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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

LANS @ LANL Where is the money?

LANS @ LANL Where is the money?

Found out today that their will be hardly any monies for M&S spending in FY11. The overhead tax rate on programs went up another 9% to cover the Pension shortfall and higher medical premiums.

Will not hurt Mikey and others in power as they get a nice salary from the Lab payroll and then another few hundred thousand from their parent companies such as LLNL and Bechtel. Plus a nice PBI Bonus. Oh and don't forget the Executive Pension and Medical Plans and other perks.

Its all smoke and mirrors folks. The outsourcing of the Labs has been a dismal failure. Management is covering it up with skewed metrics and falsifying audit reports. I am surprised that any science gets done at all.

Whats up at LLNL?


Anonymous said...

"The overhead tax rate on programs went up another 9% to cover the Pension shortfall and higher medical premiums."

About three weeks ago Mikey actually spoke to us and indicated there is a $70M shortfall in TCP-1 in 2011 and a $200M shortfall in 2012. Additionally, he indicated a 30% increase in medical premiums. Is this how LANS has actually decided to cover this, that is by taxing the programs? I guess I'm kinda happy, I thought he was going to tax the TCP-1 people pay more to cover this. Spread the pain across the Lab baby! Mikey not such a bad guy after all.

Anonymous said...

The 9% is LANS share. Don't worry. Your TCP-1 contributions and medical premiums will increase as well.

Anonymous said...

Sandia just announced reduced pension
benefits. I guess LANL and LLNL won't be far behind.
By closing TCP1 to newcomers, it is clear that at one point the pension system will collapse like a
Ponzi scheme. And then our pension will be substantially equivalent to the rest of the US middle class, namely non existent.

Anonymous said...

LANS really botched the retirement/medical calculations with UC and now is in a world of hurt. LLNS was a lot smarter so right now they are only worried.

The current system is non-sustainable. The older employees may escape without too much pain. The younger ones should be worried.

Anonymous said...

Since I was in TCP-1 but left, I don't really care how they cover it.

Anonymous said...

We'll see what LANS and LLNS eventually do about their pensions. Sandia is chopping their pension off at the knees. Why wouldn't LANS and LLNS do this next?

So much for DOE "guarantee" for the pensions...that was about as honest as their claim that the new private contractors would save enough money to cover the cost of their gigantic award fees.

But it's ok...the Senators and Congressmen and Women who made the looting of the National Labs happen I'm sure have received their campaign contributions, free trips on company planes and expensive golf outings courtesey of the winning principals.

The future Lab retirees (excluding senior management) won't be seeing anything of the sort.


Sandia Labs Cuts Pensions: Agency Faces $2B Shortfall

Associated Press Comment on this article 0
Published: August 19, 2010


By John Fleck

Albuquerque Journal, N.M.


Aug. 19--Sandia Labs on Wednesday announced cuts in future retirees' benefits as the nuclear weapons research center attempts to reduce a $2 billion pension liability.
The changes announced Wednesday apply only to workers hired before Jan. 1, 2009. Workers who joined Sandia after that are eligible for a different, less lucrative retirement plan.

Under the old plan, workers' retirement pay used a formula based on years of service, age and the three highest years' salary. The new formula will use the average of all years' salary after Jan. 1, 2012, meaning that after 2015, retirement pay would be less than under the current system.

Under the changes, an employee retiring in 2015 after 28 years of service, with a f inal salary of $111,000 would see his or her retirement drop from $52,200 a year to $48,600 a year, according to Sandia...

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that TCP-1 at LANL and LLNL are in completely different financial situations. While both were born "closed" they started in very different positions.

Based on a Jan 2008 comparison:

Participants - 6229
Plan Assets - $1,517,299,409
Target - $1,127,292,062

Participants - 3927
Plan Assets - $1,657,376,087
Target - $790,656,369

Both plans were over their targets for covering liabilities, but LLNL was substantially overfunded. And yes the market has gone south, but because LANL has almost twice the number of participants and less money in its TCP1 than LLNL, it is in a much more tentative position and needs to add contributions.

Lastly, if you read the article on SNL, their plan was an open plan for a long time and added participants increasing its liabilities. This compounded their situation, along with the market fall, has really forced their hand.

The real question should be, when the market comes back, will contributions be ended and benefits increased, or does LANS keep socking away the money as a hedge for future downturns.

Anonymous said...

The continuing lack of information from LANS just continues to demonstrate that LANS Management has no respect for the Institution. The empire will soon come tumbling down; the first stage will be Anastasio's departure when he (and Knapp) has fully protected his (their) investments and fully destroyed any semblance of Los Alamos as the once great scientific institution that it was.

Anonymous said...

The current system is non-sustainable. The older employees may escape without too much pain. The younger ones should be worried.

August 20, 2010 8:51 PM

Bingo! Give that man a cigar.

WIth $74 million in TCP1 shortfall for this year, followed by another $75 million shortfall in FY2011 and a massive additional $200 million shortfall in FY2012, this pension is clearly in deep trouble.

DOE/NNSA will likely start pressing to have it frozen out within the next two years or so.

Not to worry for Mikey, though, as he was given Executive Pension Insurance coverage by LANS so he'll be just fine. Besides, he's actively working to see that his annual compensation is bumped from $1 M to $2 M per year to match that of SNL's Director. It's nice to be the King.

Anonymous said...

"LANS really botched the retirement/medical calculations with UC and now is in a world of hurt. LLNS was a lot smarter so right now they are only worried."

Was it LANS that did the calculation? My understanding was that UC hired an outside company to figure out what was needed. And that when LLNL's contract was done, they recognized the error of their ways.

At the time of the contact change at Livermore we had heard that the TCP-1 plan at LANL had been shortchanged. That may have been part of the factor of getting only 50% of the LLNL folks taking TCP-1 whereas the percentage was much higher at LANL. It certainly was a factor in my decision to freeze with UC and take TCP-2. Of course one wonders if the TCP-1 plan at LLNL is in better shape than the UC plan, but it's water under the bridge at this point.

"So much for DOE "guarantee" for the pensions..."

At one of the presentations put out at Livermore it was emphatically stated that there was no GUARANTEE from DOE. DOE had been there in the past for other labs, and supposedly there was a signed letter of intent for DOE to back that portion of UC's plan that covered LLNL/LANL, but no such agreement was going to be made for TCP1 plans.

Now having stated all of that blather remember that for many of us we were contributing almost nothing for many many years into the UC plan because it was doing well. When UC kicked out the manager of the fund that was doing such a great job and the fund started seeing losses, they should have started up the employee contributions again. They did not and the plan has suffered even worse since the market has tanked. They've been arguing for years about restarting contributions but have sat on the fence hearing complaints from the various campuses.

Anonymous said...

It's not just LANS that has a problem. Many of the DOE contractors have shortages in their retirement. DOE is faced with a real delimna. The cost to fix these problems is huge.

Anonymous said...

August 22, 2010 4:27 PM

You are basically correct on what caused the difference between TCP-1 at LANL and LLNL - based on Hewitt's miscalculation with the LANL plan more money was put into the LLNL plan by UC, but then a lot less LLNL employees opted to enter it. Which is why its in much better shape than either LANS TCP-1 or the UC pension plan.

As far as this statement - "At one of the presentations put out at Livermore it was emphatically stated that there was no GUARANTEE from DOE."

I was in the audience and what was stated was; the Federal government does not back any private company's pension plan. Period.

DOE reimburses its contractors for labor cost - including pensions - but this is very different from guaranteeing the future solvency of a "private" pension plan.

Anonymous said...

The nail in the coffin for the LANS TCP1 pension will come next summer when it is clear that the pension is (a) faced with growing losses and (b) unlikely to recoup those losses without ever growing salary deductions and higher "pension taxes" on project funds.

Expect LANS to begin preparing the staff for an eventually "freeze out" of the pension by late next year. They are probably already discussing it behind close doors up in Mike's office.

The DOE's famous "substantially equivalent" promise made at the time of the "for-profit" LLC switch-over will be found to be null and void.

Anonymous said...

LANS really botched the retirement/medical calculations with UC and now is in a world of hurt. LLNS was a lot smarter so right now they are only worried."

August 22, 2010 4:27 PM

Now come on, the ONLY reason that LLNS is smarter than LANS is because LANS got Anastasio, McMillan, and Knapp left Livermore.

Anonymous said...

"Since I was in TCP-1 but left, I don't really care how they cover it.

August 21, 2010 11:27 AM"

"At one of the presentations put out at Livermore it was emphatically stated that there was no GUARANTEE from DOE."

The ONLY guarantee for TCP-1 is the PBGC whether you are retired from TCP-1 already or not.

Anonymous said...

For all the concerns about the TCP-1s, let us acknowledge that UCRP may faces hard choices in the future, too. There would be some hope of waiting this out if the laboratories' demographics didn't dictate that plenty of people will be taking retirement in the next 10 years.

Anonymous said...

The reason that LLNL's TCP-1 is now so over-funded is that a lower % of personnel took it. Many of the LLNL staff, having watched DoE and Congress screw LANL folks the year before, were scared that DoE -- staffed by incompetent liars -(think D'Agostino and Tyler) and hated by Congress were a bad bet - the risks were lower with the Regents of UC, who turn out to be the heros of this story.

As a result, the situation curiously worked out well for both LLNL parties.

At the time of separation, the UCRS plan for LLNL folks was overfunded by about 20% or $400M on paper, though the Regents were under no obligation to hand any more funds over than 100%.

As a result a weird advantage occured to both the TCP-1 and un-separated UCRS LLNL beneficiaries. DoE would not agree to UCRS keep the overfunding for the members who stayed with UCRS. DoE confiscated the overfunding. To agree to give any money back without a court fight, the Regents UC wisely got a written contract from DoE that the Doeheads would pay all future liablities associated with the 3500 or so that stayed. So these folks are protected by an enforcable contract. Nice work UC Regents. Go California.

Weirdly the resulting position of the those remaining in TCP-1 was significantly strengthed as well. For the only legal place DoE could put these 20% surplus pension funds was in TCP-1. So the 3500 that joined TCP-1 that was now overfunded by 40%at the transition. This dropped to about 10% overfunded at the market bottom and then rose to 100% recently. (Remember that only about 60% is invested in equities, about 40% are long-term bond-like instruments). So they (we TCP-1 beneficiaries) are in a relatively good position. A closed pension fund that is overfunded by 100%, as George boasted recently. No need for contributions here.

Note that in the far future, Once the fund is either closed or that last pensioner is paid off, DOE can grab the reminder and use if for the wh***es that Forrestal provides Congress when the tire of their pages. But I should get the full amount that I agree to when I turned down better paying opportunities and had to suffer through Moses and then the transition.

( until a Bernie Madoff-like protege snookers the LLNS TCP-1 retirement board- not the quickest studies). I just wish that we had one beneficiary on the pension board.

For it was the late, great John Maynard Keynes, who first figured out the WWI war reparations and then explained what the world did wrong to bring on the depression, who said, "Keep your small number of eggs in a basket and watch it very, very carefully."

Unfair. You betcha. Tyler, Tom and Congress really screwed us for not sucking up to them enough.

Dare you to print this.....current employee

Anonymous said...

Nobodys gonna retire, the new paradigm is old staffmembers are gonna die in place....double dipping while they gently decline ...

One of the unintended consequences of the stillborn cluster*******, that is the privately mismanaged laboratories.

Am now watching thi aging vanguard, 60 plus, collecting UCRS and a salary. Former excellent employees now tired,declining, inattentive and full of excuses....and time lots off, vacation, medical, family sick leave, AWS....what a great gig.

180% of salary. No-one is gonna give that up willingly.....My guess is that both Miller and Anastasio are on this gravy train and will both croak in place.

Anonymous said...

Both a 401k and a defined benefit plan are easily sustainable, it is simply deferred compensation.

The employee and employer must decide on an agreeable benefit and then fund it fully with current funds. Done properly it will likely be less than 15% of salary, probably less than 12%. Funded 2/3 by the employer and 1/3 by the employee, this works just fine. And after 35 years the employee can take home about 80% of the current salary with some inflation protection.

It works, if it is funded currently.

Perhaps the US has gotten too stupid to know a good idea when it hits them in the head.

Anything else is deceptive and mismanagement.

Anonymous said...

To continue...

At the time that LLNL's UCRS plan was valued the market was near the all time high. For that moment assets exceeded liabilities for the population of 7500 by about 20% or $400M dollars.

At the pension fund split between beneficiaries chosing between TCP-1 and remaining in UCRS, about 50% chose each. Those 3500 staying with UCRS choosing a likely loss because they don't trust DoE or Congress.

DoE greedily insisted that all of the surplus remain in TCP-1 even though -- since it is tied up for the sole use of beneficiaries who are otherwise protected by an existing surplus - the additional $200M provides no benefit to anyone.

More to come....

Anonymous said...


UC Regents had leverage because they had possession of the money, and could fight DoE in court for years while issues were resolved.

So it used leverage to get a written guarantee, DoE to Regents. that DoE would cover all shortfalls of the 3500 that remained in UCRS (this is published in the minutes of the Regents meeting approving the transfer.)

At least the UC Regents protect their employees.

Anonymous said...

Alora (so) The ODD OUTCOME

1. LLNLs TCP-1 started with a 40% surplus, dropped to a 10% surplus and now is probably back to a 70%-90% surplus. Money that is completely useless because it cannot be touched until all beneficiaries of that plan are paid off. Perhaps $700M just sitting there...locked up.

It does, I suppose, assure that the LLNL TCP-1 beneficiaries will be recieve their full pension commitments; but is probably the most overfinanced pension system in the country. One that would be considered at illegal tax haven by the IRS had it not arisen is the manner that it did.


Anonymous said...

So in summary, Tom D'Agostino and Tyler the Liar, think the following is "substantially equivalent"...

1. The UCRS pension rights of 6000 LANL and LLNL employees are guaranteed through written agreement with the UC Regents.
2. The TCP-1 pension rights of 3500 LLNL employees are secure because the plan is very well funded.
3. And about 6000 LANL TCP-1 employees are now paying 4% of salary to try to retain the same benefit, while LANS is openly circulating signals that the $200M shortfall is not provided for.



Anonymous said...



August 28, 2010 11:27 AM

It's a scandal what has happened to the LANS TCP-1 pension. The current salary reductions for the pension and the new 9% pension project taxes are just the beginning. It will quickly get worse as the shortfall spins out of control. Pensions depend on fixed income for a large part of their earnings, but fixed income securities are returning next to nothing and will probably stay this way for many years. The fact that Hewitt short-changed the calculation in UC's favor indicates a serious conflict of interest may have been present when the switch to "for-profit" management occurred back in 2006.

I'm amazed that most LANL employees are going along with this highway robbery. Look at the mess this privatization has created:

a) Cost to manage the labs spiral out of control from $8 million to $80 million per year -- a risk free and easy annual profit for Bechtel and BWXT.

b) GRT taxes take another $100 million from the LANL budget

c) Massive pension losses are eating away at staff salaries and at project funding (RIFs await?)

d) Morale is unbelievable low, science is going downhill, and trust in LANS management is nil.

Heckavajob, Tom D'Agostino.

Anonymous said...



August 28, 2010 11:27 AM

While a Class Action may sound attractive, the problem is the "Chicago and New York" lawyers would just love to rob the LANS/LLNS TCP-1 accounts clean. As is typical of class action lawsuits, each litigant would lose their pension and get a ten dollar check (max) after all is said and done. The other problem is quite frankly the majority of LLNS/LANS employees still trust these LLCs with their money and still have confidence in Mikey and crew looking after their best "interests".

Anonymous said...

So LANS hired Hewitt and they totally botched up the pension figures for the UCRP transfer to TCP-1 back in 2006?

How typical of LANS LLC !!!

It's the same type of mis-management they've been demonstrating at LANL as they run the place into the ground while collected huge executive salaries.

At least we get big weenies to gulp down at the September LANS "Love Fest" at Overlook Park. Thanks, LANS, for nothing.

Anonymous said...

And we still wait... and wait....for Mikey to get off his thrown to speak to masses and inform us how LANS intends to resolve the $100,000,000 TCP-1 problem and then the $212,000,000 next year.

By the way, LANS does not intend to serve big weenies at Outlook Park, for by default their are no big weenies in the Land of LANS, only little weenies. You will be very disappointed if your expecting to get a big weenie.

Lastly, did you hear how Marquez picked someone to lead the effort to Lead the Outlook Park picnic? He spun the bottle! How original. I assume LANS will decide our fate in the next RIF the same way? Sure, why not, LANS will blame it on the bottle when it goes to court.

Anonymous said...

Feeling better about TCP1 for LLNS, but I have a question. It was mentioned that in a talk it was stated the federal government does not back any private pension plan. But it was also stated as a fact that NNSA would cover TCP1 shortfalls (I'm assuming this applies to both LLNS and LANS). PBGC would only kick in if NNSA doesn't have the funds. So that would indicate that TCP1 is covered by DOE, just like the contract DOE has with UC Regents for TCP2, no? Could someone elaborate on that part of it? Facts only please.

Anonymous said...

For September 5th-
Scroll up the screen a little and check the comment posted on August 28, 2010 11:10 AM.

UC is supposed to have swung a deal with DOE/NNDA concerning those who elected to stay with UCRP's plan. The UCRP plan is not protected by the PGBC funds, nor is it governed by all of the rules that would pertain to a plan that is covered under the PGBC.

My understanding was that DOE had signed a letter of agreement that had them responsible for covering a shortfall of the UC fund that only applied to LANL and LLNL retired folks. I took that to mean those already retired and those who chose to retire inactive.

As I understand it, there is NO DOE/NNSA agreement to cover a TCP1 shortfall, it is covered (to whatever degree you consider covered) by PGBC.

The PBGC covers defined benefit plans, thus TCP2 is NOT covered.

Anonymous said...

Forget about any verbal promises you may have heard from DOE/NNSA about the TCP1 pension during the transfer several years ago.

DOE/NNSA has made if abundantly clear during this last year that they see TCP1 as a "private" pension. Therefore it is up to the "for-profit" LLCs to keep it fully funded. There will be NO direct NNSA funds to bail it out. If the NNSA labs downsize, etc, and can't find a way to pull this money out of either staff salaries or by using massive project taxes, then TCP1 will go bankrupt and be passed off to the PBGC, just like any other private pension of an American corporation.

You need to understand that NNSA views the staff at the labs as ordinary government contractors, just like any other employees of a company that wins a government contract. You wouldn't expect DoD to come in and bail out the Boeing pension and you can't expect NNSA to help the lab pensions. There was some type of agreement to protect the lab's older UCRP pension, but that was because it was a "public" pension and not a "private" pension. DOE/NNSA pulled a fast one on the lab employees when they made it mandatory for the LLC to be a "for-profit" entity.

Staff at these labs were way too compliant and unquestioning when the NNSA lab switch-overs occurred. Even today, most staff have no idea just how exposed their pension is to horrible future shortfalls in pension payouts.

By the way, here is one other tidbit you might want to consider. If you retire at 65, the PBGC will pay out a maximum of around $45k to someone from a bankrupt pension (that is, if the PBGC fund is still around for much longer!). However, if you retire at 60, as many workers at the lab do, the PBGC max annual payout is caped at around $20k per year. If you happen to be highly qualified scientist who retires at age 60 with 30 years of lab service and are pulling $100k from TCP1 in retirement, you will be in for a very rude shock if/when the TCP1 pension goes bankrupt!

Anonymous said...

Is it in writing somewhere that NNSA is no longer covering TCP1 should it come up short? Because it was stated as a fact numerous times while we were deciding which way to go. The order was LLNS, then NNSA, then PBGC last resort. If someone could point to a document that states NNSA will not be covering TCP1 it would help. No need to elaborate again on TCP2, we already know the agreement there.

Anonymous said...

Sept 6, 8:23, you say that the staff at these labs were unquestioning and way too compliant. I have to disagree there, especially with the issue of NNSA backing TCP1. It was asked and stated as fact numerous times, and many based their decisions on it. If there is a document that states this is no longer true, it needs to be investigated. As for your example, you would indeed expect DOD to bail out the Boeing pension (using your example) if DOD indicated it would.

Anonymous said...

Fact, like the contract NNSA has with UC for those in TCP2, NNSA has a contractual obligation to fund TCP1 if needed. If this has changed someone needs to provide proof and not speculation

Anonymous said...

The LLNL/LANS pensions are not private company pension plans just like Boeing or any other private company plan in the country. The Lab(s) plans are required by our contracts with NNSA and the costs are allowable. Does this make the pensions bulletproof, no. Does it make the possibility of default less likely? Absolutely. Don't let the fear mongers too far into your brain. They are probably wishing they had your retirement benefits or they already do and are just pulling your chains.

Anonymous said...

Sept 6 8:23 PM,

"DOE/NNSA pulled a fast one on the lab employees when they made it mandatory for the LLC to be a "for-profit" entity."

Just to set the record straight, there was no requirement in the RFP that the bidders on the LLNL or LANL contracts be "for profit" entities, nor were there required to be LLCs. These were UC decisions as to structure. It is discussed in a document prepared by UC legal for the Academic Senate - "An Introductory Guide to UC’s Ties to LANS LLC and LLNS LLC
and their Management of the Weapons Labs at Los Alamos and Livermore" which can be found at:


"NNSA required that any bidder for the LANL or LLNL contract be organized as a distinct, special-purpose legal entity dedicated exclusively to the performance of the contract"

UC went the LLC route. They could have created a "public" entity or LLC solely within UC (similar to what Univ of Chicago did for ANL), but UC needed (particularly for the LANL bid) industrial partners to strengthen the bid. These partners wanted more control and money to join up with UC, and the private LLC model made these easier.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the NNSA will see to it that the TCP1 pension is covered with sufficient funding. However, they will do this by:

A) Taking more and more of your salary as a pension contribution, and

B) Jacking up the "pension tax" on projects until there is no money left to pay the workers and so layoffs must occur.

So, yeah, you'll get your some TCP1 pension, but good luck trying to make it to 30 years of service at the labs. Probably not gonna happen any more.

As far as using some of the juicy annual LLC profits to help fund the pensions.... Mike Anastasio has made if very clear that it will NEVER happen. UC and Bechtel like that free money too much!

Anonymous said...

I think the point is that BOTH TCP1 and TCP2 may ultimately depend on NNSA to fund their pensions, therefore the risk is the same. I hope those who had to decide between the two plans knew this at the time (based on some of these posts it appears maybe not).

Anonymous said...

TCP2 is a 401(k) plan, not a pension. I don't think NNSA is in the business of insuring stock market losses.

Anonymous said...

I think the point is that BOTH TCP1 and TCP2 may ultimately depend on NNSA to fund their pensions...

They already do every year, it's just not a line item.

From another perspective, given that TCP2 is a contribute-as-you-go system, the only potential overhang would appear to be retiree medical benefits.

Anonymous said...

It is true that TCP2 is not a pension fund but a 401k. Thus it is not a NNSA/DOE liability. The stock market does what the stock market does - the government has no obligation to "bail out" people who decided to go their own way. As I see it, the people who took TCP2 and then took UC retirement in addition are way ahead, and UC will never default on current retirees, no matter how much future retirees may suffer due to current liabilities. Those who were eligible for UC retirement but chose TCP1 instead are now seeing the folly of their assumptions.

Anonymous said...

Where is the money?

Maybe a good part of the money went into the weenies and hotdogs at the annual LANS 'Love Fest' held this last weekend at Overlook Park.

Anonymous said...

Obviously for TCP2 we're talking about those who froze with UC and will be getting a pension; not newcomers whose only choice is the 401K plan.

Anonymous said...

Obviously for TCP2 we're talking about those who froze with UC and will be getting a pension; not newcomers whose only choice is the 401K plan.

September 15, 2010 7:00 AM

Not so. We are talking about all new employees since the transition, as well. No TCP1 for them. Also, we are talking about former UC employees who did not qualify for a pension.

Anonymous said...

Large numbers of companies have already cut or totally removed their TCP2-like 401k matching contributions.

Once DOE/NNSA starts crunching the numbers and see what is going on in the corporate world, they'll probably mandate either cuts or the total elimination of the TCP2 employer match.

There is no "substantially equivalent" comparison clause to UC when it comes to TCP2.

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