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Sunday, March 29, 2009

GM, When will bloated management be reduced?

We have an enormous management burden at the lab. 2600 or so non-management employees and contractors were laid off, but the numbers show very few managers were laid off. The management size relative to workers has increased dramatically. The costs and budget shortfalls at this point are NOT a function of us bringing in less money. We can solve the shortfalls, even probably have a surplus, by eliminating this huge costly management burden. Given the size of the RIF, management should have been reduced about 40-50%. Instead, we have a relative 40% increase. The budget gimmicks of shifting costs around avoid this fundamental problem. We are all sinking because of the apparent willingness to fire the people who work on projects, but managers are protected no matter the cost. Well, those costs are now here to roost. One manager laid off, given their gross overpayment, saves 2-3 people working on projects. If managers are pushed out of management into the working ranks, their pay must be reduced accordingly. I am hearing of some managers being pushed into non-management positions but they are keeping their high pay. Worse, the efforts to recruit key people to work on technical projects is not working. People inside and out of the lab can see these problems, yet our management is either clueless, or ineffective in dealing with these problems. Myself and others working on projects are looking to leave the lab (as many others have done) because it has become clear that the management is most concerned with protecting management, protecting their pay, their positions, even if it means firing and humiliating scores of people working on projects. Why are you not generating the overhead to pay the management? Duh, lay off the people that do the work and produce the overhead, while expanding the size of management. The people working on projects almost universally have noted you will not get rid of managers, even if incompetent. Hopefully you won't sink the entire lab just so that you can pad your pockets for a little while longer. And please, don't lay off a competent person working on a project so you can replace them with an incompetent, technically inferior manager, just so you can preserve one of your own. It is time to cut these folks.

March 28, 2009 2:18 PM


Anonymous said...

Let’s not forget … 40+ high salary managers were hired into LLNS last Oct 1. No pre-transition managers were layoff … Existing managers just moved to another slot (usually with a title containing: deputy, assistant, associate, senior staff or dept special whatever. How many managers were let go … after the 2,000+ employees layoff ?? The density (managers / staff) probably double since Oct 1.

Anonymous said...

I have known the Lab for 30+ years and I can tell you that most deputy-somethings have a token job.
Also, most group "leaders" are another layer that lower management created to deal with the day to day operations of their division. Most of them are ill-trained and have no business wearing a "leader" hat. Most of them (and I have been in many directorates) would have been better off as a foreman on an assembly line. Leaders?

Anonymous said...

During the week of May 22, 2008 many Plant Engineering career crafts people including some shops Leads and also 3 First Line Supervisors were kicked out the gate. LLNS told them their layoff was permanent and to never come back. On the day of their layoff many were treated as if they had done something wrong when in fact they had excellent employment records and were considered valuable employees. At least 3 had 28 to 32 years of dedicated service to LLNL.

Although Plant Engineering had many Senior Supervisors, Superintendents, Division Leaders, etc., none were laid off. Seems to me that LLNL has many more managers now than they have ever had. I don't like to see anyone lose their job and I hope there are no more lay offs, but why did LLNS lay off so many of the people that were getting the work done ?

Anonymous said...

First of all. let me say I left the lab 2 months ago for a higher paying job with much better benefits. Why'd I leave? I could see the writing on the wall. Management didn't participate in the layoff because they were the ones deciding who should go. They weren't going to get rid of themselves or their friends. A year ago my department was going to do a reorg to cut costs, they decided to go down from 6 divisions to 6 divisions. And no that wasn't a typo. Instead of combining some divisions like rumors suggested, the reorg consisted of moving a division leader into the department office and promoting someone up to division leader. Argh? It was all a bunch of BS.
Then last year a new manager took over my area, he was totally incompetent. Came in late, left early, didn't do anything productive during the day yet was more then willing to take credit for others work. And his bosses thought he walked on water...because there was very little accountability.

And all the promises about lowering costs? I did the financials for our project every month (because the new manager couldn't be bothered) so I saw what the costs were...and they hardly dropped at all, even after all the layoffs.

You really could gut more then half of management and I bet no one would even notice.

Anonymous said...

As a manager, I confess that I agree with these comments completely. There are literally hundreds of people who add little or no value--they are almost as worthless as the LSO staff--but they make far more money.

A number of the extra managers brought in with the new contract are leaving. Most should not be replaced.

Anonymous said...

s"A number of the extra managers brought in with the new contract are leaving. Most should not be replaced."

Oh no, wait... I can reduce cost ... maybe I can apply for their job ... I know how to cut cost: reduce staff and then reduce service hours. And I'll add in a re-org to make things more efficient. I'll do this for half their salary. (no extra charge in renaming new org that include 'strategic' or 'advance')

Anonymous said...

Remember folks we're all part of the big Pizza as FR would say. I wonder if they means we'll get the salami before or after it's sliced.

Anonymous said...

It is a safe, secure work free environment. Something that NNSA wants. And to provide that environment will require tons and tons of documents that requires the management ranks to be swollen, not shrunk. Bechtel is more than willing to meet those expectations. Remember it was UC that was doing the scientific portion of this contract, Bechtel handling most of the other chores. And when it comes to Bechtel and UC, we know who gets the top bunk.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything "March 30, 2009 8:20 PM" said. I also left ~4 months ago - not because of the layoffs, not because it was so hard to get WFO funding, not because I didn't enjoy the work, but because there are a vast swathe of over-paid useless managers at LLNL. I was tired of watching these managers and overheads eating the money I'd worked so hard to get into the lab. There is a culture of "getting by" within management at LLNL - they do whatever it takes to keep their job and salary but almost nothing to be genuinely useful to either the organization or the projects. This was true of my group leader (head of a group of 6!) and everyone above her. There's nothing that can change this culture because it has been honed over many years of "fail upwards" promotions, academic timescales, and political backstabbing. It made me so depressed and angry every day - i just had to leave.

So - how many in total are left at the lab? What was the percentage of personel at group leader or above 12 months ago and what is it now? (the original poster seems like they had actual numbers - unless they just made it up).


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