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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 jlscoob5@gmail.com

Saturday, December 21, 2013

LLNL receives annual performance scores

LLNL receives annual performance scores 12/20/13 The Laboratory has received the scores determined by the NNSA Fee Determination Official for fiscal year 2013, earning an overall 87 percent of the total fee, or $41.3 million. We are pleased NNSA recognizes the Lab's continued strong performance in programs, operations and infrastructure, but we are disappointed an award term was not given. For the three program-related performance objectives (mission and science), the Laboratory earned two ratings of "very good" and one rating of "excellent." The Operations and Infrastructure Performance Objective received a rating of "very good." For the Contractor Leadership Performance Objective, the Laboratory earned a rating of "satisfactory." Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, holds a seven-year contract to manage the Laboratory, with four consecutive one-year award terms already earned, taking the contract to 2018. Additional award terms could extend the contract through 2026. We understand NNSA will issue a detailed report on the PER at a later date. We will address the findings of the report at that time. -- Bret Knapp (Acting LLNL Director)

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

So now we know why Parney was fired. Bechtel board of governers wants many more years (term awards) before having to prepare another bid.

Anonymous said...

IF you are correct, then why wasn't Charlie also fired?

Anonymous said...

Can someone who is knowledgeable about these contracts please translate this for me - is 87% of the total considered good?

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I'm surprised we did that well....

Anonymous said...

IF you are correct, then why wasn't Charlie also fired?

Patiz probably didn't want to deal with two searches at the same time.

Anonymous said...

They set a low bar. No real big accomplishments out of NIF, like alpha heating.

Anonymous said...

Parney had no business being a laboratory director. He was completely out of his element and obviously could not deal with the frustrations that come with the job. I also heard he had no edge- decision making was a problem for him.

Anonymous said...

I find it amazing and sad how badly the GOCO (government owned, contractor operated) - FFRDC (federally funded R&D center) model is implemented within DOE, especially NNSA labs. Before coming to LLNL I'd worked at and with large non-DOE labs that are GOCO/FFRDCs; DOD/AF Lincoln Labs (run by MIT) and NASA's JPL (run by Caltech). The success and leadership at these two labs blows the NNSA labs away.

The big difference? Almost zero micromanagement and interference into the internal HR and site operations by the federal employees overseeing these labs.

I am positive that the Directors of these labs would never have allowed their fed site manager to keep them from talking to "their" lab employees about the government shutdown. Which is exactly what DOE/NNSA ordered contractor leadership to do - which Parney ignored.

What is the real big difference between these labs and NNSA labs? Lincoln and JPL are run by strong "real" contractor entities (MIT and Caltec) with real cultures and strong management wills, and not by fake LLCs. If the JPL Director got into a spat with the NASA site office manager, that lab's Director is picking up his phone and call the President of Caltech, who in turn would personally be calling the NASA Administrator (or even hire) to support the Director and get the issue resolved in the lab Director's favor. Could you see Norm covering Parney's backside in a disagreement with Kim over internal LLNL operations. Yeah - not happening.

The feds at Lincoln and JPL worry about "mission" outcomes and not the inner workings of the contractor run labs. And the "true" contractors are held accountable for the mission. As Parney noted a year ago - JPL's annual federal budget is slightly more than LLNL's $1.4 Billion, yet the NASA oversight presence at this federal owned facility is a fraction of what is at LLNL.

Unfortunately and sadly, I see no chance of improvement or change as long as NNSA exists.

Anonymous said...

I was an EIT and EBA for a year. The week of September 16th, 2013 I asked the NNSA Livermore Field Office Manager Kimberly Davis Lebak, for an avenue for LLNS employees to submit input to the LLNS contract extension. She never returned my emails or phone calls. On September 20th, 2013, I was "dismissed" (fired) and escorted off site.

Anonymous said...

The NNSA Livermore contract extension "objective report card" system is flawed big time.

Anonymous said...

Both California Senators are aware of the NNSA Livermore "objectivity" concerns in fine detail.

Anonymous said...


"...I was an EIT and EBA for a year. The week of September 16th, 2013 I asked the NNSA Livermore Field Office Manager Kimberly Davis Lebak, for an avenue for LLNS employees to submit input to the LLNS contract extension. She never returned my emails or phone calls. On September 20th, 2013, I was "dismissed" (fired) and escorted off site..."

The NNSA Livermore Employee Concern Program Manager, and his NNSA ECP attorney team both supposedly subject to DOE Order 442.1A , (I used the NNSA ECP before for basically the same chronic retaliatory concern) are now stating they have "insufficient information" to pursue my concern.... What?

Anonymous said...

The DOE management system is abysmal. You have contractors running the nuclear complex because DOE doesn't have the technical ability to do so. So DOE hires organizations to do a mission for them, then sets up an elaborate set of hurdles to cripple any attempt at performing that mission. It's a bizarre passive/aggressive dysfunction you don't find outside of DOE.

Now don't get me wrong about one thing. There is some need for oversight. That's a very legitimate function. The problem is that DOE is a set of fiefdoms filled with too many people who've never done any of the things they try to oversee. The result is a bizarre set of Orders written to the lowest common denominator in an environment divorced from any real world understanding of operations. It's a made-to-order fiasco.

Basically, DOE doesn't know how to run these facilities. It hires people to do that. Then it imagines how it would run them if it knew how, details that imaginary world in poorly written regulations, and inflicts the resulting psychosis on itself and its contractors at extraordinary cost.

Any grades in such a system are meaningless. They're divorced from any rational mechanism of cause and effect.

Anonymous said...

".. Any grades in such a system are meaningless. They're divorced from any rational mechanism of cause and effect. ..."

It is one thing to not have the knowledge base to properly evaluate LLNS. It is a very different and serious problem if LLNS is allowed to self assess followed by a NNSA Livermore stamp of "evaluation" dominantly based on a LLNS self-evaluation. The NNSA Livermore Team and LLNS are not adequately separated for the NNSA Livermore Team to have meaningful objectively. How is this fair or a level playing field to other LLCs desiring the LLNL contract?

Anonymous said...

"It is one thing to not have the knowledge base to properly evaluate LLNS. It is a very different and serious problem if LLNS is allowed to self assess followed by a NNSA Livermore stamp of "evaluation" dominantly based on a LLNS self-evaluation. The NNSA Livermore Team and LLNS are not adequately separated for the NNSA Livermore Team to have meaningful objectively. How is this fair or a level playing field to other LLCs desiring the LLNL contract?"

It's not a different thing at all. The NNSA Livermore's evaluation is fundamentally meaningless. If you want separation, NNSA Headquarters could do it and it would be every bit as meaningless. There's no rational criteria or competent people involved. It's all a show, and whether you agree with a given grade or not is simply a function of what prejudices you bring to the table.

Anonymous said...

No contract extension because NNSA's grand plan is to eventually fire the current LLCs and bring in a new set of low-bid contractors who will wipe away the remaining employee benefits, cripple the existing pension funding and lower salaries.

The LLCs of 2006/2007 were just the first phase of NNSA's plans. The next phase will completely wipe away any part of DOE's 1st phase promise of "substantial equivalent". It will be found no where in the next round of LLC contracts when LANS and LLNL loose their hold on the labs.


Anonymous said...

That is an excellent analogy, or anti-analogy, between NNSA Labs (e.g., LLNL, LANL) and non-DOE Labs (e.g., JPL, Lincoln). I think the cultures are significantly different at both the oversight organizations (DOE/NNSA vs NASA) and the Labs themselves (LLNL vs JPL).

In one case (NNSA oversight of LLNL), management at both NNSA and LLNL is performed for the sake of management. It is a job all unto itself. It is the end product. All technical work could stop and NNSA and LLNL still would insist on a need for management. In the other case (NASA oversight of JPL), management is considered a necessary function to achieve broader technical goals. It is not the end product.

Managers at LLNL want to be managers. That is their career objective. Managers at JPL consider themselves scientists/technical people first, and managers second. Yes, there are a few exceptions to that generalization. However, the person who was director of JPL at the time was on the 5-person committee for my PhD qualifying exam. He was a scientist first, and a manager of a large laboratory second. After his stint as JPL director, he returned to a full-time scientific position. That type of atmosphere does not exist at LLNL, although it does exist at LBNL.

Some people and organizations gravitate towards more management and micromanagement because that is what they enjoy. Other people and organizations gravitate towards less management because they would rather occupy their time with other activities.

Anonymous said...

"...The LLCs of 2006/2007 were just the first phase of NNSA's plans. The next phase will completely wipe away any part of DOE's 1st phase promise of "substantial equivalent". It will be found no where in the next round of LLC contracts when LANS and LLNL loose their hold on the labs..."

If you are correct, and the trend line is definitely in your favor, what should LLNS employees individually or collectively do in the attempt to retain ever eroding benefits, job stability, and employment policy? LLNS "SHRM-Staff Relations" are useless for the worker bees. Is the NNSA Livermore Team an objective resource for the concerns of LLNS employees?

Anonymous said...

The posted on Dec 23 @ 10:38 am makes a very good point. But I think that organizations don't just "gravitate" toward more or less management.

Both LANL and LLNL come from the background that was probably the pattern for JPL. Why are they different now? They weren't that different 20 years ago. I don't think that the LANL and LLNL gravitated toward more management because they were filled with people tat enjoyed that - quite the opposite was true.

The government drove the labs that direction. It may have started earlier, but I witnessed the descent, starting with the Admiral and his Tiger Teams. The labs are nothing if not smart, and they respond quickly and quite effectively to direction and incentives from their HQ "bosses". Once those folks were politicized, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING became a matter of documenting the fact that all requirements were met.

The poor judgement of Congress in finally taking te labs away from a public steward and making them for-profit was an inevitable outcome, though hastend by a perfect storm of idiocy.

It's hard to see how this trend will reverse. Where is Hari Seldon when you need him?

Anonymous said...

"December 23, 2013 at 10:38 AM"

I say BS on this. If there is one thing we know is that eggheads make very bad managers. Just look at what happened with Chu. Perhaps JPL does this kind of thing but JPL would not survive in the real world. You can complain all you want about LANLs and LLNLs but this is the new reality get used to it or get out. If you want to remain a scientist drone for the rest of you life that is your problem, some people what to do something with their lives and become leaders and managers.

Anonymous said...

It is not true that eggheads make very bad managers. Some do. Some do not. But that is not the point.

The point is that many organizations thrive when management and micromanagement are constrained. This includes both government laboratories and private companies in your so-called real world. Effective leaders delegate responsibility at both the macro and micro levels. Eggheads who follow this approach can be effective leaders. But when management is essentially the end result, as it is with the NNSA/LLNS/LLNL combo, then the organization is doomed to fail. I should not have to write five progress reports every month for a single relatively small project. That exemplifies the problem, not the solution.

I agree with Dec 23 @ 1:16 pm. My comment is that many of the most successful individuals at LLNL over the last 10-15 years have been those who immediately complied with dictates from above. By successful, I mean those people most likely to be rewarded and promoted by the organization. It is in this way that the LLNL management culture shifted due to the increasing burdens mandated by DOE/NNSA, congress, and others. Many of the most successful individuals have been those who excel at micromanaging others, even if it has meant deterioration of the broader organization.

Anonymous said...

If there is one thing we know is that eggheads make very bad managers.

December 23, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Indeed! Just look at how badly that egghead Oppenheimer screwed up the A-Bomb. My Gawd, under his so-called leadership it took 3 whole years to build a deployable weapon from scratch.

Anonymous said...

"Indeed! Just look at how badly that egghead Oppenheimer screwed up the A-Bomb. My Gawd, under his so-called leadership it took 3 whole years to build a deployable weapon from scratch.

December 23, 2013 at 5:31 PM"

A copout argument. There is no way you could build something like that in three years without breaking a million rules. Back than we where at war and we did not know the safety or security issues. Oppie might have been the right man then but he is the wrong man now.

Thinks have changed so get used to it. In many ways the labs are thriving just look at the awards. Once the old workforce is gone we will no longer have this kind of griping. This whole idea of "best and brightest" has really been the disaster. It created the bad lab cultures we have heard about so much, the constant whining and big egos. I think if we just went for the "get er done and don't complain types" everything would be just fine and lots cheaper to boot. This idea in the United States that " I am so smart I am special attitude" has got to go, only the marketplace should be allowed to determine who is special and special means what you are worth in cold hard cash, no more no less. If you think you are so smart and deserve a nice salary than go out there and compete for it like everyone else. If you have a problem with LLNL than get out, shut up, or become a manager. Nuf said

Anonymous said...

Well Mr. Nuf, from what you said, it sounds like you are the whiner here.

Anonymous said...

December 23, 2013 at 6:54 PM is POS or his clone. Absolutely hates anyone with more education than him - which is almost everyone.

Anonymous said...

LLNS received $41.3M? For what? The managers at the Lab are already paid by NNSA operating funds. UC used to do this for a few $M, and even then some of that money was used to support the Lab in research funding and other activities that could not be supported with the operating dollars. This is just waste by the moronos who thought that a for-profit contractor was an improvement.

Anonymous said...

Considering that LLNL does not have to perform complex operations like special nuclear materials handling, it's easier for them to get a higher score (in contrast to LANL). NNSA either has to raise the bar higher for LLNL, or it has to reduce the fee. LANL is getting the short end of the stick if LLNL gets to pick low hanging fruit year in and year out.

Anonymous said...

This whole idea of "best and brightest" has really been the disaster. It created the bad lab cultures we have heard about so much, the constant whining and big egos


This is so true. Many (the vast majority I have met over my lifetime) hold this perverse notion that somehow they are special, and that they are smarter and more creative than everyone else, when in fact, they make their careers in a bubble. You compare their resumes with someone in industry, and you see stark differences between those who have tangible accomplishments and those who "participate" in initiatives that have gone nowhere.

Bringing this back to the annual performance score, all three labs are failures in many aspects. The way they manage talent is attrocious. I personally know many cases (especially egregious at Sandia and LLNL) where exceptional talentented and creative people with a demonstrated track-record of execution and customer-delivery are routinely punished for performing at a level far above the mediocrity around them. I encourage each of them to leave. Sandia, LLNL and LANL are cesspools of mediocrity.

Anonymous said...

Sandia, LLNL and LANL are cesspools of mediocrity.

December 24, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Yet another whiner heard from. Where do these cry babys come from?

Anonymous said...

Don't think they are "crying." I Think they are laughing, taking from the language and tone.

Anonymous said...

.. and to all, a good nght.

Anonymous said...

[December 22, 2013 at 3:41 PM] has an interesting story. No one will ever know if there is a correlation, but a year on EBA is a long time and it is not surprising that it came to an end. Hope you found something else, and you have lots of company - many people have been sent packing over the past year.

Anonymous said...

EIT and EBA status and the associated SHRM support structure are a sham. It is a layoff construct in slow motion. Make no mistake about it. Many assignments are not posted or are delayed on purpose. In this recent downturn, assignments previously held by Akima employees went to management FTE buddies on the QT with the approval of Associate Directors and programmatic "workforce" Managers.

The analogy is people fall overboard and into the ocean. While in the ocean over the loud horn you hear they are coming for you. In the dark of night, the rescue boats pick up their favorites, while those black listed remain in the water to fend for themselves. The ship records will carefully document all loud horn communications.

Anonymous said...

Correct on delayed postings, once a job is posted EBAs have priority. So if you are blacklisted and are a threat as an EBA, the posting will be delayed until you find something else or get riffed. The entire management structure of the lab needs to be dissolved, and any talk of performance ought to include the reality that the whole structure is corrupt.

Anonymous said...

"First priority" for EITs and EBAs? It doesn't happen. If managers want to make the case for not hiring "Billy Bob", who is EIT or EBA fine. But do so with leadership and integrity through the posting and interview process. SHRM and complicit managers have failed LLNS employees deluxe. Let's enjoy our LLNS Christmas parties and our charitable contributions so we can look the other way on this other stuff.

Anonymous said...

Can someone fill me in, if the contract was extended for another year based on the LLNL performance? Is LLNL in same path as LANL, that failed to qualify for a contract extension.

Anonymous said...

Can someone fill me in, if the contract was extended for another year based on the LLNL performance? Is LLNL in same path as LANL, that failed to qualify for a contract extension.

December 28, 2013 at 7:04 AM

LLNL passed in all 4 contractual areas. LANL failed (49% score) in the Management and Operations (M&O) area. Based on this LLNL will receive a contract extension and LANL will not.

Anonymous said...

"...LLNL passed in all 4 contractual areas..."

Who passed us and by what criteria and source? Criteria solely provided by the LLNS plantation owners? Without systematic worker bee input, its an "allegory of the cave" situation. The report card folks are assessing the shadows on the wall. If you don't like this point of view, then dump the SHRM portion of the report card and cut out all consideration for employees straight up.

Anonymous said...

"...LLNL passed in all 4 contractual areas..."

Umm, no - both LANS and LLNS passed 4 out of 5 areas, so neither received a contract extension. The summary letters are here:

http://www.nnsa.energy.gov/aboutus/ouroperations/apm/perfevals

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