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Sunday, January 13, 2008

No more RIFs?

Contributed by anonymous:

Word on the street is that DOE/NNSA has told LANS and LLNS no involuntary separations for now! It appears someone alerted someone in DC about a lot of carryover/unspent monies both labs have squirreled away and asked the obvious question “How can you terminate career personnel for fiscal necessity when there is this pool of money at the labs”. This could be a truer explanation of why the numbers of 570 leaving LANL is close enough to the 750 target, than was provided by Mike at his all hands meeting.

I was not at the group meeting where this information was disseminated, so what I have heard is second hand. Can anyone add more details to this?

Maybe George will be crying tears of joy at his all hands meeting on the 17th


Anonymous said...

So if there's all this money why so many people on the EBA list and what're these people going to do. Obviously there's not money for projects and no direction on who's supposed to be working on what.

I'm not buying it. I hate to say this but the EBA list is a clear indication we're to top heavy and have more people than we have jobs. Something has to give. If I had a choice I'd send LLNS packing and cut the original LLNL/UC staff by 50% by noon today. Then I bring everyone back and reinstate their UCRP pension plan regardless if they took off early or not because of the transition.

Anonymous said...

4:10 AM -- I think you need to read the Workforce Substance Abuse Testing post very closely.

Anonymous said...

no such thing as carry over money

Anonymous said...

I've not heard this one yet, but I have heard that there will be no VSIP - no winning the lottery at LLNL.

Anonymous said...

Heard today that the contractors have a meeting at 9:00AM thursday with Geroge in 543 auditorium. I wonder if he's going to tell them how much he appreciated their help in making LLNL what it is today and boot them, or tell them "we are gathered here today to tell you your safe and there will be no more RIF's."

What your take on thursdays tomorrows meeting.

Anonymous said...

Actually, there is carry over money. Can't think of the exact term off the top of my head, but it does exist. The thing of it is, I think that there are different colors of money, and they can't spend it for anything it wasn't originally designated for. IE, you're not supposed to spend capital funds for personnel, etc.

Of course there will be no VSIP, since VSIP stands for Voluntary Separation Incentive Program, and they've said all along they won't be giving any incentives. Unless you want to tell us your source is someone with the initials GM, I think I'll wait until Thursday to hear what George has to say.

Anonymous said...

"I wonder if he's going to tell them how much he appreciated their help in making LLNL what it is today and boot them, or tell them "we are gathered here today to tell you your safe and there will be no more RIF's.""

Duh! if it is not one, it is the other. Thanks for enlightening us bud!

Anonymous said...

The IAP meeting on Thurs. AM is to explain the outprocessing details to those who are being RIFed.

Anonymous said...

There is one type of carry over money. It's called WFO (Work for Others).

Funding for projects outside of DOE/NNSA can be used over a period of 5 years. However, the weapon labs can't start throwing just anybody with funding problems onto these projects. If they do, the WFO sponsors will quickly decide to stop sending any more work to the labs.

Anonymous said...

"Can't think of the exact term off the top of my head"

Its called "no carry over money"

Anonymous said...

I've not heard this one yet, but I have heard that there will be no VSIP - no winning the lottery at LLNL.

Guess there will be an involuntary RIF in that case since there is a 300 million dollar gap to close.

Anonymous said...

There is a hint of truth in many of the posts in this thread.

The term "GSO" refers to the amount of money a direct DOE funded or WFO (Work for Others, that is "non-DOE" funded)Program or project can obligate or commit. New funds come to the lab as GSO, that is, the ability to commit or spend a maximum amount prior to an expiration date.

If a WFO Progam is funded for $1M until September of 2008 for a project, it has $1M GSO to begin with. It commits funds through spending or liens until the funds are consumed or the time period runs out. The GSO of a Program (or the lab) is the sum of all GSO, minus what has been committed, but with various expiration periods. Tracking this stuff according to auditable standards (no Enron type hanky-panky) is one of the reasons "Finance" exists and is different from the way you and I manage our personal business, because our cash doesn't come with time limits.

Some of the total GSO can and must be carried between fiscal years, (depending on the date of expiration) in order to fund continuing efforts up until the next funding increment is authorized (typically in one of the Congressional authorzations) and then distributed (by agencies like the DOE, DHS, DoD etc to us). Carry-over is kinda important otherwise we'd all go home until the next funding is authorized. GSO does have an upper limit and an expiration date, beyond which it cannot be committed (spent)any longer.

I suspect what the original post refers to (though I am not certain)is that one or more of the major DOE funded portions of the lab may have chosen to spend proportionately a little less GSO by fiscal years end, arguably a sound practice in uncertain times, so that a larger balance is retained for the following period.

It is unlikely that larger amounts of carryover were retained in WFO funded programs because the funds generally will expire sooner. Many (but not all) WFO work sponsors do not have a continuing interest in the long-term success of the lab.

The amounts can be large. Retaining an additional 3% of a Billion dollars is $30M, which can cover 300 FTEs whose salaries and benefits cost $100k.

As has been presented in many town hall meetings, the question for the Programs is what is the right long-term mix of people to match the long-term requirement. Well trained, well-motivated, cleared talent is very valuable and hard to come by.

While personnel requirements are normally pretty stable year to year, with a slight decline over the past 20 years, the future mission space of the lab is made more uncertain during elections, especially open elections where a transition in power is likely. The upcoming decisions to be made in the elections may affect both funding amounts and Progam directions. Some Program leaders, to the extent that they have ability, might hold back slightly on commitments (hence retain GSO, lower current spending) until the future direction is more clear.

As I see it, as long as it is done in moderation, this could be sound fiscal management, and might bode well for the long-term success of the lab. You want leaders that think ahead, act proactively and can operate successfully in the constrained environment that the DOE/NNSA confines them to.

This of course must be balanced with consideration for retention, recruiting and morale, so a talented motivated work force is available to accomplish the mission the GSO funds.

Somewhere in the middle

Anonymous said...

Great post 3:19am. C. Murray in her PAD talk did mention a 'carry-over' was done to offset the increased LLNS fee. It is great that you explained how it is done. To bad information like this isn't posted on the Transition web site!

Anonymous said...


That was the most educational and sensible post I have yet to read on this or the LANL blog. Thank you for taking the time to compose it.

Anonymous said...

There is no "carry over". One might think one can use this so called "carry over" to solve a fiscal crunch which is bologna. That money has already been allocated and if it used for anything other than its intended purpose you will find the GAO dumping all over the lab. There is no free lunch. No money in the budget means no money in the budget.

Anonymous said...

"The amounts can be large. Retaining an additional 3% of a Billion dollars is $30M, which can cover 300 FTEs whose salaries and benefits cost $100k."

I must be missing something. I know in my case I cost about 400K/year not 100K.Which means the mystical slush fund will only cover 75 employees, not 300. I think you got it wrong.

Anonymous said...

"I know in my case I cost about 400K/year not 100K."

I put the Millers and Moses employee # into the -Lab Pricer- and neither one of them cost LLNL $400K a year including all of the taxes and overhead burden, so I have no clue where these guys came up with anyone at LLNL costing $450K - $600K a years. Maybe that was their justification to laying off ~900 people.

Anonymous said...

What a person costs can be confusing because it has two different meanings, but it has been pretty well explained in the LANL blog in the past.

The difference is whether you consider burdened or unburdened cost.

You cost the lab your salary plus benefits. Figure your benefits cost perhaps 35-40% more than your salary. If your gross pay is $100k per year, you probably cost the taxpayer $140k per year. If they fire you, that's what the taxpayer saves. This is known in Lab Pricer as the Wage Expense.

The burdened salary is a larger number which is a construct and is kinda misleading, though very important for the Program Leader who is figuring out what to charge a DOE, DHS or WFO sponsor.

The burden is a series of additions that cover many things related to personnel that the lab must pay for, but cannot charge directly to a Program.

Some examples are paying for your office space, administrative support, landscaping, maintenance, Upper Level Management, Division staff, Hazards Control, Security, retiring old buildings, and the fee. There are many rates and some vary according to the sponsor. They are very well described in Pricer.

For the casual reader, the burden may be another 80% to 120% of the wage base (depends what you include). This is similar to what other organizations burden their labor with. I have managed fixed price procurements for many large subcontractors and these numbers sit in a surprizingly tight range.

The lab may be a little on the high side, but not many places have six miniguns protecting, well let's just say if Arnold decided to sucede from the Union to finally create the Bear Flag republic; it would not be the world's smallest nuclear power.

Congress insisted in the early nineties after audits here, that Programs use full-cost recovery. That is, except by DOE allowance all Programs pay a full share of the burden. No favorites.

So a Program Leader would say that a person with a $100k yr gross salary "costs" the sponsor $280-350k per year. That's what he charges the sponsor, and he has little choice. It covers all the stuff we take for granted and often cuss.

But if that same person leaves the lab only $140k/yr is saved. Remember though, if 50 program people leave, it is likely that 50 indirect people can be released as well, here and there throughout the support organizations.

The current thrust, if I understand it correctly is to try to get 80% of the people who must leave from the indirect organizations, thus lowering the burden multiple that is put on a Programs personnel. This lowers the cost to the sponsor, without lowering the Program work hours.

Anonymous said...

7:14 PM

I don't know what version of Lab Pricer you are using, or what account number, but I can tell you that I make about 1/2 of what Moses/Miller make and the costs on my WFO account are over $525K per year. Maybe you are using an unburdened overhead account (taxed at much lower rates). But if you are doing programmatic work full-time, especially WFO, and you are a 200-series employee, costs are AT LEAST $400K/y and can get over $500K in a hurry.

Anonymous said...

No more RIF's? As of today I know more cuts were made.

Anonymous said...

January 16, 2008 8:16 PM

Do us all a favor. Put in George Miller's employee # and then turn the document into a .pdf file. Send it to scooby for posting. I guess the question is what acccount # is he using. I only cost the program $225K a year and make less than half that and from what I can see I am taxed to the max.

Anonymous said...

January 16, 2008 8:07 PM

The entire Laboratory is funded by the taxpayer (in almost every case WFO is taxpayer funded). Your claims about what the taxpayer saves make no sense at all.If my burdened cost is 450k/yr. then that is what the taxpayer is forking over one way or the other.At the end of the day what the taxpayer saves or doesn't save has nothing to do with workforce restructuring. It is simply how much money is in the pot and costs and costs at this place are enormous.

Anonymous said...

On one hand, LLNS calls for competitiveness and efficiency; on the other hand, they hang on to a bunch of EBAs that have been EBAs forever.
There were cases where good candidates for a particular job opening were set aside and an EBA was shoved in.
That is not competitiveness!

Anonymous said...

January 17, 2008 4:55 AM

I think we can lay to rest all of the conjecture about who makes what.

Turn Georges view graph representing the typical engineers fully burdened cost at 400k/year into a pdf and post THAT.

I suppose George could have gotten it wrong but since he is running the show and it is the number he is using that makes it right.Right?

Anonymous said...

Here are the facts from a Lab Pricer 2007. Notice they have not put out 2008 nor are any of the LLNS cronies on the excel spreadsheet. My guess is they don't want us to know how much they make. I'll bet they are over paid, under worked and their security clearances are not extensive.

George H. Millers cost to LLNL. Can you imagine the total cost of ULM to the labs budget. Anyone with a lab prices can at least see what 2007 cost of ULM is to the budget minus what the 40 new LLNS managers cost us. No wonder there's no money to do actual work.

One Man's Burden on the Budget

Haven seen all the taxes put upon each employee I can clearly see why people cost so much money. The very first thing LLNS need to do is get rid of all these taxes and have the director find his slush fund from another source. I can imagine any company on the outside having each person cost this much to their accounts for any reason or a

Anonymous said...

I've not heard this one yet, but I have heard that there will be no VSIP - no winning the lottery at LLNL.

Apparently 200 plus just won (if you are 50 or older and are in one of targeted groups)

Anonymous said...

Anyone can estimate how much he/she really costs. In addition to your actual salary, there are numerous taxes, some of which depend on your parent organization and the type of program account you charge.

Simply go to Lab Pricer on the Lab web and enter your employee number in the applicable field. Make sure you enter the same program account to which you charge your time.

I think most of you will be amazed.

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