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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Summary of what Penrose said

All Hands:

- 10% salary reduction for all
- Likely Start: right after CR (3/27)
- Eliminate Variable Compensation Program
- Request to NNSA to delay jump from 5% to 7% pension contribution, no response yet.
- LLNS will make no contribution to help with any of this.
- Major impact is to pension. Even one day of this will disrupt the 36 continuous months for HAPC baking. If they do this once every 35 months going forward, no ones HAPC will ever rise again.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is NIF going to be exempted from the furlough/not-actually-a-furlough?

FYI: An actual furlough would preserve your HAPC...which is why they had to construct this special one...in order to "preserve your benefits". What a crock.

Anonymous said...

Very troubling meeting.

Either Parney is completely clueless about how HAPC and our pension works and therefore doesn't understand the long-term damage his non-furlough plan is creating.

OR

Knows exactly how our pension works and is party to trying to decimate it.

For a guy who obviously considers himself very smart...in this case he appears either very dumb or not looking out for his employees.

There are simple solutions to this:

1) An actual furlough (this would have no impact on HAPC, nor set up future capability to kill your HAPC progress every 35 months).

2) Have people voluntarily take vacation days.

3) Solicit input from the employees! We're a lab full of smart, creative people with a vested interest in getting this right (unlike Parney who is not in our pension, and clearly doesn't understand it or care about it).

Anonymous said...

You forgot the best one yet. - "If you're a foriegn national green card or not you do not take a cut in pay and you will not be furloughed" Isn't being a real American born and raised here great?

Anonymous said...

About half the employees chose TCP2 on the change of contract. The furlough effect on HAPC does not apply to them. I have no idea how many of the TCP 1 folks plan on retiring in the within this 3 year window, but I somehow doubt it's half the lab. The tradeoff of the lesser accumulation of sick leave and vacation affecting all or the 10% pay cut affecting a smaller population looking at HAPC would on the face seem to favor the path they have chosen.

Don't like it? Neither do I. Just remember who is holding office now. And when the elections come up, let the incumbents know how you feel about the job they are doing. Or not doing in this case.

Anonymous said...

Also, doesn't a furlough decrease service credits?

Anonymous said...

"About half the employees chose TCP2 on the change of contract. The furlough effect on HAPC does not apply to them"

No, but it does effect TCP2 401k matching, which will be reduced by 10%!

And the sick leave / vacation time argument is completely specious. You're getting 2 extra days off per month, that more than makes up for the very minor vacation/sick leave loss.

Everyone's getting screwed by this.

Anonymous said...

"how many of the TCP 1 folks plan on retiring in the within this 3 year window"

You don't get it. It's not just the next 3 years.

If they do this once every 36 months going forward (and there will be many opportunities) they forever freeze your HAPC.

Anonymous said...

Good question about Service Credit. I'd like to know the answer to that. In all the newsline etc articles they are really going out of their way to hide the pension impacts, service credit impacts, etc.

They're not being upfront at all.

Anonymous said...

Forget having to now stick around another three years after this furlough thing to get credit to your HAPC....how about if they RIF you anytime in the next 36 months...you'll never get your HAPC credit.

Think about that.

Anonymous said...

Have people voluntarily take vacation days.

That does decrease an accumulated liability, but it does nothing to decrease cash flow, which is what becomes precious under Federal holdbacks.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, do you folks even understand what's happening here? It's not about your HAPC or your service credit. It's about you having your career entirely dependent on a federal government that is absolutely broke! And in debt up to its eyeballs! Is that a situation you think is sustainable for yourself or your dependents?? Get a clue.

Anonymous said...

9:55 PM hits the bulls eye. The whine about a temporary 10% cut could turn into I wish I still had my job should congress finally find some cajones and pass a budget with the thought that the weapons labs are no longer needed at anywhere near their present day funding levels.

Anonymous said...

Hey I didn't vote for Obama...he agreed to this.
If the "Entitlement mindset" wasn't in play Mitt Romney would be President and we'd all be working.
Remember "tax and spend" from Jerry Brown to Obama and at some point all the building blocks are going to crash down.
You can have your experiment on Liberalism and it may cave in the whole system. I will be fine it is the next generation that will pay dearly for this little experiment.

Remember the sequestration funds that are cut are BORROWED from CHINA or just printed.
At the end of the day Liberalism cannot work...........

Anonymous said...

Your right! Prepare for the end! Brushup on you're huntin an fishin right now. Armageddon is here!

Anonymous said...

Your right! Prepare for the end! Brushup on you're huntin an fishin right now. Armageddon is here!

March 1, 2013 at 8:24 PM

No Clyde, it's not Armageddon (which of course you were careful to spell correctly). It's just the government getting a well-deserved little toe amputation. With more to come. Chop chop.

Anonymous said...



Your right! Prepare for the end! Brushup on you're huntin an fishin right now. Armageddon is here!

March 1, 2013 at 8:24 PM

No Clyde, it's not Armageddon (which of course you were careful to spell correctly). It's just the government getting a well-deserved little toe amputation. With more to come. Chop chop.

March 1, 2013 at 8:37 PM


It is a step in the right direction but do not discount Armageddon just yest. These cuts will not be enough and next year we could get downgraded as it is realized the cuts did nothing. Panic could soon be the order of the day. And yes learning to hunt and fish is never a bad idea. On top of gold and learning to make some of your own food. It may not end up as complete Mad Max but it could be like the 30ys but way more violent. China may figure it is time to step in and reorg American into something more useful for it. Mexican drug wars could spread rapidly in the United States. Strange cults could rise. One thing that could help is that facebook and the internet have made zombies out of alot of people so they could coast by. If you where going to invest you might think about stocks is physcrotropic drugs. There sale could sky-rocket.

Anonymous said...

So, I don;t get it. For each month going forward that the 10% salary reduction applies, the 1/36 th contribution to the 36 month average "HAPC" may or may not be less than the salary that would be dropped from the average -that is the monthly salary from 37 months ago. So the highest part is the selection of either the salary averaged from months 1-36 back or if higher from 2-37 back. Right?

For example. If an employee made 10k per month for the last 36 months, the HAPC would be 10k. If that salary was reduced to $9k per month on April 1. Then the HAPC going forward would drop by $10/36-9/36 for each month the salary reduction continued. So for this example, a 6 month reduction period would drop the HAPC by about 2%. $9.8k vs. $10k. But the Highest of the two periods is $10k so it would be chosen. What is lost is the growth that would have occured.

At least that is what I think without any additional input.

This is like what happened in the salary freeze. Growth was eliminated for 2 years, which reduced the HAPC increase that would have occured.

I think

Anonymous said...

Not blaming Obama for this; he's not the one trying to preserve tax loopholes for the rich. Agree that this is just a glimpse of what is to come; I think we all need to be happy to have jobs and for those who took TCP1 hopefully you can live on a pension based on your highest average three years because it's probably still a pretty decent salary. For those who took TCP2 who may see their matching contributions continue to dwindle along with an unpredictable stock market, hopefully you have invested well. I'm thinking about those far less fortunate than us who are really going to suffer, and soon. I was just reading about 450 + families who will be booted from section 8 housing. Think about that if you start feeling depressed about how this will impact you.

Anonymous said...

This is just the FIRST year of sequestration cuts. They compound each year. We'll see across the board cuts of 2% this year, 2% the next year, 2% the year after that....

Sorry to say, but it only gets worse from this point going forward.

Anonymous said...

" - LLNS will make no contribution to help with any of this."


Of course not. All those juicy profit-fees get shipped off to Riley Bechtel so he can afford his huge yacht and private jets.

Anonymous said...

All those juicy profit-fees get shipped off to Riley Bechtel so he can afford his huge yacht and private jets.

March 2, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Totally untrue of course, but if it makes you feel better...

Anonymous said...

March 1, 2013 at 9:15 PM

Seriously? The best and the brightest?

where ≠ were
your ≠ you're
there ≠ their ≠ they're
its ≠ it's
et cetera..........

Better get back on your "physcrotropic" medication.....

Anonymous said...

March 2, 2013 at 7:34 PM:

Forget it. The high school dropouts posting here pretending to be LLNL scientists give it away every time with their atrocious spelling and grammar. You won't succeed in outing them, and they won't be deterred. Unless their mommies stop making their dinner.

Anonymous said...


Seriously? The best and the brightest?

where ≠ were
your ≠ you're
there ≠ their ≠ they're
its ≠ it's
et cetera..........

Better get back on your "physcrotropic" medication.....

March 2, 2013 at 7:34 PM

Woa friend dont get on my case. I too am against the so called "best and brightest". The arrogance must stop and has been the cause of many problems. I also agree with you about science that if it has any value should not be done at labs but it can be done by private companies who can discern value much better than the government. I am with you that these Phd's may know who to spell but they lack real skills like hunting and fishing. The best and brightest should include all skills nut just spelling and knowing crazy formulas.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
So, I don;t get it. For each month going forward that the 10% salary reduction applies, the 1/36 th contribution to the 36 month average "HAPC" may or may not be less than the salary that would be dropped from the average -that is the monthly salary from 37 months ago. So the highest part is the selection of either the salary averaged from months 1-36 back or if higher from 2-37 back. Right?

For example. If an employee made 10k per month for the last 36 months, the HAPC would be 10k. If that salary was reduced to $9k per month on April 1. Then the HAPC going forward would drop by $10/36-9/36 for each month the salary reduction continued. So for this example, a 6 month reduction period would drop the HAPC by about 2%. $9.8k vs. $10k. But the Highest of the two periods is $10k so it would be chosen. What is lost is the growth that would have occured.

At least that is what I think without any additional input.

This is like what happened in the salary freeze. Growth was eliminated for 2 years, which reduced the HAPC increase that would have occured.

I think

March 1, 2013 at 11:24 PM

This is the way that I read the rules, too. I do not understand the assertions about how the "salary reduction program" will "freeze" HAPC, potentially permanently if the reductions happen every 3 years. Can somebody please explain that assertion, and illustrate with example calcs? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

March 4, 2013 at 12:01 PM:

OK, let's review: Education bad. Science bad. Correct spelling bad. "Crazy formulas" bad. Hunting and fishing good.

That about sum it up?

Anonymous said...

Simple Example (with big numbers to see the effects clearly):

2010 Salary: 50k
2011 Salary: 100k
2012 Salary: 150k
2013 Salary: 200k

"Furlough" instituted right after 2013 raise.

Many assume HAPC: 150k = (100 + 150 + 200)/3

Actual HAPC: 100k = (50 + 100 + 150)/3

Why? It takes 36 continuous months of earning that salary for it to fully age into your HAPC. Having gotten the raise isn't what's important, it's *receiving* the wage for 36 continuous months that counts. Same goes for previous wages in the 36 month window and all the compounding effects.

So anytime they do even a one day furlough, your "aging in" of the previous 2 raises and current raise and all compounding effects is frozen until you can get 36 continuous months in.

So, if they just use some excuse (congress/DOE/NNSA/budget/NIF/etc will likely give them plenty of opportunities) to do even one day of this specially-constructed-not-actually-a-furlough every 36 months, the clock will keep resetting and you could be making 500k and still have an HAPC of 100k.

Anonymous said...

Good explanation.

So, just because you received a raise (or a series of raises over many years) if there is even a single day of furlough once every 36 months, you will never receive them in your HAPC.

Anonymous said...


Exactly.

That's what people are waking up to.

It's not just a little 10% salary cut for a few months (as it's being sold), it's:

1) Resetting your HAPC 36 month window.
2) Opening the door to have it reset every 36 months going forward. Forever freezing your HAPC.

They could have done this any number of different ways which would not have this effect. They obviously did it in this very particular convoluted way so it has precisely this effect.

All the while claiming they designed it "limit impact on the employees".

Which is a total lie. The way Parney and his crew designed this not only hurts folks in the pension in the maximum way, but it also hurts TCP2ers because lowering their salary lowers their 401k payment by 10%. Whereas not lowering their salary would not have that effect.

And the part about preserving our sick leave/vacation is a total canard. We're getting an extra 2 days off per month, that's an extra 24 days of vacation per year. That's 5 extra weeks!

If Parney was intellectually honest he would have laid out multiple options and their impacts. No one would have chosen this one because it pummels folks in TCP1 and TCP2 on top of being a 10% pay cut.

This option was clearly designed and chosen to freeze the pension and reduce payments to TCP2ers.

Anonymous said...


"..furlough every 36 months, the clock will keep resetting and you could be making 500k and still have an HAPC of 100k..."

In effect this is a back-door way to freeze the pension.

Very interesting.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe the HAPC analysis given above is completely correct. First, in the example given with $50K raises every year, the HAPC will continue to rise under a "furlough" because 90% of the 2013 salary (0.90*$200K = $180K) still provides an increasing HAPC (although the increase will be at a lower rate than without a furlough). I realize that this was an extreme example meant to illustrate a point.

Consider the following slightly more realistic example. And yes, despite the salary freeze, about half of all employees received salary increases in 2011 and 2012, although they were called adjustments, not raises:

2010 Salary: $9500/month
2011 Salary: $9600/month
2012 Salary: $9700/month
2013 Salary: $10000/month

If a furlough begins on April 1, 2013, it means that the HAPC will be initially frozen at $9642/month (($9500*9 + $9600*12 + $9700*12 + $10000*3)/36). If the furlough lasts 3 months, the HAPC on July 1 still will be $9642. Note that without a furlough, the HAPC on July 1 would have been $9683 (($9500*6 + $9600*12 + $9700*12 + $10000*6)/36).

Unfortunately, the HAPC remains frozen for several months after the furlough ends. In the above example, the HAPC remains frozen for 3 additional months. The specific number of additional months depends on the duration of the furlough and employee salary history. So on October 1, 3 months after the furlough ends, the HAPC is still stuck at $9642. Without the furlough, the HAPC on October 1 would have risen to $9725 (($9500*3 + $9600*12 + $9700*12 + $10000*9)/36).

But at some point the HAPC impacted by a furlough begins to increase. In the above example, the HAPC begins to increase 4 months after the furlough ends. So on November 1, the HAPC will be $9656 (($9500*2 + $9600*12 + $9700*12 + $10000*3*0.9 + 10000*7)/36). The HAPC begins to increase because enough months have passed at the higher full 2013 salary to compensate for the reduced 2013 salary during the furlough months. Of course, the HAPC under a furlough remains lower than the non-furlough HAPC until almost 36 months have elapsed.

In this example, the furlough HAPC will be $83/month or $1000/year less than the non-furlough HAPC. This will have very significant impact on those employees about to retire. The total amount lost will be tens of thousands of dollars throughout a typical employee's lifetime. The Laboratory and Parney are not being honest when they claim that the impact will be minimal. The above example is realistic. The loss of $20K-$40K for a typical employee is not minimal.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, you guys are amazing. You can keep arguing HAPC after you are RIFed in a few months. Can you say "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic"?? Isn't all that sand getting in your eyes and ears?

Anonymous said...

I these LLNL dudes paid as much attention to calculating the physics of ignition as they do to calculating their HAPC, maybe NIF wouldn't have been such a dud!

Anonymous said...

Good clear analysis. Thanks for your work on this.

Furlough will be 6-7 months minimum (i.e. end of fiscal year). That:

1) Drags this calculation down even further.
2) Extends catch-up time further out.
3) Makes you more vulnerable to subsequent furloughs keeping you from ever increasing your HAPC/catching it up to what it should be.

Anonymous said...

March 4, 2013 at 8:03 PM

Don't worry - you'll have no further vulnerability to furloughs once you are RIFed. Before the end of the FY, once lab management figures out what's really going on in Washington. (I.e., no one has any interest in changing the current state of fiscal affairs until the 2014 mid-term elections - 20 months away.)

Anonymous said...

I agree completely. All this DC theater is about the mid-terms.

Based on the way LLNS designed this furlough I'd say they see the endgame all to clearly (just like their pension endgame is jack all they can out of the employees and then toss it to PBGC).

LLNLers: Your pension is being frozen now and you will be RIFed in the Fall.

Start preparing for it now.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clear example of the effects of the salary reduction on the HAPC.

For anyone retiring in the next 3 years, it looks like a 7 month sequester results in about a 1% loss of pension or %500 -$1500 per year over both the retiree and spouses remaining lives. Perhaps $10-$30 k lost per family.

If someone retires more than 36 months after the current salary reduction period ends, I think they work long enough so that the negative HAPC impact of the reduction runs out.

Of course pessimists (realists?) anticipate repeated reductions.

Anonymous said...

"Jeez, you guys are amazing."

Yep. That's the point. DOE is full of dipshits, LLNL and LANL management is full of self-serving dissemblers, and a few good men and women make sure the stockpile is safe and effective. So, lets screw them!

Communist agents used to have a name for the strategic use of satisfaction amoung enemies weapons production center... what was the term de art?

Anonymous said...

Add my thanks to the others above for some good analysis and illustration.

I note that there are 2 interpretations of rules being used. The most prominent one in this thread is that HAPC is the highest average of any 36 continuous months' salaries. I think that's right.

The other interpretation uses the term "baked in" (see March 4, 2013 at 3:54 PM, above). I'm not sure I understand this interpretation, but the implication is that you only get to count salaries in the HAPC if you rfeceived then for 1 full year. Can somebody please explain this interpretation and maybe even provide a pointer to the wording that makes you think this is correct? The implications are very big if this is indeed correct.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I ran the numbers for my specific case, since I'm planning to retire in less than 3 years. The HAPC is impacted as described above. But I'd only have to work another 3 months or so until the combination of age and service increased enough to offset the reduced HAPC. So I conclude that the furlough makes an impact, but not a huge one, as others appear to think.

Anonymous said...

Clearly if you are that interested in the HAPC calculations, you are close to retirement.

Do us all a favor and get out now. Given the bitching on this site, you've hung on way past your usefulness and really need to go.

Anonymous said...

Do us all a favor and get out now. Given the bitching on this site, you've hung on way past your usefulness and really need to go.

March 5, 2013 at 5:01 PM

You have it wrong. The ones that can "get out" now will be doing THEMSELVES a favor. No favor to you because without their expertise and experience you will be unable to meet your deliverables, and will be fodder for the upcoming RIFs. You sound like a typical self-absorbed, yet completely ignorant of the world, young jerk. Is your smart phone making you smarter yet? Hint: before you do or say anything to anyone, ask yourself: would my mother think this is right?

Anonymous said...

It is an open question whether the weapons establishment is staffing and training at an adequate pace to maintain and update a stockpile.

It is a question for the next generation of Americans, after Sunni, Bath and Kurds arm in response to the Shia and Pashtun bombs.

Hope we are out of there before the plains of Megiddo reveal themselves.

Anonymous said...

Although I haven't read this officially anywhere, I am interpreting what some have written here to mean that if a single day of furlough is applied then the continuous 36-month period for the HAPC calculation is broken, and cannot restart until 36 more months have passed. So the HAPC that applies the day before the first furlough applies for the next 35 months. Is this a correct interpretation of "baked in'?

Does a single LANL or LLNL benefits person read this blog? Can they clear up the confusion?



Anonymous said...

It's a kinda vaguely written in the pension docs. They talk about "36 continuous months" that could be interpreted as a series of 36 monthly calculation (as one guy did above) or as 36-month chunks (as another guy did above).

I too would like clarification from benefits on that point.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the last 2 posters for that explanation.

Perhaps that is another reason that at LLNL we are not actually being furloughed. As I understand it, our salaries will be reduced and we'll be given some extra days off. Our employment will still be 100% time. So that should not trigger an interruption of "continuous service". And should not stop HAPC.

I think the talk of freezing the HAPC by having a furlough every 3 years is just incorrect.

Anonymous said...

I too would like clarification from benefits on that point.

March 6, 2013 at 12:50 AM

Just ask someone who has already retired how the calculation was done for them. For me, it was a running average for the 36 highest-paid continuous months. That was easy for me to verify since my salary increased monotonically for the 36 months prior to my retirement. Only four numbers to average (since I retired in the middle of a FY).

Anonymous said...

Irrelevant.

You didn't have this furlough/not-a-furlough during that period.

Anonymous said...

You didn't have this furlough/not-a-furlough during that period.

March 6, 2013 at 6:46 PM

Irrelevant - the question was about the way 36 month HAPC is calculated, furlough or not.

Anonymous said...

HAPC is based on the "full-time equivalent salary." For example, suppose your full-time monthly salary is $10K. If you work 50% time, your actual salary is $5K. However, your HAPC is based on the $10K number (averaged over your highest 36 continuous months, which is usually but not always your last 36 months). Of course, in the above example, your service credit accumulates at a 50% rate.

The 10% salary reduction approach ("Laboratory closure") is an order of magnitude worse than a 10% service credit reduction approach ("Laboratory furlough") for employees planning to retire within 3 years.

For example, and although there are caveats, the salary reduction approach planned by the Laboratory ultimately reduces the HAPC by 0.36% relative to what it would have been for each month subject to "closure." Service credit is not impacted. Remember, under the salary reduction / closure method, full-time employees still work 100% time since they are being paid on the closure days, but at a reduced salary rate.

On the other hand, an actual furlough would not impact the HAPC because the full-time equivalent salary would not change. It would, however, impact service credit. For an employee with 25 years of service credit, each month on a furlough would reduce the service credit by only 0.033%.

The choices are 0.36%/month HAPC reduction vs 0.033%/month service credit reduction. The Laboratory elected the first option, which significantly impacts employees nearing retirement.

Anonymous said...

March 6, 2013 at 7:39 PM

Your arguments are completely irrelevant since you wil be laid off this summer.

Anonymous said...


Thank you to the person who posted the 0.36 vs .033% comparison. Very useful.

And thanks to the various posters in this thread who posted their calculations and understanding of how
HAPC will be calculated during the "furlough" (not actually a furlough). I've learned a lot and its given me a lot to think about.

I would have had a lot of respect for Parney if he had had benefits publish this info vs trying to make the difference sound "minimal" and irrelevant as he did in a couple of all-hands and as the official furlough FAQ does.

He either doesn't care, doesn't understand, or understands perfectly and knows exactly what he's doing. Whichever, its very poor leadership and poor character.

Anonymous said...

its very poor leadership and poor character.

March 7, 2013 at 8:11 AM

C'mon, it's Livermore; what did you expect?

Anonymous said...

its very poor leadership and poor character.

March 7, 2013 at 8:11 AM

C'mon, it's Livermore; what did you expect?

March 7, 2013 at 8:02 PM

Livermore, the epitome of poor leadership and poor character brought to Los Alamos: Anastasio, Knapp, McMillan, ......

Anonymous said...

Livermore, the epitome of poor leadership and poor character brought to Los Alamos: Anastasio, Knapp, McMillan, ......

March 8, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Don't forget Mara - I don't understand why everyone thinks he's a saint. He also brought his own brand of "at Livermore" to LANL. To the detriment of several very promising nascent programs.

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