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Sunday, March 30, 2008
Thanks for visiting.
There is an average of 370 visits per day! Don't know how many visitors. Not as much as you would expect from a population the size of LLNL's. The only way I can tell is from the response to the polls. Low.
Let us share this BLOG with co-workers. They may not visit the BLOG on their own but when they receive the link from one of their buddies, they will!
last updated: March 29, 2008 04:32:07 PM
Countrywide Financial Corp.'s chief executive and president will receive a combined $19 million in stock next week as part of the company's pending takeover by Bank of America Corp., according to a regulatory filing.
The payments of stock valued at $10 million for chief executive Angelo Mozilo and $9 million for President David Sambol were disclosed in a regulatory filing late Thursday by Bank of America.
The payments, described as "performance-based" stock rights and grants, are required by agreements the executives struck with Countrywide less than a year before the sub-prime meltdown forced the mortgage lender to sell itself, according to the filing.
Some lawmakers were incensed by the payouts.
"It's perverse for Bank of America to reward the principal architects of the bad business practices that caused this housing crisis," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y, said in a statement.
Mozilo, who is expected to retire after the takeover, previously agreed to give up $36.4 million in cash severance benefits. But after his departure he will receive company-paid life and health benefits worth $21,084 and medical benefits worth an estimated $85,000.
Bank of America also disclosed in the filing that it would pay Sambol $28 million to stay with the company. The bank wants Sambol to lead its consumer mortgage business when the deal is complete.
Bank of America is in the process of acquiring California-based Countrywide for about $4 billion in stock. Bank of America agreed to the acquisition in January, and the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.
Posters Comments: What should have been a prison term ended up being a gold mine at the tax payers expensive. See any similaries here with the LLNS take over?
Saturday, March 29, 2008
If George cannot hear this, he will never anything else:
Here we fo:
Time is running out on LLNS and George.
Until recently, employees have withheld judgement, to see how LLNS would restructure the lab. They have now seen enough to predict failure. The facts look bad.
1. LLNS management does not have command of information. This has made Miller's proclamations a source of ridicule.
a. "No layoffs in first year"
c."We can cover the costs of transition without staff reductions"
d. "Leidle will lead a team to save $30M."
e. " We need to recover $80M... ah $280M, ah...."
2. The $50M/year fee to access the best practices of industry is wasted.
a. Bechtel, Battelle and BWXT have provided nothing of value. The senior industrial replacements brought nothing but themselves. They ask questions to try to solve problems, but provide nothing intrinsic or improved for the $50M/year fee.
b. LLNL was to implement industry best practice top to bottom accounting systems and practices...
b. and industry standard, improved project management software integrated seamlessly into the financial accounting system...
c. and standard IT practices...
d. and industry-best program development practices...
e. Formerly effective and decisive lab leaders are now waiting for their industrial partners to act decisively and effectively. But the new industrial leaders, alone, inexperienced and without the industrial infrastructure to support them, are unable to see their way forward. Little is getting done, except a reshuffling of the organization charts.
3. Miller is surrounded by folks inferior to those UC provided.
a. Leidle is no Mara, etc., The new practices in human resources are a retention timebomb.
b. Many folks in 111 are not trained for the jobs they hold, nor familiar with industrial practices, because they are experienced only in the unique public sector/government contractor relationship UC and NNSA developed under years of contract 48. They cannot initiate effective change, they do not even understand the basic principles.
5. There are no resources to pay for change. This significant organizational experiment, tearing down one system and standing up a replacement has a price.
a. Yet $280M is pulled out to waste on non-productive costs.
b. Miller is now raiding programs to pay for transition costs by reducing support to programs without reducing the burden rates, effectively increasing the cost of doing business.
c. No capital is provided to pay for the necessary changes.
6. Throughout the lab, employees lack confidence.
a. Awaiting better (industrial) leadership, they now wait rather than act. Decisions are deferred, innovation has ceased, awaiting directions that do not come.
b. Morale for these formerly effective, dynamic high-achievers is at an all time low, seriously affecting productivity. Retention will follow.(Try to find a leader not on vacation last week)
In short, the Bodman/D'Agostino organizational experiment, like Cheney's Iraq adventures, has been done on the cheap, without adequate thought to the long-term consequences. THEY DIRECTED THE DESTRUCTION OF THE EXISTING INFRASTRUCURE WITHOUT THOUGHT AS TO HOW TO REPLACE IT. The result is likely to be a stumbling, crippled ineffective organization for a long time, hidden from the public by Susan Houghton's spinmeisters.
Iraq, Mortgage bubble, destruction of the national labs.
Not a bad record for a President....
It is time for a real incentive.
LLNS has not been effective in understanding its situation or responding realistically. The expectation that 750 people would take the VSSOP incentive shows that you are getting terrible advice.
You have a serious short-term operating financial shortfall, even as you are expected to implement new costly infrastructure changes. Time to be hard-nosed and to think realistically.
You can fire 750-1000 people based on seniority. This will retain obsolete, highly-paid, tired personnel while releasing the lab's future.
Or you can structure a realistic incentive that will select the high-paid, while retaining the younger, cheaper, more energetic.
Consider. 750 folks is 10% of the labs population. About 15% of the the population is over 55 years old. Construct an incentive to move those people out. This means giving them the amount they will recieve at full-retirement (age 60), minus some amount for getting out early. Maybe 50% of the cost would do it. This might mean offering an incentive that is the equivalent of 1-2 years of service as an annuity that can be financed over time. SINCE IT RESULTS IN LONG-TERM DEFERRED SAVINGS, THE ANNUITY NEED NOT BE PAID ALL AT ONCE, BUT CAN BE FINANCED THROUGH SAVINGS IN REDUCED PAYROLL OVER MANY YEARS.
This is a tool that will allow you to get what you want. The deadheads that surround you may not tell you, but King George,you need this (unless you are bailing soon).
Friday, March 28, 2008
Here they are with a few comments.
I now understand why people who paid $500K+ for their homes which are well on their way down to a value of $250K or less are just plan walk away from their debt. These people know that it may take their entire life to break even, and since making money is the name of the game their situation is a zero sum game. They are had goose.
March 28, 2008 7:21 AM
Just because one's home value goes down is no reason to walk away from it. There should be severe penalties for doing so. The selfish actions of a few are making it hard on the rest of us (e.g., 401k goes down, housing prices are depressed further, etc.), spiraling the economy towards a possible depression.
March 28, 2008 10:05 AM
March 28, 2008 10:05 AM
It's just as March 28, 2008 7:21 AM said.
No body in their right mind is going to stay when they know they'll possibly never in their lifetime get what they paid for the house. It's a bad investment and houses now days are not homes nor do the people who own them care about developing a community. They are there for the profit and then to move onto a bigger and better _house_. These people are just short time acquaintances that come and go faster than some of us change our underwear. This is one of the reasons I don't bother to get to know my neighbor or tell them much about me if anything but I make it a point to find out all I can about them. There's just no one who's going to be around for a while, like 20-30 years or maybe for their entire life in the same home, as it use to be. Long term environments are gone and can only be found in small towns where peoples values are entirely different.
Anyway just to let you know a game a family from India is playing with the bank.
As you well know they normally live with at least three to four families under one roof where the garage becomes the dining room and each floor of the house is an apartment, where each family pays 1/4 the mortgage. This particular family bought a _house_at ~$650 - $750K. The house in now on the market and only valued at $500K or less. The families could see they were never going to regain their $750K plus so they walk away.
They then got one of the other relatives that lived in that home to buy a bigger foreclosure two block away and they all moved into it.
They let the bank eat the $250K +, got a bigger and better home for less than $500K. Do they care if their credit is hurt.
Nope, because they have no intention of buying another house and the house they lived in now is in someone else name, and they aren't legally obligated to pay the mortgage.
So there you go. It thinking like this from foreign nations that'll bring down America. Welcome to immigration control and the politically correct compassionate an understanding way of thinking.
I hope you feel sorry for these folks. They are, after all destitute foriegn nationals who probably aren't US citizen and still will get social security that you paid for in the end.
March 28, 2008 2:24 PM
March 28, 2008 2:24 PM
You got to give those foreign national credit for creative thinking, but when it comes to honor and self respect they get a mark of -100 on my scale. They have neither . But then in todays world neither of these virtues counts, they've been lost in just two generations of unworthy children and moronic parents who taught their children nothing of value except that money grows on tree, easy come easy go and there's no dishonor in being in debt up to your ears and not paying your bills on time. When times are hard just file bankruptcy and let the next generation pay for your greed and non disciplinary way of life.
March 28, 2008 5:47 PM
"It's too much work to do another 3161."
Question: How long is the 3161 plan good for? One round of layoffs? What if they change the rules and do away with the career status and therefore everyone is a flexterm?
Thursday, March 27, 2008
More people to go from NIF come Monday of next week. Just wait for that 10:00 AM phone call from your IAP employer. In April NIF dump 50 more people. Moses to give news about ISP Monday afternoon to NIF-troops. Where, who knows? Lets hope he gives us exact numbers and dates so we have time to find employment outside this one square mile. What do you think. Are they going for 535, 700 or 1000 + more people by July or Aug of 2008, since that when the PPPM-section K will have by then been revised.
Of course you all must realize the longer ULM waits to dump these people, the $280M grows to $281M, $282M, $283M etc, etc; meaning in the end and more people must go. Combine this with a new conclusion that comes via many rumorw and what will we have.
The next rumor is:
We have been told we are $69M in debt on FY-09 budget and LLNL is again going to take another 10% cut in funding below that of FY-08. So 10% of $2.2B or so is about $220M + $69M shortfall already. That'll make LLNL in the hole by $289M dollars come Oct 1st, 2008 or FY-09.
Can anyone guess what we're going to do next year, or does it need to be spelled out for you? Do any of you now feel any better about coming to work each day and doing a bang-up job or feel enthused to excel? Maybe you do, but I don't.
This saga will continue year after year and probably well beyond 2010 until such time either the labs are going to become a vital asset to the nation or NNSA / DOE will literally be put out of business, since the private sector at this time actually makes a product that they can sell and make a profit. With the projected $4.2T deficit from the war, social security and medicare to go under by 2040 and the housing market recession / depression plus gas prices escalating, I have this feeling that the labs will in fact be narrowed down to a minuscule organization of which no one will even care about.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The LLNL missions of the future in nuclear design and engineering excellence, high-speed computing, and high explosives research should be enough to keep 100-200 people working. The only key player will be NIF. Maybe the rest of the Lab should be shut down, and a fence erected between NIF and the south 40, which will need environmental cleanup before new houses can be built.
On second thought, if the rest of the Lab closes, NIF will have no one to subsidize its operation.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
If our 401K money would be posted on time, when the market was down, we might have made 2% today, but oh no they are going to again blame it on a computer qlitch that i was told was fixed last time? I talked to a Fidelity Rep a couple of weeks ago and she indicated that by law LLNS actually has 45 days to post our money. I don't know if thats true but something needs to be done!
Facility's finances continue to weaken, director says
By Betsy Mason, STAFF WRITER
Article Created: 03/23/2008 02:37:54 AM PDT
More layoffs may be in store for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory after a voluntary buyout program fell short of reducing the work force by 10 percent.
Lab director George Miller told employees in an e-mail Friday that 215 permanent employees left with severance packages on March 14, far fewer than the goal of 750.
"We clearly are moving in the right direction," Miller wrote. "But it is not sufficient."
Since October 2006 the lab has dropped from 8,057 employees to 7,104. That reduction includes 450 supplemental laborers and employees with fixed-term contracts who were laid off in January, the 215 who took buyouts, as well as normal attrition.
Miller said the lab's financial situation continues to worsen in the wake of the management changeover in October from the University of California to a newly formed company, Lawrence Livermore National Security, which is partly owned by UC.
Switching to a corporate manager resulted in increased costs for the lab due to loss of its tax-exempt nonprofit status, higher than expected retirement and health benefit costs and a yearly management fee increase from $8 million to $46 million.
Higher than expected inflation and cuts to the Department of Energy budget have compounded the problem.
The new manager anticipated about $80 million in increased costs, but Miller wrote Friday that the actual number has spiraled to $280 million.
"We need to reduce our annual support costs by more than $200 million," he said.
Miller said he has set up a team led by two associate directors at the lab, Ed Moses and Frank Russo, to look for ways to cut costs and evaluate suggestions from employees.
Further job cuts will be part of the solution, Miller wrote. Management will look at attrition and shedding more temporary and supplemental employees.
But he is also discussing the possibility of layoffs of the permanent, career work force with the National Nuclear Security Administration, the branch of the DOE that oversees the nuclear weapons labs and has the final call on the matter.
If the NNSA approves layoffs, it would be the first time in 35 years that there have been layoffs from the permanent work force, lab spokeswoman Susan Houghton said.
Houghton said they would first look for ways to reduce supporting jobs such as resource analysts, facilities managers, graphic artists and information technology workers, perhaps by combining those functions for several departments.
"There are no easy answers," Miller said in his e-mail. "I firmly believe the actions we are taking are essential for a robust future.
"I want to position the Laboratory to continue to provide the exceptional public service that is our history by applying world-class science and technology to the most challenging issues of our time."
Betsy Mason can be reached at 925-952-5026.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
This is what happens when certain physicists with no business knowledge are in charge. They don't have a vision of how to have a productive balanced business operation. Worst, they surround themselves with their marginally skilled and poorly prepared "cronies" and "yes" people. At least past directors chose to have a variety of competent people around them that spoke their minds, since their personal wealth wasn't dependent on being puppets.
People moderately competent would have known early on what the true additional costs of the new contract would be (only fools or sycophants believed it was only $80Million. Do we really have a business operation that didn't understand taxes and benefit cost changes with an LLC????), or did they just refuse to tell it like it was, since it wasn't what management wanted to hear at the time.
This management "team" will do a good job of looking out for themselves (adding to their personal riches) while they eliminate jobs based on something other than real need, and ruin the lives of many, and the Lab in the process.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
So, I will ask the question one more time. If UC still has a lead roll in LLNL than why did they kick all of us off the UCRP program. Could it be that was a legal way to save their disgusting greedy butts from having to pay us what we were orignally promised? From what I see, this is an absolute. Any lawyer out there will to take on the UC and get 8000 people back their retirement that was ripped off from them?
March 21, 2008
U. of California's Lab-Management Contracts Draw Fire at Meeting of Regents
San Francisco — California’s lieutenant governor scolded the University of California this week for signing new contracts that continue the university’s lead role in managing the nation’s two premier nuclear-weapons laboratories.
During a contentious meeting on Wednesday of the Board of Regents, Lt. Gov. John Garamendi called the contracts a bad deal. The university could be “splattered by the mud” if new security lapses occurred at the two facilities, the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories, said Mr. Garamendi, a Democrat elected in 2006. He complained that the new contracts did not provide the university the right to escape a management obligation that the federal government could extend to 20 years.
The University of California system was the lead manager of the labs for decades until the U.S. Department of Energy announced in 2003 that it would put out for bid the labs’ management contracts. The university joined with corporate partners to form management teams that vied successfully for both contracts, in 2005 and 2007.
Mr. Garamendi may be the highest-ranking state official to knock the university’s role in the labs. Michael T. Brown, faculty representative on the regents’ board, also voiced opposition at Wednesday’s meeting, over plans to increase production of plutonium components at Los Alamos. Both labs have drawn opposition from faculty members over preliminary work to design a new generation of nuclear bombs to replace those in the nation’s aging arsenal.
The contracts were defended at the meeting by the system’s president, Robert C. Dynes, who is stepping down; by lab officials; and by Norman J. Pattiz, a prominent member of the board.
The discussion revealed some new details about the contracts, including that the university retains majority control of the management teams’ boards. When the contracts were awarded, Energy Department officials had hinted that the university would confine its role to science and scale back its role in security, following several embarrassing breaches.
In addition, even with the multiple partners, the new contracts have doubled the university’s annual management fee compared with what it had earned as the sole contractor. (The university has said it plows the fees back into scientific research.) —Paul Fain and Jeffrey Brainard
At the following website: https://pppm-int.llnl.gov/k_separations.htm
The document contains:
- Layoff (to be rewritten by April 2008)III.1 Layoff for 200-Series Employees III.1.4
- Notice of Layoff to Employees
- In the event of a layoff, Human Resources shall prepare written notification to be given to the employee.
The minimum notice period will be based on the employee's seniority as follows:
- An employee with fewer than ten years of seniority shall receive thirty (30) calendar days' notice.
- An employee with at least ten but fewer than fifteen years of seniority shall receive sixty (60) calendar days' notice.
- An employee with at least fifteen but fewer than twenty years of seniority shall receive ninety (90) calendar days' notice.
- An employee with twenty years or more of seniority shall receive one hundred and twenty (120) calendar days' notice.
- The employee will receive pay in lieu of notice for each additional day he/she would have been on pay status if the required notice has been given.
NOTE: Apparently this policy pertains only to the 200 series worker ?
NOTE: Apparently policy is to be rewritten by April 2008 Does anyone know?Is "pay in lieu of notice" independent of severance pay - could a 30 year employee collect 6 months + 4 months if layed off ?
Why only the 200 series? Is there an underlying legal requirement for this? Could the LLNS simply void this policy in April 2008 prior to layoffs?The Livermoron
Please copy the ( URL / link) about, send it to work and review. As you can see it's an internal page and can not be view outside LLNL. He or she that finds something interesting or to everyones concern please send it to the blogmater and ask for it to be posted under this topic, or you can post it anon.
Colleagues, Several weeks ago, I promised to provide you an update on the Laboratory's challenges, status and the path forward.
These are difficult times and I know many of you are vitally interested in our ongoing plans for workforce restructuring and cost reductions. I'll try to address these issues in this note.
The challenges that we face are generally rooted in the increased costs that have crept in over time and those that are associated with the contract transition, higher than expected inflationary pressures and continuing erosion of our funding because of the general issues associated with the federal budget.
The increased costs make us less competitive and less attractive to sponsors as we look to apply the Laboratory's talents to the important issues facing our country.
When we developed the contract proposal more than two years ago, we did so with the expectation that we could absorb a then estimated $80 million cost increase incrementally and increase our effectiveness beyond that over three years.
Our plans, projections and the proposal were based on that assumption. Last year it became clear that this incremental absorption strategy would not be sufficient.
With a FY08 congressional budget shortfall, increased costs of providing benefits and pensions, as well as normal inflation, our $80 million loss in spending power has escalated to $280 million and we need to reduce our annual support costs by more than $200 million.
These budget projections make it clear we must make dramatic changes at our Laboratory now. We must "step outside" of our normal day jobs, access our creativity and look for ways to re-engineer our Laboratory for continued operational and cost cutting efficiencies.
One of the efficiencies we must continue to look at is our staffing.
In late 2007/early 2008, approximately 450 supplemental labor and flex term employees departed our Laboratory. Last Friday we said goodbye to 215 career employees who participated in the Voluntary Self-Select Option Package. Many of these individuals had spent 20 or more years at our Laboratory and made significant contributions. Their departure marked the end of what we've been calling "Phase 2" of our workforce-restructuring plan.
These departures, coupled with normal attrition, bring us to approximately 7104 employees -- not including post docs, retirees and students. In October 2006 the beginning of fiscal year 2007 we had approximately 8057 employees.
We clearly are moving in the right direction but it is not sufficient.
We must now look at our Laboratory from a broad perspective and develop the business strategies for becoming much more efficient. We must develop a cost-effective approach to our operations.
To lead and facilitate this challenge, I have asked Frank Russo, Principal Associate Director for Business and Operations, and Ed Moses, Principal Associate Director for NIF and Photon Science, to lead a cross-directorate, institutional team. This team has been meeting for the past few weeks and has made exceptional progress. They are looking at areas where we can restructure the support activities of the Laboratory, examining functionality for its effectiveness and efficiency. This involves continuing to look at "personnel and overhead" costs.
The ideas being developed by these teams will supplement the suggestions that have come directly from employees and that also have been developed by other groups.We must continue to look at ways to reduce the workforce.
The VSSOP applications fell short of our goal of 750. Thus we are evaluating attrition, additional flex-term and supplemental releases -- as well as the possibility of an Involuntary Separation Plan (ISP) for our career-indefinite workforce. We are discussing this possibility now with NNSA.
If we do decide to implement an ISP, we will communicate the decision immediately and broadly with all of you and our community. This would include providing information on Lab policies related to separations with a full opportunity for you to ask questions.
There are no easy answers. I firmly believe that the actions we are taking are essential for a robust future.
We have a tremendous responsibility to the nation: Together, we literally hold the future of the Laboratory in our hands. I want to position the Laboratory to continue to provide the exceptional public service that is our history by applying world-class science and technology to the most challenging issues of our time: the defense, energy, environmental and economic security of our country.
I want the Laboratory to remain one of the premier laboratories in the nation and continue to deliver on our global security responsibilities. I want to attract new work and position the Laboratory to effectively meet the challenges of the future. I want to continue to recruit, retain and train a broad-based, diverse workforce. Doing all of this requires the dedication, creativity and focus of every segment of the Laboratory.
The Lab's current situation is a challenge for all of us. The months ahead will be difficult and change is everywhere. But with challenge and change come opportunity.
Everyday I see outstanding examples of the Laboratory's cutting-edge work in support of our country's most pressing issues in strategic defense, global security, energy and environment and basic science. I am inspired by the ideas and initiatives we are pursuing.
As always, and especially during this time of change and challenge I want you to be safe.
Please watch out for your own safety and that of your co-workers.
Thank you for your time to read this letter and in understanding our situation.
I am looking forward to your help in realizing our vision for the future of our Laboratory.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Scooby: Can you post the following from LANL’s blog on 3/19 (http://lanl-the-rest-of-the-story.blogspot.com/) as a top level post?
There is a lot of relevance for us here at LLNL. Now I see that one of the performance measures is how fast they can kick us out of lab space and building. Each consolidation means less equipment and experimental apparatus. (capabilities) This translates as fewer proposals and therefore, less money coming into the Lab, but it is not about us is it? It is all about what the Bechtelians can squeeze out of the Lab and the taxpayer.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
New LANL Contractor Earns $58 Million Fee
By Raam Wong, Albuquerque Journal Staff Writer
Federal officials have determined that the contractor that now runs Los Alamos National Laboratory should be awarded a $58 million fee for its first year on the job.
The total includes a fixed $22 million management fee as well as a $36 million performance fee for meeting most— but not all— of its objectives for fiscal year 2007.
The lab manager, Los Alamos National Security, was eligible for more than $51 million in performance fees if it met all of the objectives in its contract for the fiscal year that spanned from October 2006 through September 2007.
The payouts were described in a 2007 Performance Evaluation Report. The National Nuclear Security Administration's report is the first such evaluation of the contractor since it took over in 2006.
"LANS has made some inroads to improve laboratory operations during FY07, while maintaining outstanding performance in NNSA's core mission areas," states the report, obtained by the Journal on Tuesday following a Freedom of Information Act request.
The U.S. Department of Energy responded to several embarrassing security and fiscal problems at the lab by announcing in 2003 that LANL's management contract would be up for bid.
LANS, a consortium of industrial and academic partners, won the contract and took over lab management in June 2006.
The contract awards LANS for meeting 170 milestones in 13 different areas, ranging from weapons programs to safety and health.
LANS received the highest marks and the biggest fees in the areas of weapons program execution, weapons quality assurance, threat reduction and support of operations across the nuclear weapons complex.
Among the places where LANS fell short was in the accurate reporting of injury rates. The report states that an NNSA audit found misclassification of injury cases, resulting in the under-reporting of certain injury rates. Overall, though, the report found safety and health improvements at the lab and a drop in injuries.
In another area, LANS' own self-assessment stated that it had successfully reduced the lab's facilities by 400,000 square feet. But NNSA officials had "serious questions about the validity" of that claim after they toured one of those facilities, an administration building, that accounted for about half of the closed square footage.
Additionally, the report found that in vacating some of the facilities the lab had abandoned some valuable equipment, such as telephones and a vertical drill press, and items with "potential security issues," such as diskettes and crypto cards.
Personnel was another concern. The report states that LANS brought in an "impressive set of players," who for the most part "aggressively set about integrating the laboratory and setting in motion culture change in security, safety, and business."
But only six months after the change in management, deputy director John Mitchell retired with only one month's notice, while "one of the key personnel individually led to the degradation of an already fragile relationship with state regulators."
LANS had a rocky start with state regulators. Andy Phelps, the former associate director for environmental programs, butted heads with the state Environment Department, while the agency repeatedly fined the lab for violations of a cleanup agreement.
"Building a solid working relationship with the regulators needs continued focused attention," the report states
By ROGER SNODGRASS, Monitor Editor
Meeting in San Francisco Wednesday, the University of California Board of Regents heard disagreements about the university’s role in the nation’s nuclear weapons program.
Criticism came this time not only from students, who are often vocal during regents’ meetings, but also from California Lt.-Gov. John Garamendi, a Democrat and an ex officio member of the board, who said he was “deeply disturbed” by what he heard.
An audio webcast of an open session of the Committee on Oversight of the Department of Energy laboratories began with a complaint by the board’s faculty representative, Michael Brown.
Also the chair of the Academic Senate and an advisory member of the laboratory oversight committee, Brown said the faculty was concerned about the federal government’s plan currently under discussion to increase pit manufacturing from 50 to 80 nuclear triggers a year at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and that the university was locked into a long-term contract with the DOE from which it could not escape.
Later, in the brief segment of the three-day meeting, the regents heard a report led by Norm Pattiz, the new chairman of the board of the limited liability corporations that own Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Pattiz is the chairman and founder of Westwood One, the largest radio network in the country.
He reported that the National Nuclear Security administration was pleased at the “proactive approach of the lab and their communication network” during recent public hearings in New Mexico on the transformation of the nuclear weapons complex. He also passed along compliments from meetings in Washington that “our two lab directors are extremely highly regarded.”
During Pattiz’ report, Garamendi was recognized. Posing a series of 20 or more probing question, Garamendi began by wanting to know who was actually in charge of the partnerships that run the weapons labs.
Pattiz said that the governing boards, one for each lab, were composed of six members, three from the university and one each from the three principal industrial partners.
“In a tie-breaking situation,” he said, the university’s chairmanship, “gives us the ability to prevail.”
So, when there is bad press about lapses of security, Garamendi concluded, “the university will be splattered by the mud, because we are in charge.”
During the ensuing discussion, UC Vice President Robert Foley affirmed that the contract was binding on the university.
“We knew going in that we had given up the right to unilaterally withdraw from the contract,” Foley said.
While the contract might be extended for as many as 20 years or as few as seven, he added, “The university does not have a guaranteed right to withdraw during that time.”
"Garamendi also established from an answer to his questions that certain top managers of the weapons laboratories were employed by the limited liability corporations, but that UC paid their compensation.
Meanwhile, a student group protested a number of university issues during the meeting, including the university’s involvement in making parts for nuclear weapons, according to news reports today.
Pattiz promised to schedule a full discussion on issues related to the laboratories “at the appropriate time.”
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
By Betsy Mason, STAFF WRITER
Article Created: 03/18/2008 02:34:18 AM PDT
With public hearings on the future of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory set for today and Wednesday in Tracy and Livermore, a government watchdog group has released a report calling for plutonium to be removed from the lab by next year.
The Department of Energy already is planning to move all but a small amount of plutonium and other weapons-grade nuclear materials from Livermore to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico by 2012 as part of its plan to shrink and revamp the entire nuclear weapons complex.
"We want to reduce the amount of special nuclear materials in the Livermore valley drastically," the DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration Director Thomas D'Agostino said. "You don't have a community growing up around Los Alamos."
But the Project on Government Oversightclaims in their report that the timetable safely can be moved up three years, which would save $160million in security costs.
The group also contends that the NNSA gave Livermore Lab a waiver on the most recent update to its security guidelines for protection against terrorist threats, which is particularly dangerous because of the lab's proximity to homes, businesses and schools.
"This is clearly, by far, the most significant homeland security vulnerability posed by the nuclear weapons complex in the United States," said Danielle Bryan, executive director of POGO, in a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Monday.
POGO investigator Peter Stockton said the waiver means that the lab is only protected against half of the potential adversaries currently identified by the intelligence community as threats to the nuclear weapons complex.
D'Agostino counters that no such waiver was given but that it doesn't make sense to spend scarce funds on permanent security upgrades for materials that will be gone in four years.
"I'd rather spend the money moving it responsibly," he said, which is something that cannot be done before 2012.
The reason for this, he said, is a combination of ongoing research on plutonium at the lab and the need to make the move as safely as possible.
"This is not stuff you just throw in a truck and drive off," he said. "You have to do it in a methodical, appropriate and safe way."
Two shipments have already been made to move some of Livermore's plutonium to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina and Los Alamos.
In the meantime, D'Agostino said, "It is properly protected at the lab. Livermore does a very good job on its security force."
Moving nuclear materials out of some sites is part of the NNSA's larger plan to update, consolidate and streamline nuclear weapons work at eight sites across the country, including both Livermore and Sandia/California laboratories.
The U.S. has been reducing the nuclear weapons stockpile in recent years, and it will soon be just a quarter of its peak size at the end of the Cold War. Part of the motivation for the consolidation of the weapons complex is that a smaller stockpile will require a smaller infrastructure to support it.
There are four potential plans, but under the NNSA's preferred option, Livermore Lab would lose some of its nuclear weapons work along with its plutonium, eventually maintaining 30 percent fewer buildings and employing 20 percent fewer people in that area.
The NNSA also hopes to stop DOE-sponsored explosives testing at Site 300 near Tracy, though testing could still go on for other agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security. Other changes would include shutting down two testing facilities, at Site 300 and at the Plutonium Facility, that simulate environmental conditions the stockpile is likely to experience to ensure the weapons will last.
Despite the changes, the lab will remain a vital part of the DOE's national security mission. "The lab's role is changing to reflect the future," D'Agostino said.
Livermore will continue to operate the National Ignition Facility, a multibillion-dollar laser facility, and it is home to several of the fastest computers in the world, which make it the leading center for supercomputing and nuclear weapons simulation.
It will still have materials scientists, code workers and other scientists and engineers supporting the nuclear weapons work. And it will play an integral part in counterterrorism work and supporting the intelligence community with capabilities such as nuclear detection.
"We're trying to make sure the high-tech work the lab is doing is sustainable," D'Agostino said.
"I want to make sure that endures well into the future."
Public meetings will be held on the NNSA's plans for the weapons complex tonight in Tracy and tomorrow morning and evening in Livermore. There will be informational posters, a slide presentation and a public comment session. Comments can also be submitted online, by mail or by fax anytime during the 90-day comment period which ends April 10.
"I very much want the public's input on this," D'Agostino said. "I'm interested in hearing from the people in the community about how they feel about this."
Betsy Mason covers science and the national laboratories. Reach her at 925-952-5026 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, March 17, 2008
Since it was formed this summer, the Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) has established operating and investment policies for the plan and selected BNY Mellon as the trustee and Watson Wyatt as the investment adviser.
The BIC is made up of various members of the Laboratory and LLNS partner companies.The BNY Mellon is a leading asset management and securities services company that has more than $20 trillion in assets under custody or administration and more than $1 trillion under management.
Watson Wyatt is a global consulting firm focused on human capital and financial management and serves the world’s largest pension plans.
The BIC has been developing the plan document and performing actuarial analysis in coordination with the University of California and NNSA/ DOE to determine the amount of assets and liabilities to be transferred from UC to the LLNS plan (more than $1.7 billion).
The plan document will be completed by the end of the year; the transfer from UCRP is scheduled for April 1, 2008.
During January, the BIC will select investment managers so they will be in place when UC transfers assets to the LLNS plan for TCP1 participants.
The transferred assets will be invested in diversified asset classes to reduce volatility of total investment results.
The BIC will select 8-10 investment managers with expertise managing each asset class (e.g. fixed income, domestic large cap growth equities, international value equities, etc.).
The BIC will report the funded status of the LLNS plan periodically.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
"Word on the street is ULM had a off site meeting this weekend to discuss the cutting of another 500 employees and the restructuring of the laboratory. I believe they called it a 100 day plan. You'll probably see entire groups or division collapse into one another along with building consolidation. Also the janitors had a meeting with Russo this week and he told them there would be more cut backs. So all you EBA's get ready to learn how to clean toilets."
I believe the statement was something to the effect of, "we are continually looking for ways to save money and as the buildings go away so will the jobs and with that the people and this doesn't mean only custodians.
Anyone who has more input please post the facts here. If this meeting actually took place the 100 days to termination of 500- 535 more employees coincides with one of ULM's LLNS new-hires that promised or should I say guaranteed they'd have LLNL's man-power dilemma under control by June of 2008. It seems they're a person of their word. I'm assuming Monday is the 100th day and counting. That should put the next 535 employees out the gate between June 25 and June 28th.
So the question is. When is Geroge going to tell the people of LLNL the grand plan, how will people be chosen and how will they be notified. I would hope they'd give these people at least 90 days notice since they need time to find jobs and get their finances in order before departure?
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
LLNL- You're Next
Did you get your invitation? Do you think they'll tell the city there's a plan to let 535 more people go shortly, right after DOE's approval; of which I'm sure they'll get without an arguement?
If you haven't been told you may have read your local newspaper and noticed you've been invited to a townhall meeting in Tracy . After the meeting please visit the Complex Transformation website. Please feel free to give any and all comments that you may have by sending them to email@example.com
Comments can be submitted in writing to: .
Mr. Theodore Wyka at: Complex Transformation SPEIS Document Manager,
Office of Transformation, NA-l0.l, U.S. Department of Energy/NNSA . "
1000 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20585; or
by facsimile to 1-703-931-9222, or bye-mail to:
Please mark envelopes and e-mails as "ComplexTransformation SPEIS Comments" More information is available at www.ComplexTransformationSPEIS.com
If you require special assistance at the public hearings, please contact
Mr. Wyka at 1-800-832-0885 (ext. 63519).
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
These employees have been notified and our office is working with them on the exit process. We wish them well in their new endeavors, he said. HR will set up an exit center at the Labs Training Center on Friday, March 14.
Departing employees and their supervisors are reminded to safely transition appropriate Laboratory documents and property such as keys, classified documents and other important material and government-owned property.
I want to thank our departing employees for their dedication to our Laboratory, said Director George Miller.
I hope all employees will join me in acknowledging their contributions to the Laboratory and the nation.
The final breakdown of VSSOP acceptances can be viewed on the Retooling the Workforce Web page. Employees will see two charts the first breaks down the VSSOP acceptances by PAD
The second breaks down the VSSOP applications by workforce-job code.
Now that the VSSOP is in the final stages, Miller noted that the senior management team is directing efforts toward further cost reductions.
Due to inflation and reoccurring costs, we have a $200 million annual budget problem, he said.
In addition, in order to be more competitive, our goal is to reduce the cost of our work to our customers in FY09 to the FY07 levels. So we must continue to explore ideas and opportunities to reduce costs.
Miller has asked Ed Moses, principal associate director for NIF and Photon Science, and Frank Russo, principal associate director for Operations and Business, to lead a cross-directorate, institutional team to look at opportunities for additional efficiencies and cost reductions.
Our team, under the direction of Deputy Director Steve Liedle, made great progress in this area, said Miller.
Our gains in energy savings, purchasing and non-labor-type services have been important. We need to go further so we will continue to re-engineer our Laboratory to have competitive rates.
In addition to the work by the Russo-Moses team, planning is under way to determine if additional workforce restructuring including a potential involuntary separation plan should be implemented.
This is not an easy decision and we have not made the final determination on our path forward, said Miller.
I will be updating the Laboratory on our plans in mid-March. In the meantime, I hope all employees can continue to identify ways to reduce our costs.
We want those re-engineering opportunities and all ideas are welcome."
Thursday, March 6, 2008
By the way. These's also a survey floating around the LLNL e-mail system asking for your opinion about what it's like to work at various nuclear weapons related complexes. May I suggest you take the survey and be honest about your feelings of how things are being run, your management and just what do you want LLNL's mission to be. They've asked for your opionion. Now's the time to let it rip and unload all that you've been holding back.
Contact them at Nuclear Deterrent Survey
Since NNSA has refused to post your comments about the 3161, you've once again been given a chance to express you likes and dismays. Don't miss this opportunity.
Lab says it will recognize union
# LIVERMORE: Agreement avoids a possible protracted dispute with unit of 170 skilled workers
By Betsy Mason
Article Launched: 02/29/2008 03:12:48 AM PST
Lawrence Livermore Laboratory reached an agreement with labor organizers Thursday recognizing a bargaining unit that includes 170 skilled crafts workers such as plumbers and mechanics.
In return, the Society of Professionals, Scientists and Engineers, which led the unionization campaign, agreed to drop two unfair labor practice charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board and one internal grievance.
"We're jubilant," said lab computer scientist Jim Wolford, a leader of the organizing drive. "We were looking at a rather protracted struggle."
Just before an Oct. 1 change in lab management from the University of California to Lawrence Livermore National Security LLC, the California Public Employment Relations Board approved the skilled crafts unit.
But the new manager refused to recognize it and sought to move the matter to the National Labor Relations Board, which oversees labor issues at private companies.
The NLRB requires a one-day election for employees to choose whether to accept the union, usually a more difficult hurdle than the signature collection the state permits.
In response, organizers filed the unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB.
Reach Betsy Mason at 925-952-2056 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Important dates to remember; they hold their board meetings on these dates all from 5-6PM in Bld 123, conf room A:
Wednesday, March 5
Wednesday, March 19
Wednesday, April 2
Wednesday, April 16
And now for a "dead on" assessment of the LLNS transition, the turmoil it created and issues that must be over come, if we can. Dead On Assessment
Union Drops Charges Against Lawrence Livermore Laboratory
BY KATE STURLA
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Category: News > University > Higher Education
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory recognized a skilled trades employees unit on Thursday, leading its parent union to drop two unfair labor practice charges.
After the lab, which is partly managed by the university, recognized the unit, the Society of Professionals, Scientists, and Engineers dropped charges that cited a failure to recognize and bargain with the existing bargaining organization.
The unit includes 170 employees in several positions, including plumbers, mechanics and pipe fitters.
"We are pleased that we've reached an agreement with SPSE and we look forward to future good-faith negotiations," stated lab spokesperson Susan Houghton in an e-mail.
The California Public Employment Relations Board had recognized the unit late last September, right before the lab's management switched from only the University of California to the Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, a security group that includes the university.
But the new management had allegedly refused to recognize the unit and asked unit organizers to go through the National Labor Relations Board, which has jurisdiction over private companies.
Unlike the California Public Employment Relations Board, the National Labor Relations Board requires an employee-wide election to approve a union.
"We felt that we wanted to give our employees an opportunity to vote," Houghton said.
She added that employees were also given the opportunity to come forward and leave the union, an option that some took.
But Jeff Colvin, the society's local representative to the University Technical and Professional Employees' union, called the lab's initial refusal to recognize the unit "absurd."
Employees began organizing eight months ago in anticipation of the change, he said. Prior to the Oct. 1 transition, employees had all the rights of university employees, including the assurance that they could be dismissed only for just cause.
"All of these rights disappeared with the transition to public sector management," Colvin said.
Union officials said they did not want to hold an election because the original decision to recognize the unit was already legitimate.
"It's standard practice for these elections to be gerrymandered-the employer decides who can vote and who can't, who's in the unit and who's not," Colvin said, adding that the process can take up to a year.
Lab employees have faced other issues with the transition to private ownership, Colvin said. For example, the lab laid off 500 employees in January and has plans to lay off an additional 750 employees, he said.
The union will now begin negotiating for better severance packages for employees who have been laid off and more protections for current employees, said union organizer and the society's former president Jim Wolford.
Contact Kate Sturla at email@example.com.
Tags: LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORY, SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS
Monday, March 3, 2008
The Livermore Independent has an interesting article
Go to article
These layoffs/return of workers will occur early March and the funding is nowhere to be seen. You'll see some additional strain on the lab as they try to find work for people who have left the environmental restoration program.
The concern is there could be layoffs and the team that has been put together will be broken-up. “The technical staff at the Lab is quite a competent team. I’d hate to see it broken up because of a funding glitch,” she added.
To date, no workers have been laid off. If the funding were not available, the Lab would return
them to their home programs, according to Bellardo. He said it would be up to the Lab to determine the disposition of the workers, whether they would be laid off or not.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
As a UC retiree we have also been told that even though UC is now offering Vision Service Plans to their retirees as of 4/1/08, the LLNL and LLNS UC retirees will not get this because LLNS has said "no". Also, LLNL and LANL UC retirees will have to get the okay from DOE in order to get an ad hoc COLA. In another word, we will never get an AD HOC COLA. What an AD HOC COLA is - it's another much higher COLA provided about every 10 yrs or so that UC gives to its retirees to catch them up with actual inflation if the annual 2% has not done that. With inflation on the increase, this is going to happen here sometime soon and DOE will say "nope" to the LLNL and LANL UC retirees getting this. Its all total crap and a rotten deal that we got because of this contract change. Its one of the worst decisions I've ever seen made by our government.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
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