Jul 2, 2009


Anonymous please. HR groups are cutting people. Word is by 3% to 5%. People are being moved out to other operations, and away from the core areas.


Frank Young said...

I wonder which are considered the core areas these days.

Anonymous said...

Internal placement of the highly-valuable HR people is a high priority. After all, we will need them to process the RIFees next year.

However, internal placement of scientists and technologist is not a high priority as it is well-known that they have little value. If, in the future, we should need more of them, we can always get them from Bechtel.


Anonymous said...

My guess is that HR is cutting the people who help us and keeping the others.

When I came to the lab 25 years ago, my interview trip was organized by an HR guy. He (or a subordinate) arranged the travel. Then, I met with him first and he explained benefits, etc.

BUT, 10 years later, when I became a hiring official, none of that support was available. The Group Administrator arranged the travel and I did the explanation of benefits. All that the HR people did was provide some EEO paperwork for me to fill out and then very slowly process the hiring paperwork.

Of course, when I was hired, Jim Jackson, an engineer, was in charge of HR. Since then the HR Director's job has been filled by succession of HR professionals. AND, thus the service has continued to deteriorate!

Anonymous said...

HR doesn't have time to talk to you. Seriously, call them and tell them you want to speak with someone in person about some benefit. They will tell you that you cannot come down because they don't have enough man power and they'll send you a package of the stuff you need to know.

Anonymous said...

NNSA has declared that it wants a 5% attrition rate at LANL for this next year. They won't get it through voluntary exits because the people who could voluntarily leave have already left over the last 3 years (mostly the better quality scientists). We're down to the hard core.

Could this 5% reduction come through a future RIF? No, RIFs would induce expensive severance payouts. LANS has already made it clear that they won't pay out any more severance since it must now come straight out of LANL's thread bare operating budget. Therefore, no RIFs.

What are we left with? We are going to see a flurry of employees who are fired "for cause". LANS will probably expand the "for cause" justifications to terminate these employees. One of the downsides of this attrition method is that unemployment checks cannot be collected when you are fired by an employer "for cause". It also does a lot of damage to the future job search efforts of those who are fired "for cause".

Regardless of this, LANS will follow NNSA orders and do their dirty work. About 5% of the current work force will be marked for termination over this next twelve months. And after that occurs? Probably more attrition will be required in future years. If you think lab morale has hit rock bottom levels, think again.

Greg Close said...

Some facts for review. You draw your own conclusions.

In 2005, LANL Benefits had about 13 or 14 FTEs. Almost all of them were customer service facing employees (i.e. their primary job was service, not administration of benefits, which was done primarily in Oakland at UCOP):
• 2 Rapid Response Desk employees
• 6 Benefit Reps whose sole function was to provide customer service up to and including meeting with people for pretty much any reason (retirement, enrollment, changes);
• 2 Disability Reps, same function as Benefit Reps but focus was on Disability Case Mgt;
• 2 or 3 folks handling systems, eligibility, enrollments;
• 1 Health Care Facilitator
• 1 Team Leader (at the time reported to Group Leader for HR-Service Center)
• Additional overflow support from about 8 or more non-Benefit HR employees who would help cover phones/emails.
• And… an entire office of people in Oakland to handle administrative, compliance, legal and other Plan functions (dealing with carriers, contracts etc.)

In 2009, LANL Benefits has about 15 or 16 FTEs (we’ve actually lost a lot of people, but due to restructuring, it looks like a net gain). Of these, maybe half can be considered customer service facing; the rest of us are management or administrative.
• 1 Rapid Response Desk employee
• 2 Benefit Reps
• 2 Disability Reps
• 1 Leave of Absence/Change of Station specialist
• 2 folks handling systems, eligibility, enrollments in addition to some ERISA compliance oversight not required under UC (ERISA does not apply to public/government orgs)
• 1 person updating forms, communication and shared knowledge
• 1 QA/Compliance/Privacy Official (me, in the interest of full disclosure)
• 1 Project Manager
• 1 Benefit Plans Administrator
• 1 Retirement Plans Administrator
• 1 Team Leader
• 1 Benefit Program Manager/Group Leader (reports up to HR-DO)
• Since 2008, HR-B is self-reliant, with overflow support only for meetings or planned events. All calls and emails are answered 100% by Benefits personnel, now. Call volume hasn’t particularly decreased, but our staffing has.
• Some UCOP functions assumed by Your Benefit Resources and Your Pension Resources (Hewitt Associates administrative functions for retirees and pension administration)

We have about the same number of total people in Benefits, but instead of the majority of that employee pool being focused on direct employee facing service, about half of us are know neck deep (or deeper) in plan administrative functions. Service at the same level and in the same methods we used to offer obviously suffers, even though people are still committed to trying to help – it’s harder for us to get there.

On the plus side, by administering the plan locally at the Lab, we’ve done a good job at managing premiums and cost impacts across the board and have been tweaking the benefits plans (mostly adding bits and pieces) for the past three years. We hope to have more positives this Open Enrollment.

Again, you draw your own conclusions from the data. There are positive aspects and negative aspects. But please don’t oversimplify this into some sort of HR vs. Workforce kind of thing. We’ve taken our own fair share of crap, and sometimes that’s just how it works out – no evil plan is necessarily behind it.

Anonymous said...

HR is useless and worthless. They never answer phone calls. They won't answer questions. They make judgements about classifications and know nothing about science, techlogy or engineering, but if you are a manager, you must get a huuuuuggge salary. Cut the whole lot of them. Bye HR - 5% is not enough.

Anonymous said...

I would guess the core areas are all included in the "PBI Baby" wet dream:
-Environmental Cleanup
-CMRR Construction
-Cyber Security
-Nuclear Safety
-Project Mamagement

That's it...

Anonymous said...

Well what r we going to do Mikey? Oh I got an idea....let's fire one'zzzz and two'zzzzzz ...from here and there.....and nobody will notice...and before you know it ....we'll be 5% leaner....yea, that's the ticket!

Anonymous said...

Cocaine tea anyone??

Anonymous said...

Please stop confusing us with facts, Greg.

Anonymous said...

I think this is due to the recent initiative to transfer ~3% of FTEs out of the indirect funded groups and move them (not their function) to direct funded work. The word in the program office is that the indirect costs will drop by about 3% next year, we will see. I am guessing that LANS will plus up a different cost. At any rate the arrival of these FTEs into programmatic groups should be interesting!

Anonymous said...

LANL really does not need more money.
Too much of our ~$2.2B budget
is squandered.

For instance, the change from UC to LANS management costs about $200M every year.

We have a bloated management structure. With the change in management we went from 4 ADs to 16 plus PADs. Every one of these positions requires staff that are paid for out of overhead.

The number of divisions and groups has nearly tripled. Many groups are as small as 15 people. These managers, plus their deputies, have to attend lots of meetings and take lots of management training.

The computer security business at LANL is out of control and is inhibiting programmatic work. There is no common sense applied to anything regarding security or safety.

LANS has clearly breached its contractual responsibility and the contract should be terminated ASAP!

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see how these HR people will be able to work productively on technical programs. I am betting against much success here as there is significant mismatch of skills.

Anonymous said...

This lab could easily lose 5-10% and make life a lot easier for the people who actually do something. The only problem is that management is clueless when it comes to deciding who is getting work done and who's screwing off on the taxpayer's dime.

I was looking forward to an employer that could fire for cause here. I had hoped that some of the deadwood would start getting their walking papers. But no, it's just not happening and the only people I see leaving are the ones that actually do their job.

Oh well, only one more month for me then I can leave this sick nightmare.

Who is John Galt?

Anonymous said...

The comment by Greg Close makes very clear the problem with HR and other overhead organizations. The first thing cut is service and the first thing added are administrative positions.

I am surprised that employees do not have to use a 900 phone number to contact HR.

Anonymous said...

"Oh well, only one more month for me then I can leave this sick nightmare."

what, no more hand holding and ass wiping for you? quitter! (j/k man, good luck!)

Anonymous said...

They parking meters and pay toilets are coming!

Eric said...

Thanks for the facts.

Anonymous said...

"Oh well, only one more month for me then I can leave this sick nightmare." - 7:45 AM

You possibly have no idea just how many people at LANL envy you and the sweet sound of that statement you made.

I can't think of a single TSM who is happy with this place under LANS (Bechtel). It's dieing. Glad to see at least one more person made it off the sinking ship. Good luck! Don't look back as the waves suck this ship under.

Anonymous said...

I hope I see the day when they transfer that boney-assed Randy Morgan (HR Group Leader). He helped Brent "Elmer Fudd" Knapp transfer about 30 people off the weapon program. The thing that bothers me about this guy is he has no heart and enjoyed "facilitating" this debacle in addition to being absolutely worthless when I tried to find out what the hell they were doing to me. I my case, without informing me, my current Group Leader transferred me to another Group. The Group they moved me to didn't want me either. I only way I found out was looking up my name on Eudora and finding out I was now in another Group. Take heed LANL employees, watch your asses, they are coming to get you, you just don't know when or where and there is no one to help you. No one.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous st 7/3/09 4:54 PMsaid...

"I can't think of a single TSM who is happy with this place under LANS (Bechtel)."

True, but I doubt that anybody above the level of Division Director gives a damn about whether or not the TSMs (or anybody else) is "happy with this place." Nor does the DOE care either.

Anonymous said...

5:46 The wholesale changes Knapp made to uproot the working people in the weapons program are almost certainly illegal. He repeatedly removed qualified individuals from important posts only to replace them with his entourage of yes men. HR had to be complicit or it could never have happened. Welcome to LANS. Learn to kiss your AD's behind or die.

Anonymous said...

The best way to keep jobs at LANL is to have the wasteful county cut gross receipts tax rate(big impact on LANL). Yet another increase was effective July 1 which will put even more pressure to reduce jobs at LANL. We pay for those over built buildings, the new police one is huge, the fire station in White Rock is akin to sin in waste. The Boyer deal is dead which is how we were going to pay for the $75 million in bonds. Its been dead for quite some time but the council has chosen to keep us in the dark because they want to appoint the person responsible for the Boyer debaucle to be the next county top official. If you thought the government was closed before wait until he takes over. I've tried talking to him a few times about Boyer and he slimes around the topic. Look back at his old publications, all the promises made and broken. In most communities that would be cause for discharge but only in our own little LA would it be a reason for promotion. Tell your councilors to reduce gross receipts tax rate and we will be able to keep some of our employees.

Anonymous said...

"Take heed LANL employees, watch your asses, they are coming to get you, you just don't know when or where and there is no one to help you. No one." - 5:46 AM

I smell another wonderful PBI metric achievement. We'll make that 5% attrition rate with ease, one way or another.... Bwaaaah, haaaa, haaaaaa!!!!


Anonymous said...

If the council hires Mortillaro this community will be in an uproar especially our neighbors. what a short memory we have.

The Lummi Indian Tribe has told the city of Blaine it intends to seek $30 million in damages after workers dug up skeletal remains of Native Americans.

Under state law, the city has 60 days to respond to the notice before a lawsuit can be filed.

Workers building a $7.6 million expansion of Blaine's wastewater treatment plant unearthed the remains or more than 40 Native Americans in July. Earlier, officials estimated the remains were of 28 people.

``The actions of the city of Blaine and its agents have caused great emotional distress to the Lummi Nation and its members," the tribe said in its claim, which was sent to the city earlier this month.

The claim seeks $10 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages. Blaine City Manager Tony Mortillaro would not comment.

Earlier this month, tribal representatives asked the city to find a new site for the wastewater plant, and the tribe asked the federal government to place the burial ground on Semiahmoo Spit into trust for the tribe.

Construction was halted last month and an investigation was begun after contractors dug up the remains and failed to notify the tribe.

City officials have acknowledged that the city and its hired archaeologist violated an agreement with the tribe, the state and federal officials by not notifying the tribe of the find and by continuing to work.

Anonymous said...

I do not know the exact number but LANL pays gross receipts taxes of $60 million plus per year. Even at the loaded rate for TSM's, this lets us keep a lot of employees. Notice the county adds employees, never decreases counts. I have had an opportunity to talk with a councilor that I have occasion to work with and he agrees the county is wasteful but feels almost alone when he tries to hold the line.He said they listen to email and comment at public meetings on Tues nights. Write to countycouncil@lacnm.us and ask for answers although even he will not tell me what happened to our retail and restaurants and shrugged when I asked if they were really going to promote the person responsible for this mess.

Having Native American roots I am very upset about the recent posting about the disregard shown by Mortilaro of Lummi remains. I confirmed this is true through a search since the last post did not include a cite.

Does anyone have email address for Gov Leon Roybal of San Ildefonso as he needs to see these articles about Lummi tribe.

Anonymous said...

LOL turns out that it is impossible to separate the lab from the county. The rain and the hail have limited our abiity to pack as we leave a town that has been at times wonderful, and most recently, simply awful. Our town (with total disegard from us) brought in crooks from lans and then crooks into the county.

Thanks to all our friends as we will miss you but hopefully you will consider career positions with my new employer. Be patient, give me a few months, and I will be sending out invitations.

In the meantime, the governing authorities should check out the following:

New lanl systems that make it impossible to get reimbursed fully for travel unless we are willing to spend 4 hours to get back an extra $20 that we spent for legitimate travel (taxis are one such example. Look at the ADs and other reimbursements and see how much alcohol the government paid for, illegally of course.

Keep close vigil on Terry, Mary, Wolfgang (more difficult to keep track of Wolf of course), and Sue. There are many investigations going on currently to understand what happened.

Keep on the county. Even though the lab dumped some pcb's there a few weeks back, the county admits to many that they knew enough not to handle the waste, the transfer station was designed in a way that this caused the most damage possible and at least half the staff on duty were high and/or drunk at the time. Call Regina Wheeler, she will provide the additional details.

Ask the county for the details about the $75 million debt that was incurred with the promise that we would have retail. Smith's bought the plaza that they currently reside in and have no interest in relocating across street. Ask county how long they've known about this and not shared it with us.

Ask the county about why they blindly support LACNM, the covering on rodeo, JJAB, why lab employees represent LANL rather than the county in their capacity on the council and ask Wismer about truth, honesty and abuse of resources.

Adieu for now.

Anonymous said...

Trying to go for the COW.

I hate LANL, the goverment, and liberals. I say we suspend freedom for the next 10 years to clean up America. In "MY AMERICA" you will not have people living of taxes, we will win in any war that we are in, we will follow GOD's law, we will FEAR GOD, we will stand for what is good and just. In "MY AMERICA", there will be no teaching evolution, it is nothing more that a "theory" just like the "theory of relativity", no one has proved it, and you cannot prove it unless you can go the speed of light! There will be no more abortion and those that facilitate abortion will be put to death! There will be no more LANL and their tax wasting ways!. The town of Los Alamos
will be closed! In "MY AMERICA" we will close down the Godless universities and colleges, we will put Dawkins on trial, we will bring Bush back! In "MY AMERICA", worthless lazy scum who have done absolutely nothing will rule.

Anonymous said...

7/2/09 8:30AM said Jim Jackson, an engineer, was in charge of HR. Really?! How stupid is that? You'd probably consider placing a chemist in charge of accounting and budgeting to be a brilliant move. Oh, the Lab did that as well back in the good ol days? It's no wonder the Lab is such a disfunctional place in everybodys mind except those that see nothing wrong in putting unassigned scientists in charge of areas they know nothing about.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7/6/09 3:05 AM said...

"7/2/09 8:30AM said Jim Jackson, an engineer, was in charge of HR. Really?! How stupid is that?"

With a person who is NOT an HR professional in charge of HR, it was assured that the Personnel Department served the interests and needs of the laboratory rather than build and grow the self-serving organization that HR has become. There are plenty of HR professionals available to staff the organization.

Anonymous said...

7/5/09 8:52 PM: "In "MY AMERICA", worthless lazy scum who have done absolutely nothing will rule."

Is that you Michael Moore? You're talking about your book "Stupid White Men," right?


Anonymous said...

7/2/09 10:52 AM
Your comment , "We are going to see a flurry of employees who are fired "for cause". LANS will probably expand the "for cause" justifications to terminate these employees"

There are plenty of employees that should have been terminated "for cause", a long time ago, if HR and Division Leaders would only do what they get paid to do and take care of the Lab by terminating dead weight maybe we wouldn't be so concerned about the 3% or 5%. Management and HR protect those they want to protect and don't care about the rest.

Anonymous said...

"You'd probably consider placing a chemist in charge of accounting and budgeting to be a brilliant move. "

Yes I would, a chemist would be better qualified to handle the quantitative jobs of accounting and budgets, due to their background in quantitative science. This of course is one of the reasons scientists have been so aggressively sought after by Wall Street, you the people they call quants. A number of scientits at LANL have left for Wall Street type jobs.

Greg Close said...

Okay, sorry... I have to call B.S.

Whether someone is an engineer or a chemist or an HR professional has nothing to do with whether or not they are looking out for the needs of the employees vs. anything else. That is a matter of personal integrity, not professional or educational accomplishment. There are plenty of jerks with engineering/chemistry/physics degrees just like there are plenty of jerks with HR certifications.

If Jim Jackson was a good HR director (and I have no doubt he was), the qualities that made him a good engineer may have contributed to his success, but they were not the underlying or exclusive cause.

Our current HR Director is an engineer, by the way - so that means either your theory is incorrect or we're doing a great job because he's an engineer. Touche.

I find these theories most amusing because they espouse the effectiveness of those trained in utilizing the scientific method without actually applying the scientific method to the theory. There's irony for you! It would be a lot more impressive if the results were supported by observations and hypothoses that were proven by repeated objective testing.

I don't say this because I don't like scientists (on the contrary, my dad was an engineer and I married a PhD space physicist) but because I have too much respect for the principles of rational thought and science to see it used carelessly for such wacky generalizations. That's what religion is for.

"If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them." - Isaac Asimov

Anonymous said...

Reading the hate comments on this blog come across as if many employees are "White Supremacists." This is unfortunate for the institution.

Anonymous said...

Reading the hate comments on this blog come across as if many employees are "White Supremacists." This is unfortunate for the institution.

7/6/09 10:36 AM

LANL is an equal opportunity kind of place.

At LANL, you'll also find Brown Supremacists, Female Supremacists, LBGT Supremacists and maybe even a Dwarf Supremacists or two. You got a problem with that, 10:36 am?

Anonymous said...

With all the negative comments on this blog it is no wonder that LANL is in chaos. It is pretty disgusting that the body (you) of LANL consists of this type of attitudes. My advice, leave immediately, and let this place move in a positive direction. You're an anchor holding down this place.

Anonymous said...

> In "MY AMERICA", worthless lazy
> scum who have done absolutely
> nothing will rule.

That's already the case. More so now since the last general election.

Anonymous said...

10:36 AM, what are you talking about? The only thing here resembling a "hate" comment is 8:52 PM, and considering that it was prefaced with "I'm going for the COW here" once must assume it was intended to be satirical.

(It failed miserably, but the intent was nevertheless obvious).

One stupid rant most certainly /= many White Supremacist employees.

Anonymous said...

Greg Close -

Thanks for being a voice of reason and truth in this sea of complaining.

Anonymous said...

More strategic defense experts decry the unilateral disarmament of America and the killing off of what's left of the scientific expertise in NNSA research labs. NNSA feigns their false concern over the matter (per usual).

Group Warns Obama Administration on Nuclear Deterrent

Monday, July 6, 2009

Global Security Newswire

WASHINGTON -- A think-tank report issued last week warns the Obama administration against rushing into reductions to the U.S. nuclear deterrent in a follow-on agreement with Russia to a major arms control treaty (see GSN, July 1).

The report, U.S. Nuclear Deterrence in the 21st century: Getting it Right, was issued Wednesday by the New Deterrent Working Group, a panel of experts sponsored by the conservative Center for Security Policy.

"What this report asks the administration to do ... is 'Don't get caught up in a moment; don't go for arms control for arms control sake. Think about not only the world today, but of the world tomorrow,'" Paula DeSutter, a working group member who served in the State Department during the Bush administration, said at the document's roll-out event at the National Press Club.

The report appears to have fallen on deaf ears as U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev today in Moscow signed a statement pledging to reduce their nuclear arsenals in a follow-on agreement to the landmark 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which is set to expire in December (see related GSN story, today).

...Members of the groups questioned the president's goal of a world without nuclear weapons.

"The administration is rushing to take major, unexplored, high-risk actions" to achieve that goal, Robert Monroe, a former director of the Defense Nuclear Agency, said without elaborating. "It's one thing to have a visionary goal ... but it's quite another to take drastic actions to reach that visionary goal; actions which may well make today's problem's far worse and expose us to much higher risks."

Monroe also decried the state of the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, a semiautonomous branch to the Energy Department that maintains the country's nuclear stockpile. The agency has not conducted any research and development on a new warhead nor has it conducted a nuclear explosion test of any weapons "new or old," he asserted.

...The country's "nuclear freeze" has convinced young scientists that the nuclear weapons profession "is not valued much by our society," leading to a loss in the skills of the nuclear work force, Lyons said.

"Today you can count on one hand, and not use most of your fingers, the number of nuclear weapons designers we have in our labs that have ever designed and tested a nuclear weapon," Monroe said.

A NNSA spokesman said last week that "we welcome constructive insight on the future strategic posture of the United States, including for example the recommendations put forth by the Perry-Schlesinger commission."


Anonymous said...

"With all the negative comments on this blog it is no wonder that LANL is in chaos. "

That makes no sense at all. How can comments on a blog make chaos in LANL or any other place? You seem very confused. It is just a blog, nothing more nothing less.

Anonymous said...

"Reading the hate comments on this blog come across as if many employees are "White Supremacists." "

Nope, sorry I think you just a troll trying to cause problems.
When I read the blog I see the opposite.

Anonymous said...

A number of scientits at LANL have left for Wall Street type jobs.
--7/6/09 8:22 AM

Well that explains it. No wonder Wall Street is so screwed up these days!

Anonymous said...

"A number of scientits at LANL have left for Wall Street type jobs." (8:22 AM)

If LANL's stockpile stewardship risk and uncertainty models works as well as the ones that former LANL rocket scientists designed for Wall Street, then we're all in much bigger trouble than just an epic global economic meltdown! Perhaps restarting up underground testing out at NTS isn't such a bad idea, after all.