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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. Comments not conforming to BLOG rules are deleted. Blog author serves as a moderator. For new topics or suggestions, email jlscoob5@gmail.com

Friday, June 13, 2014

Raising concerns

Are LLNS employees comfortable raising work related concerns to their management chain, HR, or Staff Relations?

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

No

Anonymous said...

Not if you want to keep working at the lab or see a raise in the future. To many good old boys in management, especially the closed minded conservative right wing types brought in by the LLNS industrial partners than have no use for liberal California labor laws.

Anonymous said...

"...Too many good old boys in management..."

That about sums it up.

Anonymous said...

If the NNSA safety metrics remain positive, then the top managers can get a juicy 20% bonus at the end of the fiscal year.

If you fall down the stairs or trip, you had better crawl back to your car, leave the lab and tell no one. Those who mess up the stats (and the subsequent executive bonuses) stand out in a bad way.

Anonymous said...

If you have a complaint, legitimate or not, you will get no satisfaction from staff relations because they will send it to a good-old-boy reviewer and that person will find in favor of management no matter what. If a reviewer does not follow this good-old-boy process, she will never be asked to review another complaint. Yes I speak from experience. A complete waste of time, worse than a waste of time, because complaining flags you as a troublemaker all through management, and at best your career advancement ends with the complaint. A sham.

Anonymous said...

"... because they will send it to a good-old-boy reviewer and that person will find in favor of management no matter what...."

True and the "reviewer" #1 will be your AD.

Anonymous said...

Are ADs truly reviewing employee concerns, or are they just signing documents that Staff Relations authors?

Anonymous said...

i am in complete agreement with poster 8:41 PM. My career has been derailed prematurely because of issues I raised. In retrospect, I wish I never speak up because it was a waste of time and it does me no favor! It actually hurts my career in the process. Staff relations and SHRM are the tools of the management and they are no help to employees. Just keep our mouth shut and work to earn a living to pay your bills until such time you can retire!

Anonymous said...

This will not help your career circumstance for speaking out but it is something:

"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."

Winston Churchill

Anonymous said...

Raising concerns is a tough situation under normal circumstances. Since the transition to LLNS, there is fear among employees and rightfully so. After all, first came the transition then came layoffs. Even if the whole group feels stress you can hear a pin drop at the silence when a manager asks how is everything.

Anonymous said...

The transition from public to private management of LLNL has made raising concerns much worse including non-disclosure of "bonus" money and raises as rewards for undisclosed "deeds", and the all employees are "at will" anyway attitude. A powerful combination of tools for fear and intimidation to thrive.

Anonymous said...

My experience was a little different but equally bad. Had a problem with an abusive manager, talked to HR, and HR talked to the division leader recommending a change. Know what happened? The Division leader refused. Then the retribution started.

Anonymous said...


"... Had a problem with an abusive manager, talked to HR, and HR talked to the division leader recommending a change. Know what happened? The Division leader refused. Then the retribution started..."

I'm sorry this happened to you. This is a common occurrence at LLNS and managers are becoming increasingly blatant about it.

Anonymous said...

Anytime I've advised HR about problems with Management they inform me "its just a personal conflict" and "to go back to work". HR works at the pleasure of management.

Anonymous said...

HR/SHRM is useless and a joke except for their obedience to LLNS upper management. This entire directorate should have been reevaluated and sub-contractor outsourced to lower overhead costs in 2007.

Anonymous said...

Ummm, No!

Anonymous said...

Unmm yes. Unless HR/SHRM can provide a distinct checks and balance function, they do not have a core mission purpose and are just fat in the system and a fake resource for employee issues that only serves to enable and shelter LLNS management actions.

Anonymous said...

Unmm yes. Unless HR/SHRM can provide a distinct checks and balance function, they do not have a core mission purpose and are just fat in the system and a fake resource for employee issues that only serves to enable and shelter LLNS management actions.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, they serve no purpose and are just useless overhead, unless it is just legal cover so LLNS can claim it followed procedures in the event of a lawsuit. In that case, the costs should come entirely out of the LLNS management fee.

Anonymous said...

HR/SHRM has crafted new policies eroding employment protections such as "at will" employment among other key changes, effectively transferring employment authority and decisions to the LLNL contractor of the moment. In this case LLNS.

If the for profit contractor LLNS deems HR/SHRM non-mission critical or as an excessive overhead cost, HR/SHRM staff are subject to the same employment policies they authored on behalf of the for profit contractor.

Anonymous said...

Human Resources exists solely to protect management from employees.

They could only be worse if they had a more demeaning name. Like Human Capital.

Anonymous said...

The most abusive manager I have ever had in my 35-year career the most recent LLNS former Lab Director. Sad but true! The guy is a jerk!

Anonymous said...

All people want is good management and to be treated fairly. You would have better luck finding a redwood in Death Valley than good management at LLNS.

Anonymous said...

Three Vice Presidents of technical divisions at Sandia National Laboratories do not have a Ph.D.: Hruby, Walker, Vahle. Adam Rowen at Sandia Livermore does not have a Ph.D. either.

The previous 3 individuals are the first ever Vice Presidents without a Ph.D. in Science or Engineering to lead technical divisions at Sandia. A quick search on the internet shows that Adam Rowen went to a school in New Mexico.

Steve Renfro deputy AD Nuclear Weapons, BS without PhD (also comes from a New Mexico school)

How about hiring any one of the many managers from Sandia that don't have a Ph.D.?

The entire upper management in the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Weapons Program do not have PhDs either. James Owen (W-Division Leader), John Benner (AD for Weapons), and Craig Leasure (Acting Weapons PAD). It's Knapp's legacy of picking fellow incompetent, do-nothing, con-artist, henchmen.

Anonymous said...

James Owen (W-Division Leader), John Benner (AD for Weapons), and Craig Leasure (Acting Weapons PAD). It's Knapp's legacy of picking fellow incompetent, do-nothing, con-artist, henchmen.

June 15, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Owen spent two years (two years mind you) at the University of Colorado failing to get a lowly M.S. (while on a full-time salary) and Benner failed to pass his PhD oral board at UC Davis. Both were handsomely rewarded with a Division Leader job and an AD for Weapons job for their successes by Knapp. What a farce!

Anonymous said...

The next time you see Owen, since he is so cost conscious, ask him to pay back the government two-years of his full-time salary while on the M.S. Advanced Study Program since he didn't get his degree. He thinks everyone forgot about this boondoggle.

Anonymous said...

June 15, 2014 at 1:28 PM

June 15, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Did it ever occur to you that maybe the labs no longer need people with Phds? Think about it from Congress point of view. These labs have been nothing one problem after another.
Spies, lost disk, lost locks, stolen mustangs, fires, chile cook offs, lasers not igniting, meth scandals, and now WIPP. Hey here is a bright idea maybe we need to really implement the big changes they have been asking for all this time and just maybe that would be begin by getting rid of an arrogant culture that thrives on the idea that a Phd is somehow worthwhile. Do not get me wrong at one time you needed people with Phds at the lab, but now, not so much.

Anonymous said...

We should all remember what Kevin Moore said in a previous post:

http://llnlthetruestory.blogspot.com/2013/08/dysfunctional-llnl.html

My name is Kevin Moore and I recently left the Lab after 10.5 years. My new job has shown me just how dysfunctional LLNL is, and revealed the lab's greatest problem: it's inability to fire those who should be.
Repeatedly, I watched failed scientists/engineers not be terminated, but"coaxed" into management. These folks, typically with no managementexperience beyond some two-day LLNL coarse, made horrible managers. Theymoved their way through middle management, arriving to a place where theywere seen as a person who guides science/engineering at the lab. We then had a failed science/engineering with poor management skills trying to
build programs and direct the lab. The result is what we have today: a rudderless monolith with ghastly overhead.LLNL was a truly sad place to be, and the day I got out was one of the most happy periods I had in years.
If I can suggest anything to our government, come into the weapons labs with a team of competent strategists and start slashing useless managers and failed scientist. Use metrics like peer-reviewed publications to gauge a persons quality, not spot awards or other worthless internalrecognitions.
Kevin Moore
Manager, Materials & Corrosion Engineering
Exponent Failure Analysis Associates
149 Commonwealth Drive
Menlo Park, Ca 94025

Anonymous said...

"We should all remember what Kevin Moore said in a previous post:"

Wow he sure sounds like a real pleasant person. In any case if you have a problem with the lab that leave and don't let door hit you in the ass.

Anonymous said...

6:24 AM is typical, sadly. Mindless jingoistic cheerleaders just pollute what value remains at the labs.

Anonymous said...

"... In any case if you have a problem with the lab that leave and don't let door hit you in the ass..."

This seemingly bold individual is typical of a manager that will run behind the skirt of the legal department at the first indication of a problem of their own making.

Without a corrective feedback loop for lab managers, we get more of the same going forward.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for reposting Kevin Moore's comments. His remarks were spot-on when made last year. They are spot-on today.

The Laboratory is completely dysfunctional. This is caused primarily by a useless management that overwhelms overhead costs and wastes the time of direct-funded personnel through endless unfunded mandates. I find myself constantly apologizing to sponsors for our high costs.

So Global Security is reorganizing again. They reorganized last year, they're reorganizing this year, and they will reorganize next year. The sad part is that they believe these meaningless administrative changes are earth shattering events. No one cares. GS management has essentially no (positive) impact on programmatic work or the actual people who bring in the dollars.

Anonymous said...

"...They reorganized last year, they're reorganizing this year, and they will reorganize..."

What purpose or value added do frequent reorgs accomplish other than to be able to state management is providing "improved" business units by pointing to the endless brokering and churn? Did they thin out the GS management team in the process?

Anonymous said...

You don't need a Phd to work at the NNSA labs after their decline. You especially don't need a top scientist with a doctorate in science in the management chain leading the weapons staff. It's all smoke & mirrors.

I doubt the "experts" left at these labs even have the expertise to pull off a working bomb design any longer. Running pretend simulation codes, yeah, they can do that but little else. Congress seems to be fully satisfied with this situation.

Anonymous said...

I would definitely agree with the post on GS. We bring work issues to the managers attention and their response is to have no response. And they pay these losers a fortune. There is not a worthwhile manager in all of GS that I have seen. None. The worst. I don't think the rest of the lab can top GS in the bad management department.

Anonymous said...

Let's be clear.
There is change leadership and then there is management. Two different roles for high level employees.

LLNL has no change leadership. Why should it? High salaries, with minimal responsibilities. Any significant change can jeopardize the party.

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Anonymous said...

It's Dr. Ali again!

You can always count on him for pithy, topical comments.

Anonymous said...

Adam Rowen is no longer the manager of the materials chemistry department! He still does not have a Ph.D.

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