May 12, 2009

How chintzy is LANS management, you ask?

A reader sent this today:
May 4, 2009
Fee for announcements
What is driving the $51.50 charge to place announcements on the internal Laboratory site? This used to be a free service. A fee strikes me as counter to effectively promoting and communicating Laboratory-wide information, successes, and resources—something that ought to be as easy and elegant as possible. Is there truly a significant cost impact to publishing these links that it now has to be covered by a fee?
--Robert Kramer

May 5, 2009
Response to fee for announcements
Institutional funding for this service ended recently. The Communication, Arts, and Services (IRM-CAS) Web team, which has been posting the announcements, decided it was important to continue the service; however, the team works on a recharge basis only, so it has to charge a basic fee for this service.
--Lilly Anaya
[Note: The blog does not charge to publish announcements. And you can bypass the Communications Office!]


Anonymous said...

Of course, pay toilets and parking meters are in our future. Except that Mikey will have his own parking space and crapper.

Anonymous said...

All kidding aside, it would not surprise me if the parking spot and executive washroom are already in his contract.

Anonymous said...

It gets worse. Mike Anastasio held a little celebration for a project team whose efforts had netted LANS something like $400K in fee. He bought them breakfast burritos.

Pretty decent, huh? But when they arrived he told them "You each get half a burrito."

Anonymous said...

This should be shown to any job applicant. The business about sharing a burrito is an embarrassment.

Mikey has no shame!

Anonymous said...

Kevin won't mind if announcements that previously had been made on LANL WWW infrastructure are now made on the LANL, The Rest of The Story blog.

Will you, Kev? View it as a way to grow, as a community. Spread the work load around. Pull together. Demonstrate how much LANS has become a part of LANL society.

Fuck, with bullshit like that *I* could work in the LANL communications office.

Anonymous said...

This is how LANS claims to reduce overhead costs. They just push stuff that used to be covered on overhead onto direct project codes.

Anonymous said...

Come on, Kevin: Let's hear some positive spin on this. We haven't heard from you in a while, we're getting a little worried.


Ok, then. How about half-burritos. Can you spin that?



Come on, Kevin! Spin *something* for us...

Anonymous said...

How about that "New" Spot Award Program - what a crock of shit. Those cheap ass bastards sit and say they support the local community but now are giving more business outside in another state.

Anonymous said...

"You each get half a burrito."

They were actually half-eaten burritos, left over from a previous manager meeting.

Anonymous said...

pay toilets? hell.... when does the toilet paper disappear, to be provided by employees?

Anonymous said...

Honestly, if LANS wants to charge lab personnel to place announcements on the internal Laboratory site, I say f*ck-em and start placing your ads on the Blog. You save $51.50 for the country and the taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

I read the posts to this blog regularly and I have to say if what I read here is representative of the type of work force LANL has then I would submit you are all mightily fucked up.

LLNL employee.

Anonymous said...

Also prominently placed on the internal LANL website one can find the announcement that awards for achievements will change; thus no more shiny Nambe-ware but apparently consumer products by online order "ceremonially" delivered by mail to one's home. This would be a great chance to get a personal water-cooler after 25 years of service, for example.

Anonymous said...

OK!, so who is going to have the stones to ask Mikey about this at the next All Hands Meeing?

Anonymous said...

"if what I read here is representative of the type of work force LANL has "

Nope, it's just some vocal malcontents. Much to Doug's chagrin. The comments here have no relevance whatever to the majority of lanl employees

Anonymous said...

Stupid, stupid question, 8:45.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5/12/09 8:48 PM write:

"'s just some vocal malcontents. Much to Doug's chagrin. The comments here have no relevance whatever to the majority of lanl employees"

Did Mikey write this?

Anonymous said...

Kevin, more likely.

Not, mind you, that anyone knows which anonymous post is whose.

Anonymous said...

Will Barack Obama Give Up US´s Nuke First-Srike Capability???

(Wired and Global Security Newswire reporting.)

(, and

PS: Obama´s objective:

(1) Start with giving up US´s nuke first-strike capability, (2) Don´t modernize the nuclear arsenal, and their delivery systems, (3) Don´t modernize the nuclear weapons complex (NWC), (4) Destroy the classic nuclear triad, ICBMs, SLBMs, and (strategic) bombers, (5) Arbitrary strategic arms deals between US-Russia, and between US and other nuclear states, (6) Zero unstable nukes in the world.

Consequence: Giving up US as a superpower, and zero national security in US. (I disagree in this juvenile military doctrine by Obama, and his supporters.)

PPS: LANL: The Rest of the Story will be vaporized as well.

Anonymous said...

To 5/12/09 7:41 PM (supposedly a LLNL employee)

Please keep your flame bait and pathetic posts yourself and get a clue. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Note the Wikipedia entry for 5150 (the cost for this silliness):

Section 5150 is a section of the California Welfare and Institutions Code (specifically, the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act or "LPS") which allows a qualified officer or clinician to involuntarily confine a person deemed to have a mental disorder that makes them a danger to him or her self, and/or others and/or gravely disabled. A qualified officer, which includes any California peace officer, as well as any specifically designated county clinician, can request the confinement after signing a written declaration. When used as a term, 5150 (pronounced "fifty-one-fifty") can informally refer to the person being confined or to the declaration itself.

Anonymous said...

The average TSM at LANL now costs well over $200 per hour when you add in the overhead rates.

Given this figure, paying $50 for an ad on the lab's web site isn't worth bitching about on this blog. It comes close to the the labor rate expense of a TSM who goes to a lab restroom to take a crap.

Of course, some of the slower crappers with constipation problems might end up costing close to $100 or more. Perhaps Mikey should look into supplying free enemas to the staff to help boost the lab's productivity and lower costs. Can I get a Spot Award for that idea?

Anonymous said...

"Can I get a Spot Award for that idea?"


Anonymous said...

Having to pay $50 to "advertise" a meeting is just the tip of the iceberg.

Even Mikey and his ADs are starting to get embarrassed about the high tax rates at LANL. Rather then reduce the overhead rates, they just make many things that should be in overhead rechrage. It's an old shell game and the DOE and GAO should not permit this to go on.

Of course, the DOE is in bed with LANS because anything negative about LANS reflects badly on the DOE.

Anonymous said...

10:38 PM

You missed the point. LANS now costs the LANL budget about $200M per year. That's not chump change, that's a huge hit to LANL's overhead costs and budget. An enormous fraction of the LANL budget is simply wasted by LANS mismanagement. In an attempt to reduce the visibility of this obscene fee and tax burden, LANS is transferring the costs of what used to be paid for out of overhead budget by directly billing LANL sponsors. This simply adds inefficiency as the staff must now find a sponsor willing to pay for these items, come up with a valid cost code, and the budget and financial staff have to process more and more paperwork.

The $51.50 fee is only the tip of the iceberg, it costs far more than that just to process the paperwork.

That's why organizations have overhead cost accounts in the first place - it's more efficient. But LANS cares not about efficiency, they actually care only about hiding their costs and their stunning inefficiency.

If the GAO or the DOE IG would just audit LANS/LANL, they could easily uncover the LANS charade.

Anonymous said...

Charging to advertise meetings is really petty!

Of course, when the overhead groups advertise, the recharge goes against their budget and we pay for it in the overhead!

Anonymous said...

5/12/09 9:23 PM You are the perfect example of what I was alluding to. Thank you for helping out.

Anonymous said...

"5/12/09 9:23 PM You are the perfect example of what I was alluding to. Thank you for helping out.

5/13/09 7:31 AM"

Troll call.

Anonymous said...

Can't we get a real award system with award points?

Emptying own trash: 5 points
Drinking water from old lead pipes: 10 points
Cleaning toilets: 20 points
Picking up trash in acid canyon: 25 points
Publishing a paper in Science: 50 points
Kissing Mikeys ass: 100 points

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5/13/09 10:04 AM has proposed an award system.

But s/he has clearly overvalued scientific publications (they presently rank below cleaning toilets)and GROSSLY undervalued kissing Mikey's ass!

Anonymous said...

it will only fly if the reward system includes hanging out in hot rocks for an hour (or two) twice a day, taking a 2 hour lunch, and talking on the phone for another hour afterward.

come on, the average lanl employee only works on average 2 hours a day, if that. scrubbing toilets is NOT on the agenda.

Anonymous said...

The lab's web page recently had some excerpts from Mike's latest All-Hands meeting. Did anybody read these excerpts?

According to Mikey, enthusiasm and morale are LANL are running high, cost efficiencies are working and the lab is doing a swell job in diversifying the project mix!

Mike not only needs to be drug tested. He needs to be subjected to a lie detector test!!!

Anonymous said...

Looks like more job attrition at the NNSA labs will be required in the outlying years to help pay for all the new requirements listed in this USA Today article. Congress won't be adding any new money to help pay for it. Perhaps it would be wise to plan on seeing LANL downsized by over 50% by the time this "complex transformation" process is over:

U.S. warhead disposal in 15-year backlog (USA Today, 05/13/09)

By Peter Eisler, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — President Obama plans deep new cuts in the U.S. nuclear arsenal at a time when the government faces a 15-year backlog of warheads already waiting to be dismantled and a need for billions of dollars in new facilities to store and dispose of the weapons' plutonium.

The logjam of thousands of retired warheads will grow considerably based on a promise made in April by Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to get their stockpiles far below levels set by current disarmament pacts.

Yet much of the infrastructure needed to dispose of those weapons don't exist yet, according to federal audits and other records reviewed by USA TODAY.

Dismantling the retired warheads — not counting the additional weapons that Obama wants to eliminate — will take until 2024, according to the National Nuclear Security Administration, which runs the weapons program. The schedule for disposing of the plutonium cores from those weapons runs past 2030.

Building the necessary plants and storage facilities "is expensive … (and) is going to take a long time," says Linton Brooks, a former arms negotiator who headed the nuclear security administration from 2002 to 2007. "That doesn't stop the president from taking more warheads off missiles and bombers and (adding to) to the backlog. It means the queue gets a lot longer."

Anonymous said...

5/13/09 7:31 AM I'll take the bait. Don't think so, I work at LLNL. I submit we are all "mightly fucked" or you haven't been around that long. Don't need some dumbass management type from LLNL chiming in off thread
(I'll shut up now, sorry).

Anonymous said...

Wow. It costs $51.50 to make an announcement! No wonder Google is so rich!

How on earth can anyone use up $51.50 PER POST to set up a web page that takes announcements? The mind boggles.

They need to get out there and hire a middle school kid to run the web page for announcements.

Anonymous said...

8:57 pm: "How on earth can anyone use up $51.50 PER POST to set up a web page that takes announcements? The mind boggles."

Actually, it is quite easy to imagine. The hourly cost of the actual person doing the posting, plus overhead, management cut, and cost of maintaining the web site (including security costs). Add in the obligatory "review, editing, and approval" and you are there.

It is not just TSMs who are outrageously expensive at LANL. All the mouths in the institution need to feed at the trough. Suggestion: create your own email distribution and forget public announcement.

Anonymous said...

The outrageous cost model at LANL is being stretched to the limit. It will not hold for much longer. Many lab budgets are already in bad shape going into the final months of this fiscal year. Next fiscal year is going to be even worse unless desperate actions are taken. Minor attrition won't cure this patient. A more drastic level of action will likely be required before FY2010 comes to an end.

Anonymous said...

The big money involved with managing LANL is in future plant and production activities, and not in science. Don't believe me? Then look at these figures that Frank Munger over at Knoxville News posted on the fast growth in Y-12 management fees paid out to BWXT vs. the meager increase in fees paid for running ORNL:

Contractor fees: ORNL vs. Y-12, science vs. weapons - Knoxvill News (April 30, 2009), Frank Munger

Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex, two major facilities seven miles apart, have their similarities and their differences.

They are similar in employment and budget. Each has about 4,200 employees or thereabouts, with annual budgets that fluctuate in the range of $1 billion (ORNL somewhat above that figure, Y-12 somewhat below it).

Differences. Well the biggest one may be their missions. ORNL focuses on energy research, while Y-12's main mission is work on nuclear weapons.

Another difference is the annual fee paid to the managing contractors -- UT-Battelle (a partnership of the University of Tennessee and Battelle Memorial Institute) at ORNL and B&W Y-12 (a partnership of Babcock & Wilcox and Bechtel National) at Y-12.

Both of the contractors arrived on the Oak Ridge scene in 2000. B&W (then called BWXT) has always earned more money than UT-Battelle, but the difference has grown dramatically over the years. B&W's annual fee has nearly tripled since arrival, while UT-Battelle's hasn't even doubled.

Here are the year-by-year fee stats for each, since FY 2001 (the first full contracting year):

B&W Y-12

FY 01 $16,135,572
FY 02 $19,312,689
FY 03 $21,188,511
FY 04 $24,885,190
FY 05 $27,486,790
FY 06 $31,534,585
FY 07 $37,772,999
FY 08 $46,246,842

UT-Battelle (ORNL)

FY 01 $6,654,200
FY 02 $6,654,200
FY 03 $6,619,900
FY 04 $6,619,900
FY 05 $8,499,000
FY 06 $10,379,000
FY 07 $10,379,000
FY 08 $10,058,000

Note how the management fee at Y-12 has increased from $16 million to $46 million during the last 8 years.

Both Bechtel and BWXT know this all too well. That's why they have little concern that science at LANL is slowly dieing. Any increase in future management profits at LANL will be found in areas other than scientific research, as these figures clearly demonstrate. Science at LANL will continue to whither and die if a for-profit LLC is allowed to run this "lab". I think NNSA knows this to be true, but could care less about the outcome.

Anonymous said...

To add to the dumb-ass demands here, ADSS and CT are requiring all of their part-time people to either go 80-100% or leave (internally or the Lab) - what's the point behind it? No one seems to know for sure...

Anonymous said...

Geeze, ORNL is still being run for only a little more than the $8 million that UC originally got for managing LANL as a non-profit entity. Those were the good days, for sure!

Bechtel and BWXT are here to rip off as much cash as they can from this place. They care little about LANL's long term future. And UC? They have apparently left the auditorium and won't be coming back.

Anonymous said...

Let's be fair about this, 12:00. UC *richly* deserved to lose the LANL contract after 63 years. They lost it fair and square.

UC was completely and totally incompetent when it came to identifying and correcting problems at the lab as they developed over the years. As you know if you worked at the lab during the UC era, they provided no management services at all. The Director was a UC employee, but that is where UC's involvement with the running of the lab stopped. How else to you think LANL got to the state it found itself after the Nanos debacle in 2004?

LANS is worse than UC, no argument there. UC was incompetent by way of total inaction. LANS is maliciously, actively incompetent.

Anonymous said...

The PT issue is also about money. Why waste office space and training etc on a part-timer? CT Division is totally hopeless and inept whether they have part-timers or not.

Anonymous said...

"LANS is worse than UC, no argument there. UC was incompetent by way of total inaction. LANS is maliciously, actively incompetent. (12:17 PM)

Poster 12:00 PM here. I totally agree with that statement. Given a choice between the two, however, I would much prefer to go back to LANL management by an inactive UC landlord. Inactive management is far better than being run by a malicious and actively incompetent management team. To make matters worse, instituting this so-called "improvement" ended up costing the LANL operating budget almost $200 million each year!

In my dreams, I have visions of a non-profit like Battelle Institute being allowed to come in and run this place as a non-profit. They seem to do a credible job running many of the DOE energy labs and have a sincere interest in seeing science thrive. Alas, LANL appears to be doomed and is destined to be run into the ground by the likes of Bechtel and BWXT. It's a sad, sad tale.

Anonymous said...

12 pm, Clearly, someone in DC is being off and the others are looking the other way. So much for Obama looking to save money, seems like Bechtel paid him off as well. Interesting that he wants to cut "Lab budgets" but not the outrageous fee for those organizations who "operate" those Labs, eh?

Anonymous said...

I guess that contributors to this blog may not be representative of the community, but the tenor seems familiar. I was a scientist and lived in Santa Fe but after a while my wife, never a LANL employee, refused to visit in Los Alamos because each party or get-together degenerated into back-biting and personal attacks on managers and co-workers. We had socialized with scientists before I worked at the lab and my wife now pointed out that our friends, before we moved to New Mexico, seemed to talk about and take pleasure in their work.
My point is-Why isn't anyone discussing their work? I fear that they see the same lab that I did. LANL depends on pork barrel and only a few staff can write a competitive proposal, if anyone is familiar with that concept. Since I've left, I've experienced a few other research labs and there is nothing like LANL! Programs make sense and last more than a few years. When secrecy is not used as a tool, illegitimate programs are exposed and fail so that there is a natural refinement of programs and personnel. People rarely get promoted after failed programs even after they created large budgets. In conclusion, I suggest you look at yourselves before you start blaming others!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 5/15/09 6:08 PM asks: "Why isn't anyone discussing their work?"

There are two reasons.

First, if the work is classified, you many not discuss the work except behind the fence and then only with a person who has a "need to know."

Second, for those of us working in unclassified areas, there really isn't much work to discuss. Too much of the workday is consumed with being safe and secure.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 5/15/09 6:08 PM says:

"People rarely get promoted after failed programs even after they created large budgets."

Clearly this person has never worked at a government lab or contractor. If you get the project done on time and in budget, they stop giving you money. BUT, if you have a major cost overrun, then your employer gets more money. That is the path to promotions!

Anonymous said...

to 6:08 PM: preach on brother! your wife hit the nail on the head about this place. while this attitude can be found in most sciences, lanl had turned backstabbing into an art form (see the recent jackie kiplinger discussions). i'm glad you got out when you did. and i agree, rather than generating useful dialogue between colleagues and coworkers to bring about good science, the lanl staff will listen to the idea then mock you in private, "ha ha! that idea is the worst i've ever seen b/c a, b, and c!"

i find pleasure/comfort in reading dilbert. wally was featured today and as one commenter put it, he has "shown that he once had a soul, cared, was disappointed one time too many. The corporate culture crushed Wally to the point of where he no longer cared about anything." the similarities are uncanny! good luck with your future endeavors.

Anonymous said...

8:09 .... lanl had turned backstabbing into an art form (see the recent jackie kiplinger discussions).

maybe after all the horrible things she has done to lanl and to people at lanl, she deserves it and more. i contend she is one of the reasons lanl lost the UC contract and has LANS now

Anonymous said...

"maybe after all the horrible things she has done to lanl and to people at lanl, she deserves it and more. i contend she is one of the reasons lanl lost the UC contract and has LANS now

5/17/09 5:53 PM"

5:33PM, you are insane, get help now. I am serious. This obsession of yours can only end badly. It is going from pathetic to downright creepy.

Anonymous said...

"i contend she is one of the reasons lanl lost the UC contract and has LANS now"

Mikey should get her a sports car.

Anonymous said...


Experiencing sexual inadequacies sometimes makes one a little crazy.

Or, in your case, a lot creepy. Please go away.

Anonymous said...

This week the former days of chemistry at TA-21/INC-4 was celebrated and the posts regarding LANL back-stabbing reminded me of how Carol Burns was brought in as an JRO fellow and a female at that. She kicked ass and took names and her male colleagues were also intimidated and called her a bitch-on-wheels, second-rate, she got the job because she was a woman, brittle, etc. Burns has become an internationally recognized actinide scientist and a powerhouse in DC, the White House and LANL. The critics should eat their words and many flattering remarks were made regarding Carol at the TA-21 festivities.

It is interesting, but history does repeat itself.

The recent attacks on Kiplinger, also a woman chemist, reminded me of the days at TA-21. How sad that we have not come so far. I hope Kiplinger follows in Burns' footsteps. From what I have seen from the Blog, she certainly has scared a few of her male colleagues. You go girl!

Anonymous said...


From what I have seen from the Blog, she certainly has scared a few of her male colleagues."

Not to mention having scared the poo out of at least one "colleague" possessed of a somewhat more ambiguous persuasion.

Anonymous said...


Are you trying to suggest that Dr. Kiplinger isn't the real "bitch" here?

Anonymous said...

To follow in the great words of 1988 US Democratic vice-presidential candidate Senator Lloyd Bentsen, Dan Quayle is no Jack Kennedy...

and I contend that Doc Aq is by no means a Carol Burns and never will even come close.

Anonymous said...


Yes. There is an interesting subtext to the whole "Doc Aq." business that would actually make a pretty good soap opera.

If you're into that sort of thing, that is.

Anonymous said...

8:30 PM, yes, all female scientists are "bitches" and all male scientists are "assertive". I think we all took this lesson in sexual harassment classes. What is your point?

Anonymous said...


Your response was so "80's". You left out a category that I'm sure somebody, somewhere now teaches in their sexual harassment class.

To whit: "Not all bitches are female."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

8:19 PM, As Lloyd Bentsen pointed out to Dan Quayle "you are no Jack Kennedy"

to wit I say, Kiplinger is no Carol Burns (a Lab Fellow and all around class act)! And NEVER will be.

Anonymous said...

Yes, 9:06 until she takes the hint from RC-1 and goes away...lab space is much too valuable to be wasted on no funding and nothing being produced.

Anonymous said...

Oh for fucks sake, 9:07 PM, all this because she applied for a Sci 4 position in MPA-MC, which was cancelled after she was the ONLY applicant? Good grief, as numerous posts have previously indicated, you are a little prick and I am truly bothered if you are a group leader.

Anonymous said...

No, 9:04, and not all men are big sexist, shovanist dicks are men like you.

Anonymous said...

9:30 pm: "shovanist"

Huh? Did you by chance mean "chauvinist"? Don't you even bother to stop and think whether your spelling is correct? If not, you obviously don't care how stupid you come off. But since you obviously don't read unless forced to, you must be ok with that.

Anonymous said...

9:48, I apologize as English is not my native tongue. Thank you for pointing out my error. You are still a dick, however. I think I got the spelling correct on that one, no?

Anonymous said...

Careful, 9:48.

You run the risk of having a hefty, hairy, unshaven female leg propelling a sturdy Birkenstock-clad foot up your ass.

The infuriated feminist is not a pretty sight to behold.

Anonymous said...

10:09 PM, Ott, tsk, tsk, you just crossed the line and should have kept your mouth shut.

Anonymous said...

10:06 pm, yes, hefty Doc Aq (flamingos call her mamma) is gonna get you. ooh, shudder the thought.

Anonymous said...

"According to Mikey, enthusiasm and morale at LANL are running high..."

Anonymous said...

Frank, perhaps it's time to start exercising your right to censorship, or just call it a day and shut 'er down. The string of playground bullying posts immediately above takes it to an all-time low.

Anonymous said...

"The blog is home to just a few highly vocal malcontents."

--Kevin Roark, 2004.

Anonymous said...

Ott's just in a fouler mood than usual because his precious hydrogen storage project was zeroed out in the FY10 budget. I guess that explains the shit-eating grin on Chu's face while Ott was presenting his poster to the new SecE and posturing about all their recent breakthroughs.

What's that saying now? Oh yeah: Buh-bye, Kevvy!

Anonymous said...

With the lab's ultra high scientific labor costs, funding for many LANL scientists is looking increasingly iffy for next year. NNSA's much hoped for 5% headcount reduction at LANL could be exceeded in FY2010. Get ready to see the beginnings of a hush-hush program of stealth job terminations. What? You think LANS wants to pay out severance for any future layoffs? Nah, not gonna happen with this thread bare operating budget. They'll likely find creative ways to work around the existing policies.

Anonymous said...

Why am I getting attacked here? I have nothing but respect and admiration for Jackie and wish her all the best in her career.

- Kevin Ott

Anonymous said...

11:08 am: "They'll likely find creative ways to work around the existing policies."

Get real. LANS can change any "existing policies" anytime they want. NNSA will either look the other way or find a way to claim it is within the contract.

Anonymous said...

"Why am I getting attacked here? I have nothing but respect and admiration for Jackie and wish her all the best in her career.

- Kevin Ott"

if it is kevin, that sounded sincere. is he always that...cold?