BLOG purpose

This BLOG is for LLNL present and past employees, friends of LLNL and anyone impacted by the privatization of the Lab to express their opinions and expose the waste, wrongdoing and any kind of injustice against employees and taxpayers by LLNS/DOE/NNSA. The opinions stated are personal opinions. Therefore, The BLOG author may or may not agree with them before making the decision to post them. Opinions not conforming to BLOG rules are deleted. Blog author serves as a moderator. For new topics or suggestions, email

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Interview with Dr C Paul Robinson

This guy should have been the director for all DOE Labs!
Here are Q&As with him I took from LANL's Blog.

Full text

When a contract is not a contract.

I have spent most of the summer chatting every other day with the
"representatives" of LLNS at Hewitt Management in a so-far futile
attempt to get LLNS to adhere to the Kaiser health benefits as outlined
in 20 years of "Evidence of Coverage" (EOC) documents, including the
present one covering LLNS.

My primary complaint (shared by many at LLNL?) is that UC threw us
bona-fide UC retirees over the wall, linking us to the private
contractor, LLNS, for whom we never worked (or wanted to work!!) a day
in our lives. This was probably a prelude to the accelerating shrinkage
of the UCOP staff (with what change in UCOP budget?) that is now
requiring the campuses to take over many of the formerly system-wide
functions operated by UCOP. I might understand booting campus UC
retirees back to their respective campuses for benefit management (which
are at least UC non-profit institutions), but why must I end up begging
for UC benefits from a management company that is dedicated to profit
for George Schultz and bonuses for Lab ULM?? I note that the UC Regents
have not returned the half million or more of license or royalty income
from my patents, either to me to the private LLNS.

Over the past 3 years, my partner and I have managed to sell our house
in San Jose and to build a great new place in the hills of southern
Mendocino County, moving here in April. My UC pension and the associated
benefits were a very important consideration in all of our decisions. I
have been lucky to have Kaiser's east-bay HIV specialist as my personal
physician since 1989, and I remain extremely healthy and robust due to
his care and my own research. We were assured multiple times by Kaiser
and my physician that we would continue our Kaiser membership, getting
most of our medical services at the Santa Rosa Kaiser center, although
Mendocino County is technically out of the direct service area (see EOC
excerpts below). My physician would remain my continued provider and I
would take the occasional 120 mile trip to see him. He assured me that
he continues having patients that live even farther away and would
arrange for me to see other appropriate specialists in Santa Rosa.
(Recall that Kaiser is a membership organization and not a health
insurance company, per se) This continued Kaiser membership is based on
the eligibility clauses that are part of all the past UC and present

"Service Area eligibility requirements
The Subscriber must live or work in our Service Area at
the time he or she enrolls. The "Definitions" section
describes our Service Area and how it may change. You
cannot enroll or continue enrollment as a Subscriber or
Dependent if you live in or move to a Region outside
California except as described below. If you move
anywhere else outside our Service Area after enrollment,
you can continue your membership as long as you meet
all other eligibility requirements. However, you must
receive covered Services from Plan Providers inside our
Service Area, except as described in the following

After 2 months of frantic phoning (Hewitt canceled our Kaiser membership
as of June 26), I am today told that the LLNS group "contract" does not
allow out-of-service-area membership. The decision is apparently made
only on zipcode and no other lack of "eligibility" has been stated. The
LLNL on-site health benefit co-ordinator also supports this strange
interpretation of EOC language. I have not (YET) been allowed to see
this so-called REAL group contract, and no one can explain to me how or
why we have received yearly EOC documents that have not (apparently)
truthfully reflected this hidden contract, despite what the first text
in the LLNS Kaiser EOC states:


This Evidence of Coverage (EOC) describes the health
care coverage of "Kaiser Permanente Traditional Plan"
(which is not a federally qualified health benefit plan)
provided under the Group Agreement (Agreement)
between Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. (Health
Plan) and your Group. For benefits provided under any
other Health Plan program, refer to that plan's evidence
of coverage. "

I will, of course, be obtaining legal assistance and challenging this
decision, because I have found Kaiser to be the only non-profit health
care system (other than the VA) that actually operates moderately
successfully in this country. However, all LLNS employees and
unfortunate UC-LLNL retirees should be aware that LLNS management does
not adhere to the health care coverage that is plainly described in the
published EOC, at least for this provider. What other clauses are
similarly "not relevant"??? I recommend that we all obtain the _TRUE_
group coverage contracts for the health plans, since leaving the plans'
interpretations solely in the hands of for-profit management is likely
to result in arbitrary and unchallangeable "decisions" that cost us
money, health, and potentially, life!

aka 2005-Retiree

Change we can believe in!

Contributed anonymously (by a person with a sense of humor):

We need some CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN. Can we find a 47 year old technically strong leader who can restructure our lab to support the scientific and technical staff in redefining our mission?
Your opinion?

How does funding look?

Anonymously contributed:
How does funding support look for next fiscal year around your part of the Lab ? Is there any place at the Lab that is doing well right now with regards to WFO funding ?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The un-written rule!

anonymous asked:

Is there an unwritten rule in COMP that when there is an opening,preference is given either to COMP candidates or to outside non-LLNL candidates.
Is there bias against candidates from other parts of the Lab?


Were the cuts too deep?

Anonymous said:

Do you agree the cuts went too deep?

Have you seen the job postings? Twenty postings in the S&T area... Computer Scientists, Environmental Analyst, Program Leaders, Physicists. Heh! Weren't those positions targeted during the May layoff? What's the word on the street in your hallways?

Monday, August 25, 2008

2000 people in 2 years!

Contributed by anonymous:

I ran across this in the May 15, 2008 minutes ( of the UC Regent's Committee on Oversight of the DOE Labs... it's the last sentence that should give us all pause....

"Mr. Darling (UC Executive Vice President) reported that the Livermore laboratory is facing a $280 million funding shortfall this fiscal year resulting from a variety of components. These include a $50 million increase in inflationary costs, a $100 million reduction in federal funding due to the National Nuclear Security Administration’s budget reductions for Livermore, and items associated with the awarding of the new contract, the first of which is $86 million in increases mainly for retirement and health benefits compared to the costs the laboratory would have absorbed if it had remained part of the University. The second is $44 million in increased management fees and expenses that DOE agreed to provide to the winning contractor. To accommodate the shortfall, the laboratory is reducing both its operational and labor costs, but as the majority of its budget is related to its employees, the laboratory is being compelled to reduce its workforce by 2,000 employees over a two-year period."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

LLNS: Can you hear this?

This comment was brought from the post "Any suggestions for upper management"
It calls a spade, a spade!

First, management needs to understand how past WFO projects outside the weapons area have started -- a scientist or group of scientists had an idea and convinced their division leader to support it. They then developed it and found sponsors. A main motivator was that they would be rewarded by their division leader with higher pay, responsibility, and prestige in their division.

The current situation is completely counter to the the process that has worked in the past.

We now have middle managers whose primary responsibility is to bring new money in the door. This means that any efforts or initiative to do so by "lower-level" scientists/engineers are not rewarded. Indeed, the credit is usually stolen by the middle managers and they will take away control of any funding. The scientist's division no longer sees any of the money -- so they can care less. Scientists who rely on these middle managers for ranking get low grades (or else they would have to admit who actually brought in the money). The problem is now exasperated by the fact that the middle managers now often sit in different organizations than the scientist. As alluded before, this means that the division has less incentive for the scientist to bring in new money.

The increasing trend towards pure "matrixization" at the Lab that has occurred over the years is leading to less and less financial control in the hands of line-level divisions. They no longer have the flexibility to deal with their local needs (employee development, bringing new funding) because they rely or compete with organizations that they support for "overhead" funds. These latter organizations, by the way, have their own people as their highest priority.

An unintended, but serious consequence, is that scientists who bring in projects in subject areas, whose funding stays inside his organization, will get rewarded more highly than those who bring-in money in subject areas where funding control is under the support organization.

It only makes sense that WFO opportunities require subject matter expertise at the division level where management directly works with scientists. This has worked before. Now the Lab has created a broken system that disincentivizes workers and prevents divisions from bringing-in new work.

A personal experience -- the division, in which I belong, used to be a world leader in its scientific area until it was arbitrarily declared to be a matrix organization and it's own programs were given to another organization. Now the division is literally disappearing and leadership is lost. Employees in this division are scrouging around for work here and their. A colleague brought in several millions of dollars in a new subject area but his efforts were ignored and complete project management was taken away. His annual ranking was mediocre. Another colleague has a new idea and works to find several gov't sponsors. When word gets around, he is promptly contacted by a middle manager in another organization who is eager to "manage" his project.

If the above fundamental problems are not fixed, obviously, the Lab won't last very long.


Anonymously asked:
If every other facility at LLNL were to shut down except for NIF support personnel and the Super Computer how many people would LLNL need to operate?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Layoffs in October?

Anonymously contributed:

Despite the ULM talks, people are still talking in the halls about a layoff in October. What's your opinion?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Any suggestion for upper management?

suggested anonymously:
what would you say to upper Lab management on how to turn the Lab around ?

what did you think of Frank Russo's talk?

Suggested anonymously.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Invitation to ULM to anonymously comment

Someone anonymously suggested that since there are so many negative opinions in this BLOG about LLNS, why can't ULM set them straight (rebutal) in this BLOG, anonymously?
If they don't do that, then, all we hear must be true.
ULM or the ones that read this BLOG for them, speak out!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Is He/She right?

Anonymous said about us:

You livermites are the worse example of unity I've ever seen. Your blog or should I say lack of participation tells DOE, NNSA & LLNS all they need to know. They can do what they want, any time they wish, and all you'll do is bend over and take it. Even in a time when you're wages are 20% behind inflation you refuse to ask where's your 20%, while ULM get huge pay raises, bonus checks and build their nest eggs at your expense. It seems the Livermites' lack of action, involvement and complacency is a prime example of what has ruined this country and turned the mass majority into corporate America's lackey's. You get what you allow. Enjoy you dilemma..

Is he right?

Friday, August 8, 2008

How will I know...?

Contrubyted anonymously:

Immediately during and after all LLNS pep talks LLNL employees should be asking themselves the following question: Will I now or at any time in the future believe the rhetoric presented by anyone in LLNS management especially, when you are told once again that,
"I don't foresee any future lay-offs . . ."

If you take the time to review the LLNL to LLNS transition questions and answers (over 1000) it will become readily apparent that LLNS has reneged on almost every answer that was provided. The VSSOP and ISP processes were also fraught with numerous inconsistencies, potential inequities and half-truths. Did George's speech really give you a warm fuzzy . . . remember the "We are Family!" spiel - some of those faithful are now pounding the street and trying to find employment during extremely difficult economic times.

Does anyone really believe that all is well in Lab-Land after today's carefully orchestrated speech, audio/visual extravaganza, the squelching of rumors and the job security massage ('er I mean message)? Did you hear anything about pay raises versus the inflation rate? Looking into the crystal ball I suggest that the following is a distinct possibility: that halfway through FY-2009 (or earlier if the fog of budget battles clears) and, certainly after election day, the country wakes up to find itself in the hands of a Democratic Party controlled House of Representatives, Senate and a new President at which time someone in LLNS will state that a budget "miscalculation" has invoked the need to reduced staff to make up for the "unforeseen and disappointing" budget shortfall. Sound familiar?! Since approximately 40 employees a month have been electing to leave LLNL employment for greener pastures, better benefits, pay raises and stable employment it is possible that a potential RIF may not be necessary; however, should the pace slow then another VSSOP and/or ISP may be closer than you care to think.

Hopefully LLNL employees will no longer take these talks at face value and that they will continue to search for improved employment opportunities while, as in today's talk, they hum to themselves a "Silence is Golden" refrain. Good Luck and God Speed to those who use their minds and hard-earned trenching tools to actually make the great escape!

crocodile tears...

Anonymously contributed:

Miller talk. Crocodile tears about injury at Rochester, soon followed by the proclamation about NIF being free of safety incidents (but wasn't the ladder incident in NIF?). Odd comment that he had "broken" (I think that was the word he used) S. Houghton who is resigning. Funky music with images of "achievements" by LLNL. Would not confirm rumor that world wide web access is being cut off. Berated employees who have tossed their "we value" cards. Zero questions for him from the audience. Did I miss any high points from this inspiring presentation?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A vote of no-confidence in "Livermites!"

That is what they calls us at LANL!

What our friends at LANL are saying

Is career development dead with LLNS?

Contributed anonymously:

There are opportunities at the Lab but the motivation on the part of management to fill them is not there!

Things will change but in another couple of years. Certainly not 08 or 09.

The indicators are:

1) How many posting are there in the site and what are they for? There should be more postings but many managers are too paralyzed to make a move and post.

2) I have looked for opportunities within the lab for 2 years now.

First, before the transition, it looked like the hiring managers had an incredible preference for outside applicants(may be outside applicants tend to be younger?)

Second, my own management was hell bent on not letting me get "matrixed".

That is not likely to change without a culture change!

3)After the transition, all managers seem to be paralyzed, waiting for the next directive.

No one wants to make a move.

Will LLNS look at the lack of career development for its employees?
It seems that that is not even on the list to do now.

I have the impression that LLNS is encouraging people indirectly to leave so they can replace them with new cheaper, qualified or not, workforce.

Someone from "key personel" can correct it on that!

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