years ago, business cards were not an allowable cost. SO, we printed our own. Some of us gave ourselves high-level titles.

This, of course, was nonsense. Eventually the DOE got smart on this one.

Anonymous said...

4/1/09 5:00 PM "This, of course, was nonsense. Eventually the DOE got smart on this one."

Not really, all you need is group leader approval. Oh, that is a big change.

Anonymous said...

Lighten up, morons. This is part of the "green" campaign that is sweeping the country. Expect more of this in the private sector too. I think San Fran already bans these in the city, or at least in city-run facilities and people paid by the city dollar. It is being pushed by greens, left wingers, and the Obama administration.

Try cracking open a new paper once in a while. Not everything is some deep and dark LANS conspiracy to take away what you think you are entitled to have.

Anonymous said...

But we're *entitled* to whine. We're special. We're the Best and the Brightest.

And we're *not* morons. We're Number 1!

Also, how about getting us some day care around here...

Anonymous said...

99% of the buildings have unsatisfactory cooling and undrinkable water supply.

Oh, please, give me a break. In 20 years at LANL working in a half-dozen divisions and visiting three or four times that many buildings maybe once I didn't have potable water and most even had a chilled water fountain...even 58 year old CMR.

Complaining about dropping this ridiculous waste serving most buildings really shows how reflexive the whiners are on this blog and how low they make signal to noise ratio.

How about something that really makes a difference--like a travel system that doesn't take days to figure out how to make a reservation or file a travel report?

How about an award fee structure that doesn't enrich the politically connected Bechtel family while laying off workers and undermining national security work?

How about janitorial service that is allowed to work often enough to keep the bathrooms clean and pays their people a reasonable wage and doesn't screw them over when the lab is closed due to weather?

Really...bitching about losing almost completely unneeded 5-gallon bottled water and coolers as if LANL workers are dieing of thirst is pathetic.

Anonymous said...

"Also, how about getting us some day care around here..."

nobody gives a sh*t about that here b/c it has been and will remain a wasp male-dominated lab. men have babies too, but caring for children is "woman's work". look around, the average age is hitting 55...at that point, they don't care about child rearing.

if you want something that "liberal", go to bnl. they understand the need and provide quality child care.

Anonymous said...

"How about something that really makes a difference--like a travel system that doesn't take days to figure out how to make a reservation or file a travel report?"

You are an idiot if you can't figure that out. Why don't you take your rant to your group admin, I'm sure that they love you in that office. Are you still having problems with the LA-UR process too?

Anonymous said...

6:49 PH, shut up Mary Neu - you idiot - all you care about is your bonus, making sure your husband Runde, you PD Gaunt and your go-t-slave Taw are all covered. Go take a run and get hit by a car or something.

Frank Young said...

Problems with the LA-UR process? That sounds interesting. Can you elaborate?

Anonymous said...

A more severe Green Wake-Up Call:

Obama to Hold Global Anti-Energy Forim Next Month in DC

Already this year democrats scrapped oil and gas leases in Utah, permanently banned drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and nixed offshore drilling.
Democrats won´t allow nuclear energy.
Democrats won´t invest in clean coal.

For decades, Democrats have blocked efforts to responsibly develop this nation´s energy resources, transforming vast areas of opportunity into "The No Zone."

Over the past 30 years:

Democrats have blocked the development of new sources of petroleum.
Democrats have blocked drilling in ANWR.
Democrats have blocked drilling off the coast of Florida.
Democrats have blocked drilling off of the east coast.
Democrats have blocked drilling off of the west coast.
Democrats have blocked drilling off the Alaskan coast.
Democrats have blocked building oil refineries.
Democrats have blocked clean nuclear energy production.
Democrats have blocked clean coal production.

Obama and the Democrats have prohibited the country from tapping into doomestic energy reserves foor decades. So it only makes sense that he would hold an energy forum next month in Washington, DC.
CNN reported:

President Barack Obama has iinvited the leaders of 16 major economies to Washington for a forum on energy and climate next month, the White House announced Saturday.

Obama, who recently turned his attention to the need for more clean-energy funding, has also asked U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to attend.

The preparatory session is scheduled for April 27-28, the White House said in a statement. It seeks to "generate the political leadership necessary" for a successful outcome at the U.N. cliimate change negotiation to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December.

"The preparatory sessions will culminate in a Major Economies Forum Leaders´meeting," to be held in July in La Maddalena, Italy, the statement said.

Aside from the United States, the 16 other major economies are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Maybe someone will talk Obama into using America´s own reserves for energy?
That would be a good start.

Posted By Gateway Pundit At 3/29/2009 01:18:00 PM

(http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2009_03_01_archive.html)

PS. Shouldn´t the water cooler(s) be part of the business protocol, and/or business manner towards the employees of LANS, LLC at LANL? (I naively thought that, I was wrong, but doesn´t the Bechtel HQ in SF, CA, have water coolers?)

PPS. The color green is essentially worn by non-adults, i.e. the more green you are, the more of an (extreme) environmentalist you would be. (I prefer black, red, white, and blue.)

Anonymous said...

"But we're *entitled* to whine. We're special. We're the Best and the Brightest.

And we're *not* morons. We're Number 1!

Also, how about getting us some day care around here...

4/1/09 6:47 PM"

Buzz off and leave the lab you fucking parasite.

Anonymous said...

Let's see if the bottled water disappears from NSSB.... along with the coffee kiosk.

Anonymous said...

"But we're *entitled* to whine. We're special. We're the Best and the Brightest."

Better and brighter than Mechels. Well that is not saying much, considering that a bologna sandwich is brighter than Mechels.

Anonymous said...

9:36 pm: "Buzz off and leave the lab you fucking parasite."

I'd say the "parasite" is the one who wants the government to buy him/her bottled water to drink, instead of buying it and bringing it to work. What, you're too poor and your arms are broken?? Drink tap water, already. You're special?

Anonymous said...

Up here on the top floor of the NSSB, we all drink chilled bottles of Perrier supplied by LANS. The rest of the peons at LANL can drink toilet water for all that I care. Maybe this move will finally get some more clueless scientists to jump ship so I can stop worrying about how to deal with next year's reduced budget. One can hope.

- Mikey

Anonymous said...

Heck, losing bottle water is just the beginning of the latest morale busting campaign.

Just wait until LANS makes known their upcoming policy to start charging people a monthly fee to park on lab property. That one should really get the employees riled up.

Anonymous said...

And, after the parking meters will come the pay toilets.

Anonymous said...

6:08 PM,

The bottled water comes from a small business in Espanola called The Water Man. They deliver in 5-gallon bottles and pick up the empties. 100% recycled containers. If the Water Man just drove a hybrid, he'd be getting a dang medal from Al Gore.

Mark my words, some LANL ass-wipe is going to get a P2 award next year for taking all of the refrigerant out of our discarded water coolers.

Anonymous said...

From _The American President_. For LANL, subsitute Mike Mallory and Mike Anastasio:

Lewis Rothschild: People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand.

President Andrew Shepherd: Lewis, we've had presidents who were beloved, who couldn't find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. People don't drink the sand because they're thirsty. They drink the sand because they don't know the difference.

Anonymous said...

4/1/09 9:22 PM

Hey Rush, you corpulent retard, time for your morning Oxycontin.

Anonymous said...

Management keeps saying that all the changes we are going through are because we are now a coperation, however you can bet that at real coperations they have bittled water coolers. You can also bet that at Bechtel offices they have bottled water.

Anonymous said...

Didn't anyone notice the date this story was posted?????

Anonymous said...

Install a reverse-osmosis filter and maybe people will drink it.

A plain charcoal filter doesn't help much.

Either that or people will start buying bottled water at walmart and dispose of the trash at work. Hmmm. That's not very "green".

Wait, now LANS will tell people to take their trash home....

Anonymous said...

We already do take a lot of our trash home, including some Lab trash. The rules for throwing away stuff at work are just too freakishly onerous to bother with.

Anonymous said...

Shoot, taking LANL's trash home is nothing new, 10:24. It used to be a fairly common practice:

http://www.parrot-farm.net/lanl-the-real-story/2005/07/americium241-contamination-closes.html

Anonymous said...

Some things never change.

Anonymous said...

Does this bottle water purchasing curtailment mean that LANL's costs will now go down?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Bechtel is going to start marketing bottled water. First they had to dump the old contracts.

Anonymous said...

4/2/09 8:51 AM

Didn't anyone notice the date this story was posted?????


Yes, March 31st.

Anonymous said...

I will personally visit all floors at NSSB as soon as our bottled water disappears to see if the big shits are still having bottled water delivery....

We work in a goddamned trailer without heat and we can't even have bottled water???

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 4/2/09 11:10 AM asks:

"Does this bottle water purchasing curtailment mean that LANL's costs will now go down?"

Yes, and as a reward, my bonus will be increased.

MIKEY!

Anonymous said...

perhaps they're making way for the new breed of scientists coming...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090402/hl_nm/us_science_robots

Anonymous said...

4/2/09 7:30 AM

Thanks for your compliment, and your concern for my health.

First, I tried to broaden the view with warning of the forthcoming Anti-Energy Forum and later adopted policy by Pres. Obama and his Administration, and the Democratic left, i.e. a warning against the global warming tax, and the Anti-Market, and Anti-Consumer view held by Obama and his supporters in Congress, and elsewhere, despite the fact that AGW is only a theory, and not reality.

Second, a critique of the business protocol, and/or business manner of LANS, LLC, i.e. Bechtel, when they will stop provide water coolers towards the employees of LANS, LLC at LANL.

Third, a critique of environmentalists, and their shortcomings to create a rational and sustainable energy policy, and my support for the American flag.

And finally; I like green, i.e. Military Green, the military badge A Lifetime Of Silence/The American Southwest As A Red Star/Behind The Green Door, The Hulk, and the pornographic film "Behind The Green Door."

Anonymous said...

Frank, where is my post? It was posted around 6 PM and a critique of 4/2/09 7:30 AM.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, costs will go down significantly. Especially once the upcoming RIF takes place.

Did you hear that one? Yes, a RIF is coming. Involuntary.

The word is that the Assistant HR division leader, Berny Sikorsky, is heading up some sort of "workforce restructuring". Other word is that Mallory has indicated it's the limit terms who go first.

Yes. Not buying bottled watered will save us some money. So will the RIF.

Frank, please keep up the good work with this blog. It's the only way we can get the truth out, safely. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

1:234 pm: "We work in a goddamned trailer without heat and we can't even have bottled water???"

Just what the hell is wrong with tap water?? You spoiled brat. Yes, of course you can have bottled water - just the government is not going to buy it for you! Grow up! If you don't have heat, blame your Group management, not LANS.

Anonymous said...

4/2/09 7:30 AM

Thanks for your compliment, and your concern for my health.

First, I tried to broaden the view with warning of the forthcoming Anti-Energy Forum and later adopted policy by Pres. Obama and his Administration, and the Democratic left, i.e. a warning against the global warming tax, and the Anti-Market, and Anti-Consumer view held by Obama and his supporters in Congress, and elsewhere, despite the fact that AGW is only a theory, and not reality.

Second, a critique of the business protocol, and/or business manner of LANS, LLC, i.e. Bechtel, when they will stop provide water coolers towards the employees of LANS, LLC at LANL.

Third, a critique of environmentalists, and their shortcomings to create a rational and sustainable energy policy, and my support for the American flag.

And finally; I like green, i.e. Military Green, the military badge A Lifetime Of Silence/The American Southwest As A Red Star/Behind The Green Door, The Hulk, and the pornographic film "Behind The Green Door."

(2nd attempt)

Anonymous said...

"Just what the hell is wrong with tap water?? You spoiled brat. Yes, of course you can have bottled water - just the government is not going to buy it for you! Grow up! If you don't have heat, blame your Group management, not LANS.

4/2/09 8:16 PM"

Well the tap water in my house is fine but the stuff from some of the old buildings smells and tastes just god awfull. I do not trust that plumbing and it is human nature not to drink water that tastes really bad.

What is the differnce between the group management and LANS? Also we are no longer a goverment lab we are a coperation as they keep saying. In most coperations they will at least make sure that workers have bottled water.

Anonymous said...

"Did you hear that one? Yes, a RIF is coming. Involuntary.

The word is that the Assistant HR division leader, Berny Sikorsky, is heading up some sort of "workforce restructuring". Other word is that Mallory has indicated it's the limit terms who go first."

I am not saying that it is not going to happen but why should we believe this? It seems like the budget is good for this year and no one knows about next year, so what would be the motive?

Anonymous said...

This probably isn't a bad thing. I work in W-Division where one of the Group administrator in the NSSB, has her own private supply room, her own private microwave oven, and her own private 10-gallon spring water delivered to her weekly. Good for you Mike Mallory your earning your huge salary and bonus. And you too, Anastasio, you hired him.

Anonymous said...

4/2/09 8:16 PM

There is normally nothing wrong with tap water, but it is bad business protocol, and/or business manner not to provide EXTRA water coolers for your employees. Bechtel is CHEAP.

PS: 4/2/09 8:16 PM; I do belive that the Bechtel HQ in San Francisco, CA, have water coolers? (If not, phone them: (415)768-1234, fax: (415)768-9038.)

Anonymous said...

8"29 pm: "What is the differnce between the group management and LANS? Also we are no longer a goverment lab we are a coperation as they keep saying. In most coperations they will at least make sure that workers have bottled water."

The difference between Group management and LANS is that asshole Group managers can decide to impose restrictions on their employees that are not LANS policy. I've seen it happen often, among my colleagues when I was a Group manager. LANS policy is clearly stated as regards bottled water; it is not an "allowable cost" under the NNSA contract. Haating is another matter. Also, you might want to learn how to spell "corporation." Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

"Did you hear that one? Yes, a RIF is coming. Involuntary." - 8:11 PM

And this surprises people? NNSA has been saying for about two years now that the weapons budget is going to significantly shrink. FY2010 will be the beginning of the process and it will accelerate in FY2011. LANS HR is just preparing for the inevitable.

LANL is going to be much smaller by the time FY2012 begins. HR will probably make many of the important layoff decisions, as LANS (Bechtel) is extremely eager to shrink the number of scientists working at LANL. They are seen as a messy 'cost problem' by LANS upper management. Of course, it was upper management who created this 'cost problem' by letting the overhead rates grow to absurd levels. You've got scientists who eat away at project funding at an average cost of almost $500K per year at current TSM FTE rates! A project's budget doesn't go very far at these extreme rates.

If you can snag one, consider landing a position at one of the DOE labs or even SNL. These labs will all be flush with funding and growth over the next few years as science at both LANL and LLNL slowly dies out. The trend is pretty clear by now, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Of all the things to get angry about since LANS took over, losing the el cheapo bottled water service is the most mundane. Besides, it is NNSA that is enforcing this dumb rule.

Take some time to look around at the serious destruction that is taking place at LANL on a daily basis, courtesy of Congress, NNSA and Bechtel.

At the moment, I don't know of a single scientist at LANL who isn't eager to somehow flee this place and find a saner institution in which to do their research. The crazy policies, extremely high costs and CYA work free safety zone attitudes of management are killing this place off.

Anonymous said...

4/2/09 10:34 PM

I heard T-Div just lost another person to Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

The bottled water is being removed so that it can be replaced with LANS Kool-Aid. Drink up!

Anonymous said...

4/2/09 8:35 PM

You are a cocksucker, you know that, right? And I don't mean that as a compliment, despite what you do in your spare time.

Yes, we all should shun those "environmentalist" bastards who want us to drink clean water.

Perhaps you should stick to the Weekly Standard, even though Bill Krystal has gotten every single prediction wrong for the last 8 years. But what the hell, bury your head in your ass, save the rest of us from your stupidity.

Anonymous said...

To follow up to 9:38 PM, the group leaders at this place are the scum of the earth. They will throw you under the bus to make themselves look good in a heartbeat. Hell, I even heard from a friend of mine in MPA that his/her group leader has been forcing her to illegally use all of his/her sick and vacation time so that the group overhead won't be burdened. How does this get overlooked by the bean-counters who are so worried about T&E fraud, the use of bottled water, the use of LDRD to pay for travel expenses for people who are going to work on the projects, etc? People get in serious trouble for accidentally bringing cell phones into buildings but illegal charging of T&E is ok? Please discuss ...

Anonymous said...

you people are a trip.
this is the first time posting.. but there seems to be a lot of unhappy lanl people.

my suggestion is to QUIT and then you won't be so friggin grumpy.

but then.. you CAN'T do that, right? they pay you too well..

so then my second suggestion is to shut the f* up and quit whining.. at least you HAVE a job.

and regarding the water?

this only makes sense.. economics 101.

if bottled water means so much to you????

have 10 people PITCH IN, and a 5 gallon bottle will cost you each 35 cents...

so for chrissakes.. QUIT YOUR WHINING!!!!

no friggin wonder everyone in new mexico hates lab people.

Anonymous said...

Some of us need to take some samples of the water that comes out of the pipes and have it analyzed.

Anonymous said...

Again, LANS handled this in a stupid, profit-motivated way. They announce that bottled water would no longer be delivered, and THEN they initiate a survey to see what buildings have safe, potable water supplies. These dipsticks announce that any employee with water quality concerns can contact their local ESH person to request a water quality check. In the interim, before we find our building water is not safe (owing to 60 year old lead-soldered pipes), what are we supposed to do? Drink water from the bathroom sink? If the sink isn't working, do we drink from the toilet?

You would think that these idiots would check to see that the water is safe and there are water fountains outside the bathrooms BEFORE they remove the bottled water.

Anonymous said...

"so for chrissakes.. QUIT YOUR WHINING!!!!"

The only thing that made America great are people who "whine" as you say. History has been very unkind to the people who do not "whine".

Anonymous said...

"that his/her group leader has been forcing her to illegally use all of his/her sick and vacation time so that the group overhead won't be burdened. "

This also happened to me.

Anonymous said...

9:47,

Let me make sure I understand you here: whining about having your bottled water supply cut off makes you a great American?

Would you like to take a moment to possibly reconsider your position?

Fool.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 4/2/09 10:58 PM said...

"I even heard from a friend of mine in MPA that his/her group leader has been forcing her to illegally use all of his/her sick and vacation time so that the group overhead won't be burdened."

True. The individual, not the GL, is responsible for his/her funding. All that the GL, DL, AD, etc do is collect the overhead.

This is an obscene situation and I believe that withholding this information from job applicants constitutes fraud.

Anonymous said...

"my suggestion is to QUIT and then you won't be so friggin grumpy.

but then.. you CAN'T do that, right? they pay you too well.."

unfortunately people can't quit b/c they have outrageous mortgages to pay. their home is literally their bear trap. honestly, i would sell my house for a little more than what i owe and get out! luckily, i'm a renter and i'm actively looking for another job.

so the pay isn't keeping people here (obviously if you read this blog for a week), it's the mortgage and the sad state of the real estate market in this town. i'm honestly surprised people aren't talking about burning down their homes, considering foreclosure, bankruptcy, etc. this place needs a clean sweep anyway. i mean come on, $150,000 for a gov't built 50 year old duplex? or worse a quadplex or 8-plex? the absolute worst is the price for mobile homes!

Anonymous said...

Frank,

You may want to see this story.

http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20090327_7575.php

Frank Young said...

Already posted here.

Anonymous said...

"9:47,

Let me make sure I understand you here: whining about having your bottled water supply cut off makes you a great American?

Would you like to take a moment to possibly reconsider your position?

Fool."

Ah, reread the post, read it carefully. We will
make this a teachable moment. Try and see why you are wrong! Now try to resist the urge to post untill you realize why you are the fool. If you are patient this will pay off and could be a good learning experience for you. Most likely you make other foolish remarks in other apsects of your life. This lesson will be valuable for you and everyone else who has to deal with you. We are rooting for you!

Anonymous said...

"True. The individual, not the GL, is responsible for his/her funding. All that the GL, DL, AD, etc do is collect the overhead." (10:23 AM)

Which is why you will rarely find a GL, DL, AD, PAD or even the Director concerned about the high FTE costs for TSMs at LANL. They generally live off the overhead in a well protected class. Funding is a problem they leave for the riff-raff to solve.

From the sound of it, more and more scientist TSMs are currently finding that they are in funding trouble with no place to hide. In addition to this, the recent LANS policy crack down on charge code usage is beginning to hit many of the scientist TSMs very hard. In some cases, they are being forced to use up vacation and sick leave to help cover for their time.

Perhaps this is why rumors of layoffs are again beginning to make the rounds. LANL is getting an extra $212 million in stimulus money for cleanup operations in FY10/11, but beyond this, what is the true state of the budget, particularly in regards to science? This is, after all, a "National Lab", or at least it use to be one before both NNSA and LANS LLC took a crack at destroying it with their gross mismanagement and for-profit greed.

Anonymous said...

If you want the royal treatment, then go work for Google or Microsoft.

At Google, they give their employees free gourmet food at lunch and I'm sure their fridges are fully stock with all sorts of bottled goodies to keep their employees productive and happy.

Places like these actually care about the state of their employees' morale. NNSA does not. It is taking many of the employees at LANL a long time to fully grasp this fact. With the latest dropping of bottled water for LANL staff, Tom D'Agostino is a bit like the Verizon guy who is asking: "Can you hear me now?"

Anonymous said...

"The only thing that made America great are people who 'whine' as you say. History has been very unkind to the people who do not 'whine.' "

Lets see...

1. A rare individual that fights for justice against tyranny, even when it may cost them their life.

2. A narcissistic kvetcher that wants free bottled water.

Yeah, that is pretty much the same thing. Good point.

Anonymous said...

"Lets see...

1. A rare individual that fights for justice against tyranny, even when it may cost them their life.

2. A narcissistic kvetcher that wants free bottled water.

Yeah, that is pretty much the same thing. Good point.

4/3/09 2:12 PM"

Read 12:42PM. Read it over and over again. Than read what you wrote and you will realize that you are an idiot. Off you go and God speed with your task!

Anonymous said...

At last count 73 comments. Let's see. The President wants a nuclear weapons free world. He has the Congress to go along with him. The lab specializes in nuclear weapons expertise. This post generates more conversation than real issues. It's not the management that is solely responsible for what ails the lab. Any outsider reading this post might feel sorry for management. Must be something in the water.

Anonymous said...

Yes, funding is the workers' problem, not a concern of management.

BUT, your GL will get in trouble if there are too many TSMs and TECs charging group overhead because they are unfunded.

I have been told more than once to charge a code that I clearly did not work on. Once I was threatened with being fired when I objected.

Anonymous said...

4/3/09 3:57 PM - sounds to me like any TSM who can't get funding should be fired. GLs have enough to worry about and should not have to worry if their TSMs have funding. These days it is your ass or my ass and guess which one I am choosing to save?

Anonymous said...

"I have been told more than once to charge a code that I clearly did not work on. Once I was threatened with being fired when I objected."

I got you beat! I'm working on a LDRD funded project yet I'm told NOT to charge to that code. Try to figure that one out!

Anonymous said...

Qualcomm in San Diego is like Google. Food at lunch and dinner, free vending machines for all sorts of upscale munchies.

Anonymous said...

Americans alone will spend $16 billion dollars on bottled water this year. 83 % of those bottles end up in our landfills. It takes up to 1,000 years for these bottles to break down. The plasticizers that make the plastic pliable interfere with the chemistry of our bodies and are linked to diseases. My mission is to offer a healthy alternative to all plastic bottled water in NM... Chlorinating the water is to kill bacteria and protect us from disease; however it can be filtered out before it enters our bodies. We don't like tap water because of the taste and smell. Chlorine and the by-products of chlorine are much worse then you think.... If you don't want to drink it then why are you bathing in it? Chlorine will be absorbed into our bodies 100 times faster then drinking 2 liters of chlorinated water per day. There are healthy alternatives to bottled water.
Audrey Jenkins
www.sfbdwater.com

Anonymous said...

"It takes up to 1,000 years for these bottles to break down. "

You mean Jesus could have had bottled water and would never know?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4/3/09 4:41 PM said...

"4/3/09 3:57 PM - sounds to me like any TSM who can't get funding should be fired. GLs have enough to worry about and should not have to worry if their TSMs have funding. These days it is your ass or my ass and guess which one I am choosing to save?"

So which group does this asshole lead?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4/3/09 4:41 PM wrote:

"4/3/09 3:57 PM - sounds to me like any TSM who can't get funding should be fired. GLs have enough to worry about and should not have to worry if their TSMs have funding. These days it is your ass or my ass and guess which one I am choosing to save?"

OK, then what does the GL do if the TSMs have to bring in the work.

Note also that we are NOT allowed to use Group Overhead to charge the time expended in bringing in money. We have to charge our existing programs.

This situation really begs for a serious audit!

Anonymous said...

4/3/09 5:52 PM wrote "So which group does this asshole lead?"

Sounds like more than one from all the posts. In fact, if I were a manager I would be worried about a Binghamtom massacre happening at LANL if peopl are truly being abused in this manner. I really am having a hard time believing senior management and Legal would allow this kind of liability to be taking place. But if so, God please look over this place so that a massacre by an abuse LANL employee does not take place.

Anonymous said...

What's laughable is that water is yet another petty item being promoted as cost savings. I'm sure a lean sigma type has costed it out over the next 50 years. Quite a junk of change, I bet. Compared to...

Let's see, since Becthel took over (June, 2006), the number of Groups at LANL has increased by 25%, the number of Divisions has doubled, as has the number of Directorates. That's a lot of $150K+ salaries (increase of 150 managers), going to all these new managers when the number of total employees is less than in June of 2006. Just one of those managerial salaries would fund water for awhile.

Anonymous said...

I have been told more than once to charge a code that I clearly did not work on. Once I was threatened with being fired when I objected.

4/3/09 3:57 PM

How can this be? Terry Wallace, himself, told us not to do this in our recently mandated charge code online training, so you must be mistaken, 3:57 PM.

Anonymous said...

"These days it is your ass or my ass and guess which one I am choosing to save?

4/3/09 4:41 PM"

Well I am not sure if you real but if so you are being very honest about what is going on.

Anonymous said...

The story and this blog have made the UPI News under the "Odd News" category:


Los Alamos nixes water delivery

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., April 3 (UPI) -- Some employees of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico have complained after the federal government canceled a water delivery contract.

Federal officials ended the lab's contract March 31 with Santa Fe, N.M., business The Water Man after the officials determined that bottled water is not a necessary business expense due to the availability of tap water, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Friday.

"It's a federal requirement that an agency may not use bottled water for employees where water is potable," lab spokeswoman Nancy Ambrosiano said.

The announcement yielded a large number of anonymous posts on Web site LANL: The Rest of the Story.

"We live in a desert and 99 percent of the buildings have unsatisfactory and undrinkable water supply. How much money are they truly saving here?" one poster wrote.

The announcement also means bad news for The Water Man, which manager Rick Maestas said had delivered one or two truckloads of water to the laboratory each day.

"It was a pretty good-sized contract for us," Maestas said.


http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/
2009/04/03/
Los-Alamos-nixes-water-delivery/
UPI-25171238793984/

Anonymous said...

it's also in the SF New Mexican

Anonymous said...

1:53 pm: "At Google, they give their employees free gourmet food at lunch and I'm sure their fridges are fully stock with all sorts of bottled goodies to keep their employees productive and happy.

Places like these actually care about the state of their employees' morale. NNSA does not."

Uh, one small differece: Google is a profit-making corporation that can choose to spend its profits any way it likes. NNSA lives off taxpayer money. Point to a taxpayer who you think should pay for your bottled water or "gourmet food." Jerk.

Your argument is with LANS, which could choose to pay for these things out of its profit regardless of NNSA "allowability." NNSA is not the villian here, unless you think the American taxpayer owes you perks.

Anonymous said...

Poor water man. Lost a contract. Touching story in the New Mexican. Of course, 80% of Northern NM would be out of work were it not for LANL, which the New Mexican would like to see shut down.

What a bunch of hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

Of course, we at LANS could avoid driving a local water supplier out of business, and help out our loyal employees by paying for the water out of our outrageous $80M fee. But, that would mean that I get less bonus, so I think not.

Mikey

Anonymous said...

8:21 PM, F-U

Anonymous said...

"GLs have enough to worry about and should not have to worry if their TSMs have funding."

Umm, no. In fact, GLs rely on the money TSMs bring in to support themselves off of overhead codes. They should be doing everything possible to facilitate TSMs acquiring funding.

Anonymous said...

"4/2/09 10:34 PM

I heard T-Div just lost another person to Microsoft."

Sounds like a gain, not a loss.

Anonymous said...

Only 92 comments on this important topic. Come on 100!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

8:59 pm: "8:21 PM, F-U"

Great response, So erudite. So you are one of the annointed entitled LANL intelligentsia who think the taxpayer owes you a living?

Anonymous said...

The whole thing about people being "forced" to charge vacation and sick is bullshit. The only people who do such things are people like Kiplinger who is too arrogant to work on a program like shared forest. There are lots of programs that need people to work on them. If you are too much of an asshole to get along with the people who work on these programs, then maybe you should not get funded by anyone.

Anonymous said...

"Uh, one small differece: Google is a profit-making corporation that can choose to spend its profits any way it likes. NNSA lives off taxpayer money. Point to a taxpayer who you think should pay for your bottled water or "gourmet food." Jerk.

Your argument is with LANS, which could choose to pay for these things out of its profit regardless of NNSA "allowability." NNSA is not the villian here, unless you think the American taxpayer owes you perks.

4/3/09 8:21 PM"

Jerk? what did you say? Fine we will leave to workelswhere. You think other people will come work for NNSA? Nope. Hey good luck to ya.

Anonymous said...

"4/2/09 10:34 PM

I heard T-Div just lost another person to Microsoft."

Sounds like a gain, not a loss.

4/3/09 9:29 PM

Nope, loss and big one at that.

Anonymous said...

"Great response, So erudite. So you are one of the annointed entitled LANL intelligentsia who think the taxpayer owes you a living?

4/3/09 9:45 PM"

And you think that taxpayer would want to pay you instead?

Anonymous said...

"4/2/09 10:34 PM

I heard T-Div just lost another person to Microsoft."

Sounds like a gain, not a loss.

4/3/09 9:29 PM

You sound like a very bitter and sad little person. Could you enlighten the world on how you came to be the way you are? What happened to you?

Anonymous said...

To 9:45 PM, no I don't think the tax payer owes anyone a living (I pay taxes too), but you seem to think all of us "on the hill" are villians. Nobody ever points a finger at the bastards in charge, and their Nazi manager followers. WHy is that?

Anonymous said...

4/3/09 10:28 PM ...Nope, loss and big one at that.

well, then Terry and Alan are happy since they get more bonus money with each person that leaves LANL!

C Student said...

Per the Federal Acquisition Regulations, bottled water is an unallowable cost per the terms of the NNSA contract with LANS, unless LANS can prove that potable water is not otherwise available. All cost-reimbursement contracts with the Federal Government are likewise subject to the same regulation. Get over your paranoia; no one is singling out LANL. A Fed finally noticed and connected the dots.

Blame your elected officials who wrote and passed the silly law. Or, if you feel so strongly about it, there’s no law against LANS using a portion of its earned fee to provide bottled water to its employees. Talk to them.

Anonymous said...

We have got to get the water tested!

Anonymous said...

4/3/09 10:28 PM ...Nope, loss and big one at that.

well, then Terry and Alan are happy since they get more bonus money with each person that leaves LANL! - 12:29 AM

***

One down and about 2000 more to go. I'll have this place purged of those pesky, costly scientists in no time at all.

The budget will be much easier to balance once this is all done. All LANL really needs is lots of cheap and temporary post docs to do this science stuff.

Have Alan Bishop tell his people that FTE costs will be going higher in FY2010. And set up another online training class where I can harangue employees, once again, about proper charge code usage. That should help speed up the purging process.

Oh, and be sure to reduce the size of those cubicles in the new Science Complex warehouse we're building to house our best and brightest scientists. We need to be absolutely sure that the scientists who are left at this place get the message loud & clear.

- Terry

Anonymous said...

Point to a taxpayer who you think should pay for your bottled water or "gourmet food."

What gourmet food, asswipe? You mean the gourmet food that our senior managers eat while on their "retreats" at Buffalo Thunder resort? That comes from the LANS corporate fee, which is paid by taxpayers.

Or the gourmet food our senior managers eat at home, while they cackle over their million-dollar bonuses every year? The taxpayers paid for those, too.

Or maybe you can even be offended when Mikey eats his McDonald's fries in his Audi that is leased to him by the taxpayers, too.

But no, you're pissed off because the workers at LANL want clean drinking water, instead of the scunge that comes out of our 60 year old pipes. Yeccccchhhh.

Anonymous said...

If someone (or some entity) has earned money from the government, it is not "taxpayer money." It stopped being that when the government payed it out, and the taxpayer has no say in how it is subsequently spent.

Just because you earn less than LANS executives, or choose to lead a less extravagant lifestyle, doesn't mean you have the right to complain.

The original poater (4/3 1:53 pm) was comparing Google to NNSA as employees and implying that because NNSA doesn't provide free "gourmet food" (his phrase) to its employees like Google does, it must not care about morale. Apples and oranges.

Anonymous said...

You would think that with all the money and bonus that Mikey makes as LANL's Director, he could lease his own luxury sport car. The fact that he has the item placed into his LANS contract tells you a lot about the man.

Mikey and his PADs always travel first class on lab travel. Funny thing is, I don't see LANS or NNSA bothering to crack down on that particular expense item.

From what I can tell, this bottle water cancellation was designed by LANS to send some type of message to the troops. It's a way from them to tell their loyal employees "We don't really care about you peons and pissants. LANS/Bechtel is in it just for the money. Got that?" Yeah, Mikey, we hear you loud and clear.

Anonymous said...

There are certain quirks associated with providing services in exchange for taxpayer funds. If you ever suffer from insomnia, a guaranteed cure is to read FAR 31. Buried in there you'll find all the other items that NNSA is also not allowed to reimburse LANS for, courtesy of our elected representatives. Every Federal agency is subject to the same regulations. NNSA did not make this up in order to send LANL employees a message.

I did not play an active role, but I did witness the proceedings that led to the disallowance of bottled water. It was nothing more than the cognizant Contracting Officer recognizing that NNSA is not allowed to reimburse LANS for supplying bottled water to its employees.

The timing had nothing to do with any NNSA or LANS management intent to send a message to LANL employees.

My sense is that half those on here trying to stir crap up are not actual LANL employees. But I'd suggest that LANL employees would be better served by obtaining evidence that their tap water is not potable. I'd bet that such tests are already on-going as part of the safety regs, paid for by NNSA. Get the evidence, and Mr. Maestas should soon be back in business...

Anonymous said...

6:29 pmL "From what I can tell, this bottle water cancellation was designed by LANS to send some type of message to the troops"

Geez how dense can you be?? Have you even bothered to read the other posts or get any information of your own? LANS is simply complying with the Federal Aquisition Regulations that say that bottled water is not allowable. Either rebel against the federal government, or try to get LANS to pay the cost out of their award fee (good luck). Or, try buying your own damn water!

Anonymous said...

"It was nothing more than the cognizant Contracting Officer recognizing that NNSA is not allowed to reimburse LANS for supplying bottled water to its employees." (7:51 PM)

Funny how these same "cognizant Contracting Officers" you speak of can't seem to find any problems with things like 1st class travel for LANS executives or their lavish spending for management "retreats". I guess they are not very cognizant about these types of things, huh?

Anonymous said...

"4/3/09 10:28 PM ...Nope, loss and big one at that.

well, then Terry and Alan are happy since they get more bonus money with each person that leaves LANL!

4/4/09 12:29 AM"

And the name of the big loss is??

Anonymous said...

"4/2/09 10:34 PM

I heard T-Div just lost another person to Microsoft."

Sounds like a gain, not a loss.

4/3/09 9:29 PM

You sound like a very bitter and sad little person. Could you enlighten the world on how you came to be the way you are? What happened to you?

4/3/09 10:44 PM"

Not bitter - realistic. Who would want to work for Microsoft? Only someone who can't cut it anywhere else. It's always a gain to get rid of someone who can't pull his/her weight.

Besides, maybe it's just a rumor with no basis since the name of the lossee has not been published.

Anonymous said...

"Not bitter - realistic. Who would want to work for Microsoft? Only someone who can't cut it anywhere else. It's always a gain to get rid of someone who can't pull his/her weight."

How long have you had your crack problem?

Anonymous said...

"Funny how these same "cognizant Contracting Officers" you speak of can't seem to find any problems with things like 1st class travel for LANS executives or their lavish spending for management "retreats". I guess they are not very cognizant about these types of things, huh?"

I've had jobs where I had to do frequent air travel. It doesn't take that many trips to build an "elite" status with a particular airline to where the airline starts providing most of those perks for free. Most execs are probably well past that point.

But, if you actually care enough to do more than just rant on a blog, and you actually have more than just hearsay evidence that NNSA is somehow paying for either of these things, then take it to LASO or the DOE IG. They're not hard to find, and the IG especially will be glad to talk to you.

I know from my own personal experience that if necessary, they'll even let you remain anonymous, so help us taxpayers out by doing something about it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 4/4/09 6:29 PM said:

"Mikey and his PADs always travel first class on lab travel."

Is that true? Can somebody from travel confirm this?

If so, this is yet another outrage, just like the AIG bonuses.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 4/4/09 6:29 PM writes:

"Mikey and his PADs always travel first class on lab travel."

Of course I travel first class. I deserve it. I am important and earned a large bonus.

MIKEY!


Me too!

TERRY!

Anonymous said...

4/4/09 11:35 PM said

"Not bitter - realistic. Who would want to work for Microsoft? Only someone who can't cut it anywhere else. It's always a gain to get rid of someone who can't pull his/her weight.

Besides, maybe it's just a rumor with no basis since the name of the lossee has not been published."

Perhaps this person does not want his name all over the blog, and his friends and colleagues respect that. But, the previous posters were correct that this is a big loss for LANL. He's going to work at Microsoft's Station Q, which is affiliated with UCSB. Believe me, Station Q is not a place people go who "can't cut it anywhere else." I would say that's a better description of LANL, if fact.

Anonymous said...

Regarding RIF's: How long did you think this gravy-train was going to last? It's over buddy, this next FY will began the RIF process. Expect about a 20% reduction (overall) at LANL with-in the next 4 years.

Anonymous said...

"Mikey and his PADs always travel first class on lab travel."

Is that true? Can somebody from travel confirm this?

-

I have been on several flights to Washington DC where Mike was also on the plane. He always entered with the 1st class seating call and always sat up front. Yes, it's true.

On one flight, I was close enough to the first class seats to see him open his large 17" Macbook and use it to watch movies during the flight and to also look over some budget presentation slides he had made to NNSA (not a very smart idea to be doing in public, in my book). He would benefit by having a 3M privacy screen on that laptop.

Not sure about the seating with the rest of the upper crust at LANL. Anyone else know the story?

Anonymous said...

Hang on, 1:11 PM. Your comments strongly imply that our beloved director is either (1) Using a government laptop for personal entertainment purposes (not allowed), or (2) Using a personal laptop for official business (also not allowed).

Surely you were mistaken.

Anonymous said...

FAR 31.205-46(b): Airfare costs in excess of the lowest customary standard, coach, or equivalent airfare offered during normal business hours are unallowable except when such accommodations require circuitous routing, require travel during unreasonable hours, excessively prolong travel, result in increased cost that would offset transportation savings, are not reasonably adequate for the physical or medical needs of the traveler, or are not reasonably available to meet mission requirements. However, in order for airfare costs in excess of the above standard airfare to be allowable, the applicable condition(s) set forth above must be documented and justified.

Notice that it doesn't say that execs are not allowed to travel first/business class, only that the costs over and above the lowest customary standard are unallowable on a cost-reimbursement contract.

There is no issue here unless those excess costs are being charged to the NNSA contract.

If the first class travel is a perk provided to execs as an award for frequent travel, then there's no enforcible issue.

If the excess costs are payed for by either LANS or the employees, then there is no enforcible issue.

It only becomes and enforcible issue if the excess costs are somehow being paid by with NNSA funds. The LANS earned award fee is not NNSA funds.

If you personally have evidence that the excess costs are being paid with NNSA funds, than I encourage you to take it to the IG.

Otherwise, you're just spreading unsubstantiated rumors on a blog, that you can't expect anyone from NNSA to take seriously...

Anonymous said...

Poster 7:51 PM, 2:12 PM (Mr. "Cognizant Contracting Officer") sounds like he's getting a bit nervous.

Is that you, Mikey? It's OK. Everyone at LANL pretty much thinks of you as a complete failure, but we won't turn you in to NNSA. I'm sure your replacement would be even worse.

Anonymous said...

"Your comments strongly imply that our beloved director is either (1) Using a government laptop for personal entertainment purposes (not allowed).."

Watching a DVD movie on a government laptop is not breaking any rules that I'm aware of, 2:03 PM. However, having a giant screen laptop and using it to look over presentation slides while on a plane is probably not such a hot idea, even if the slides aren't classified. It's not smart to call attention to the fact that you work for LANL or NNSA while traveling.

Anonymous said...

From 4/5/09 5:18 AM: I know from my own personal experience that if necessary, they'll even let you remain anonymous, so help us taxpayers out by doing something about it.

Liar. A couple of people reported the T&E fraud and abuse done by Neu who was forcing group overhead from C-IIAC to pay for her former PD Andrew Gaunt (who she converted to a TSM during a hiring freeze). Nothing was done and she is still in power. In fact, when she found out, she replace our group leader John Gordon with a ass-kissing nit-wit.

Anonymous said...

2:1`2 pm: "There is no issue here unless those excess costs are being charged to the NNSA contract."

Hear, hear. It's about time someone injected some sanity into the posts here. One could only hope that LANS would consider the "excess costs" of bottled water to be worth the expense to the corporation.

Anonymous said...

4:46 pm : "It's not smart to call attention to the fact that you work for LANL or NNSA while traveling."

Coward! I remember when the briefcases provided to all LANL employees proudly carried the LANL logo. I carried mine on all LANL travel, and also personal travel, up until I retired in 2007. I still take it sometimes, especially if I go to a place where the nuclear weapon business is held in poor esteem.

Anonymous said...

Now that's just rich. You don't even know who I am, who I work for, what I do, or the circumstances surrounding my case, yet you're calling me a liar?

FWIW I believe you about timekeeping fraud running rampant and LANL. I know that's true, even if I don't know anything about the specific case you described.

Some of the other stuff on here though is just good(?)-intentioned folks spouting off about things they think they know, but once all the facts are laid out, they don't really know what they think they know. Bottled water, anyone?

I've seen it played out too many times: People reporting that they heard a story about someone who had an uncle who worked with a guy that might have seen the boogey man. So it has to be a fact, right? And now you want me to investigate behind every corner looking for the boogey man. Well, I've had enough of chasing your faceless boogey man, so excuse me if I am starting to think the boogey man is nothing more than a figment of someone’s uncle’s co-worker’s drug-induced hallucination. However, if that boogey man is bothering you so much, then please bring me a picture of that damn boogey man, preferably with his hand in the cash register. Now that would be something I could work with... ;-)

However, I should warn you that if you do bring me the picture of the boogey man, you run the risk of pissing off his sister, Medusa, who happens to be your boss. She may just figure out that you're the rat, and that you’ve always had it in for her and her brother; and she will probably do everything within her power to make your life a living Hades. If we’re able to build a solid enough case, in the end it should still all work out for you. But you do need to ask yourself, are you man enough to do the right thing, regardless the consequences? If not, then just keep the picture of the boogey man to yourself, and continue to pull down your secure paycheck. I’ve got more than enough other boogey men to chase after.

Cornbread said...

Not an allowable cost? WTF? Weak wea aregument. When it was UC that aregument could not be made, but this is a for profit contractor, and they are on a fee based contractor. There is no unallowability about providing water. It is all about greedy fucks wanting that extra dollar in their paycheck.

Shitty people man.

Cornbread said...

You're supposed to be educated people?

Anonymous said...

Cornbread-for-brains: We're talking about the Federal Acquisition Regulations, that are included by reference in every government contract. They actually exist, and they specifically address the unallowability of providing commercially purchased water to employees where potable water is available. You could look it up, if you could figure out how.

Anonymous said...

Mikey's sycophant wants us to look up the FAR's.

Fine, here they are:

http://www.acquisition.gov/far/current/pdf/FAR.pdf

More in a moment.

Anonymous said...

More on the Boogey Man 101: Some here have claimed that they saw "Mikey" fly first class. Well, I have chased this type of boogey man before, and I would be surprised if a person of "Mikey's" position wasn't flying first class. Of four potential scenarios, three are perfectly okay:

1)the airline provided the perk for free (I've found this to be the most likely);

2)LANS paid for the difference over comparable coach with its earned fee money; or

3)"Mikey" personally paid for the difference over comparable coach.

The fourth? The cost difference over comparable coach was booked to LANL G&A, which in turn is allocated to NNSA or other federal programs. This would be the only scenario that is a real boogey man. Therefore, it's not enough to simply say, "I saw "Mikey" flying first class." To that I would simply respond, "I would expect so." But if your statement also includes a photocopy of the accounting entry that shows the cost of "Mikey's" ticket over comparable coach being booked to LANL's G&A, then we'll actually have a boogey man.

Same goes for employee retreats where LANL related issues are the primary topic. It's perfectly legal unless you can show evidence that retreat costs booked to NNSA programs include strippers, drugs, or booze. Aside from the facts that discussing LANL gives us all the urge to get stoned, and now we would all be really pissed that we weren't invited, FAR specifically allows reasonable retreat costs, but disallows the other types mentioned. So don't expect me to hyperventilate about the retreat boogey man unless you can show me a related accounting entry that also booked strippers & booze to LANL G&A.

Hope this helps in y'alls ongoing search for the boogey man...

Anonymous said...

I've searched all 1951 pages of the FAR and found zero occurrences of these phrases:

"bottled water"
"tap water"
"potable water"
"drinking water"

In fact, of all the occurrences of "water" in the FARs, none are related to beverages. So, it seems to be quite a stretch when you say that the FARs disallow LANS buying bottled water when potable water is available.

But I'll keep looking... because I care.

Anonymous said...

Mikey's butt-boy mentions Section 31 of the FARs as the source for the alleged unallowability of bottled water. Section 31 is "Contract Cost Principles and Procedures" and subpart 31.2 deals with contracts with commercial organizations.

(What can I say, I had insomnia and was feeling pissy at the same time).

So... here we go (page 740):

"31.205-13 Employee morale, health, welfare, food service,
and dormitory costs and credits.
(a) Aggregate costs incurred on activities designed to
improve working conditions, employer-employee relations,
employee morale, and employee performance (less income
generated by these activities) are allowable, subject to the limitations
contained in this subsection. Some examples of allowable
activities are—
(1) House publications;
(2) Health clinics;
(3) Wellness/fitness centers;
(4) Employee counseling services; and
(5) Food and dormitory services for the contractor’s
employees at or near the contractor’s facilities"

So far so good... based on the comments in this thread we can say that bottled water promotes employee health and morale. Later on the same page, we find this excerpt:

"(d)(1) The allowability of food and dormitory losses are
determined by the following factors:
(i) Losses from operating food and dormitory services
are allowable only if the contractor’s objective is to
operate such services on a break-even basis.
(ii) Losses sustained because food services or lodging
accommodations are furnished without charge or at prices
or rates which obviously would not be conducive to the
accomplishment of the objective in paragraph (d)(1)(i) of this
subsection are not allowable, except as described in
paragraph (d)(1)(iii) of this subsection.
(iii) A loss may be allowed to the extent that the contractor
can demonstrate that unusual circumstances exist such
that even with efficient management, operating the services
on a break-even basis would require charging inordinately
high prices, or prices or rates higher than those charged by
commercial establishments offering the same services in the
same geographical areas. The following are examples of
unusual circumstances:
(A) The contractor must provide food or dormitory
services at remote locations where adequate commercial
facilities are not reasonably available.
(B) The contractor’s charged (but unproductive)
labor costs would be excessive if the services were not
available.
(C) If cessation or reduction of food or dormitory
operations will not otherwise yield net cost savings."

So, as I read this, the reason the Lab can't supply free bottled water ("operate at a loss") is because they operate the other food services (cafeteria and vending machines) as a for-profit operation rather than on a break-even basis.

Can our FAR buddy confirm whether this is the logic that was applied when LANS cut off our bottled water supply?

Anonymous said...

6:31, DOE meal policy does not allow any group of LANL employees including management, to charge meals to Lab operating funds. So this cost had to have come out of LANS award fee.

Which brings us back to the real point: Why not buy bottled water for the other 9980 employees at this institution out of our award fee, you stingy bastards?

Anonymous said...

Good grief, 6:55, you're an animal, but no need to over analyze it:

d)(1) The allowability of food losses are determined by the following factors:

(i) Losses from operating food services are allowable only if the contractor’s objective is to operate such services on a break-even basis.

What does "allowable only if...break-even" mean to you?

To me it means LANS must intend to charge someone else besides the Feds enough money to cover the costs of providing the water. If LANS isn't charging somebody else, then LANS does not intend to break-even, and it's not allowable.

A demonstrated lack-of-potable-water would qualify as an unusual circumstance under the iii.A. exception.

Crap. Now I need a nap.

Anonymous said...

6:58 pm: "Which brings us back to the real point: Why not buy bottled water for the other 9980 employees at this institution out of our award fee, you stingy bastards?"

Hooray!! Finally someone distills this issue to it's core and succinctly at that. The NNSA won't pay - LANS doesn't care enough to pay. End of story (one can only hope).

Frank Young said...

Thanks to the reader who posted the FAR link ( http://www.acquisition.gov/far/current/pdf/FAR.pdf ) and did all the research. I downloaded a copy and it says right on the cover page that the regulations were issued in March of 2005. If the cost of water is unallowable now then it probably has been for the last four years. Woops.

Anonymous said...

"3)"Mikey" personally paid for the difference over comparable coach."

Oh, brother. And I suppose you also believe in magical Ewoks, too?

A rash of staunch LANS defenders have been descending on this blog of late. I guess it's all part of LANS psy-ops, but it looks rather foolish.

Anonymous said...

12:56, you need to get over your paranoia, I don't work for LANS, and I'm certainly not a LANS defender. But I'm not necessarily trying to undermine them either.

Per my job description, I'm not allowed to have friends or enemies; otherwise I have to recuse myself for the lack of independence/objectivity. I have reviewed exec travel at a least a 100 different organizations. LANS is not one of the 100, yet, and I have not said that it was. And yes, I have seen cases were execs personally pay the difference for their first class travel. I didn't say that I believe this is what "Mikey" is doing. My professional guess is that "Mikey" travels frequently enough that his Gold or Platinum status gets him that perk for free.

Do you have evidence of something different? Then spill it. I'd like to hear what that might be.

There is a lot of crap on this particular thread from people who are all spun up about things that add up to nothing. I'm trying to at least give you all enough information so that you'll know where the line has actually been crossed, where you'll get someone from the outside to care. But so far, you've got nothing.

Anonymous said...

Funny stuff.... oh crap... it's after 3:00 PM and I'm still at the labs killin time!!! I'm outta here!!!