BLOG purpose

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

Monday, November 10, 2014

Lab management will never go back to a university

Lab management will never go back to a university

To argue otherwise is to ignore the reality of how government operates.


"Profits paid to the contractors that run the system have tripled since 2006 to $312 million, The Times found.

The eight major nuclear weapon labs and production sites are run by a network of joint ventures and private companies, including the University of California, Bechtel Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., Honeywell International Inc. and Lockheed Martin Corp.

The increases came after a series of embarrassing security lapses at Los Alamos National Laboratory while it was managed by the University of California."


http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-81913379/

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

There's some truth in this comment. Lab leaders probably make 2x their UC compensation packages.

And of course the payouts to the operating contractors is up about 7x.

That's a lot of simoleans to walk away from.

Anonymous said...

DOE/NNSA demanded for-profit, corporate entities to run the labs and plants (the plants had been run that way for decades, and apparently were seen as a good model). Typical government short-sightedness and failure to see unintended consequences. Unfortunately there is no one in Washington paying attention, even the senators and reps from CA and NM don't seem to get it, or even care if it is shoved in their faces (and it has been in most cases). OK, so this is an unwinnable fight. Get the hell out if you can, and despair for what used to be our country's nuclear deterrent capability. We will seriously regret losing it, and soon. Iran and China are coming for us.

Anonymous said...

Never say never....

Anonymous said...

And never forget that living well is the best revenge!

Anonymous said...

Why would UC want it to go back? They're making more, too.

Anonymous said...

Why would UC want it to go back? They're making more, too.

November 11, 2014 at 9:34 PM

From the LA Times story; "At LLNL, which is now run by the UC and Bechtel, among others, profits grew from $4 million to $41 million."

Here's the scenario... NNSA cuts the fee to $15 million so its inline with other DOE/NNSA labs fees. LANS losses the LANL contract.

UC sees no further need for Bechtel, and Bechtel doesn't see $5 million worth its effort.

UC creates a solely UC owned Limited Liability Company to run LLNL.

This would be very similar to Sandia Corp (solely owned by Lockeed-Martin) running Sandia Labs, and UChicago Argonne LLC (solely owned by the Univ of Chicago) running Argonne Lab.

LLNL employees would not go back to being UC employees, they would still work for the LLC. UC policies would still not directly apply, but UCOP HR would have more oversight of benefits and work rules.

There still would be a Board of Governors over the LLC, but UC would make all the appointments to it. LLNL is returned to a more research and science friendly culture, but industrial subpartners could be appointed to the Board.

There still would be a wall of separation between UC and LLNL, but the Lab would be returned to "Not-for-Profit" management status. LLNL would once again be exempt from State Sales tax and other costs that "for-profit" companies have to pay.

LLNL's overhead rate goes down, as this is where the fee actually comes from, and UC would be able to put the reduced fee into campus and Lab work.

Anonymous said...

November 12, 2014 at 8:12 AM

This is utterly crazy. If the happens than why did we go through this whole process? Even if what you say comes to pass what than the first instant that someone loses a single key or computer or trips than the congressional hearings will start all over again with talk of out of control labs, arrogant scientists, cultural issues and so on. They would just demand a new private contractor and we would be back to something exactly like LLNS or LANLs so we should just stay put.

Anonymous said...

November 12, 2014 at 9:02 AM

I didn't say it would be done, I just gave plausible scenario how it "could" be done based on other lab contracts within the DOE/NNSA complex.

Remember that the LANS/LLNS LLC structure was driven by UC desire to have a highly visible industrial partner(s) to counter the Lockheed-Martin/Univ of Texas team bidding on LANL. Bechtel demanded a huge share of the annual fee in exchange for lending its name to the bid team. UCOP actually looked hard at the UC owned LLC model but UC's lawyers determined the easiest way for UC (a public/state entity) to flow such a significant amount of money to Bechtel was to go the joint LLC route.

So if Bechtel were to leave the LLC, the rationale against sole UC ownership of the LLC goes away.

Lastly, in the original RFP there was no demand by NNSA for a "private" or "for-profit" company to bid on the labs. The bidder just had to a separate identified entity from the parent.

Specifically it stated in section H-23: "The work performed under this Contract by the Contractor shall be conducted by a separate corporate entity from its Parent Organizations. The separate corporate entity must be set up solely to perform this Contract and shall be totally responsible for all Contract activities."

The LLC model lends itself to meeting this requirement, however, there are other viable business models too.

Anonymous said...

Never say never....

November 11, 2014 at 11:15 AM


Maybe it sounds better when Taylor Swift says it:

We are never, ever, ever getting back together
We are never, ever, ever getting back together.

Anonymous said...

I've been told by colleagues in senior UC mgmt that UCOP has had a contingency from the beginning of the LLNS LLC that if Bechtel left the LLNS LLC - for whatever reason (boredom, bankruptcy, loss of interest, etc) - UCOP would create a "Livermore Science Corporation" owned by UC to run LLNL. Very similar to LM's Sandia Corp over SNL. Not a return to direct UC management like LBNL, just the old LLC without private sector ownership partners.

This doesn't work for LANL since NNSA really likes and wants a production mission for that lab, which management of is not viewed as a UC strong point and requires industrial partner leadership. With a loss of Bechtel there, I'd expect UC to keep and greatly expand the role of one of the other LANS industrial partners like B&W or URS.

And before you say that Bechtel's not going anywhere, remember the gargantuan Hughes Corporation that collapsed after Howard Hughes died and was broken up and sold off to the highest bidders. Bechtel is family owned, and no telling what happens if they were to go public.

But I wouldn't bet money on either really happening. Its just a contingency, like having working nuclear weapons.

Anonymous said...

After "big money" (management profits) came into the NNSA labs' picture, things will never go back to the non-profit world.

Just take a look at the latest sleazy and illegal influence peddling that Sandia was caught doing with their new found managerial wealth:

................................................................
Report: Major federal lab misused contract funds

AP News - Nov 13, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Managers at one of the nation's premier federal laboratories improperly used taxpayer funds to influence members of Congress and other officials as part of an effort to extend the lab's $2.4 billion management contract, the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Inspector General said in a report Wednesday.

A review of documents determined that Sandia National Laboratories formed a team and worked with consultants beginning in 2009 to develop a plan for securing a contract extension without having to go through a competitive process.

That plan called for lobbying Congress, trying to influence key advisers to then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu and reaching out to a former director of the National Nuclear Security Administration and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat who led the Energy Department under the Clinton administration.

One consultant suggested the lab's message to decision-makers should be that competition was not in the best interest of the government.

"We believe that the use of federal funds for the development of a plan to influence members of Congress and federal officials to, in essence, prevent competition was inexplicable and unjustified," the inspector general said in its report.

The use of contract funds for lobbying efforts was a violation of federal codes as well as provisions in the contract itself, according to investigators.
............................................................

news.yahoo.com/report-major-federal-lab
-misused-contract-funds-194017097.html

Anonymous said...

November 10, 2014 at 8:21 PM

Lab leaders today make a whole lot more than 2x their UC era compensation. According to recent press coverage, it is at least 4x, and probably closer to 6x if fully reported.

Anonymous said...

Lab leaders today make a whole lot more than 2x their UC era compensation. According to recent press coverage, it is at least 4x, and probably closer to 6x if fully reported.

November 13, 2014 at 6:53 PM

So what? Why do you care? Jealous?

Anonymous said...

"So what? Why do you care? Jealous?

November 13, 2014 at 7:23 PM"

We cannot get our toilets fixed, the roofs leak, the air conditioners no longer function. The "for profit" part takes so much money but the leveraged costs are even higher. There are many layers of bloated management that now make much more money than they did before LLNs and LANs. It is just pure jealously on my part if you say so.

Anonymous said...

Jealous?

Classic case of the american tax payer getting a Yugo for a Lamborghini price. Jealous is not the word, but some others come to mind.

Anonymous said...

Explain how the fact that some upper managers get paid big bucks has any actual effect on you or your job, except through your own personal reaction to it. I know all you LLNL employees are smart enough to do the math and understand that even if their salaries were reduced to zero, the amount of money that would then be made available to your pet project or infrastructure peeve would be miniscule.

Anonymous said...

... even if their salaries were reduced to zero, the amount of money that would then be made available to your pet project or infrastructure peeve would be miniscule.

This isn't true. I cost about $600K/yr of taxpayer money, with much of this going to management and management-like functions. Our overhead rates are about twice what they are at universities and legitimate commercial firms. If LLNS and LANS were efficiently run, there would be huge cost savings. These savings could go back to the taxpayer or they could be used to provide much better support to project activities.

Anonymous said...

"...Explain how the fact that some upper managers get paid big bucks has any actual effect on you or your job, except through your own personal reaction to it.. "

One should define upper managers, but grossly disproportionate salaries that favor a management path creates a disincentive for scientific and technical achievement (the reason we are here by the way) along with even lower employee morale.

Reversing your question, how has (past tense) paying "big bucks" to LLNS managers improved our strategic mission objectives or our operational efficiency?

Anonymous said...

November 14, 2014 at 12:22 PM:

"grossly disproportionate salaries that favor a management path creates a disincentive for scientific and technical achievement (the reason we are here by the way) along with even lower employee morale."

Like I said, it is your personal response to the salary issue that is causing the problem.

"how has (past tense) paying "big bucks" to LLNS managers improved our strategic mission objectives or our operational efficiency?"

I fail to see how anyone would rationally expect manager salaries to have any effect at all on "strategic mission objectives or operational efficiency." The former comes from NNSA direction, the latter from employee productivity.

Anonymous said...

"..."how has (past tense) paying "big bucks" to LLNS managers improved our strategic mission objectives or our operational efficiency?"

I fail to see how anyone would rationally expect manager salaries to have any effect at all on "strategic mission objectives or operational efficiency." The former comes from NNSA direction, the latter from employee productivity..."

And "big buck" LLNS managers have no role in meeting mission objectives or operation efficiency? These areas are solely the responsibility of the NNSA? Really? Then why pay LLNS managers the "big bucks" referenced to non-managers? What is the "big buck" salary value added? Nice try.

Anonymous said...

What is the "big buck" salary value added?

November 14, 2014 at 3:13 PM

There isn't any. Get a clue to the real world. Some people will make many times what you make for little discernible value. Boo Hoo.

Anonymous said...

"I fail to see how anyone would rationally expect manager salaries to have any effect at all on "strategic mission objectives or operational efficiency." The former comes from NNSA direction, the latter from employee productivity.

November 14, 2014 at 1:04 PM"

You appear to fail at many things.

If all the money for a company goes to management than there are no resources left for employees to be productive. In the real world the company goes under due to poor management. This is rather simple if you think about it, which of course you do not which is why you "fail to see".

We, of course do not live in the real world but we are getting very close to what a rational person would say is going under. Rationally can you say that LLNL is as productive or meets the level of operational efficiency as it used to before such high wages for management? Perhaps there is a correlation that I am sure you will "fail to see". To anyone paying attention it is obvious that that the NNSA labs are now failing very badly, so ask yourself how that could be?

Anonymous said...

You appear to fail at many things.

If all the money for a company goes to management than there are no resources left for employees to be productive.

November 14, 2014 at 7:46 PM

As a lawyer would say in court: "Assumes facts not in evidence." What do you mean by "all the money"? You are just another low-information whiner.

Anonymous said...

As a lawyer would say in court: "Assumes facts not in evidence." What do you mean by "all the money"? You are just another low-information whiner.

November 14, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Is that you Bret Knapp?

Anonymous said...

"As a lawyer would say in court: "Assumes facts not in evidence." What do you mean by "all the money"? You are just another low-information whiner.

November 14, 2014 at 9:25 PM"

You seem to keep avoiding the main question.

" To anyone paying attention it is obvious that that the NNSA labs are now failing very badly, so ask yourself how that could be? "

Perhaps it has nothing to do with the money, than what could it be? Please provide some information.

Anonymous said...

To anyone paying attention it is obvious that ...

November 15, 2014 at 6:33 AM

State an opinion as fact and invite people to explain it. I think my high school debating coach warned me about that.

Anonymous said...

It seems that LANSLLNS has hired some hack to frequent this blog, attempting to justify inequity at the dismal labs with the worn out "rich get richer, poor get poorer, so what?" argument. Good luck with that transparent approach to settling the unrest.

Anonymous said...

"...Like I said, it is your personal response to the salary issue that is causing the problem...."

This person doesn't think "worker bees" should voice their opinions. Yes there are trolls on this blog with loyalty to LANSLLNS and the status quo. It is the "what do you care?" patrol. This blog annoys them. I suppose they could follow their own advice and leave LANSLLNS, but
I think that option was reserved for the commoners.

Anonymous said...

"I don't like anything LLNS is doing so they should fix my problem." Ha! Golden handcuffs chafing a little?

Anonymous said...

"..."I don't like anything LLNS is doing so they should fix my problem." Ha! Golden handcuffs chafing a little?..."

The hardware store must have a bulk purchase special for broad brushes (anything LLNS is doing/my problem) Maybe it is the tug of the golden curtain that concerns you.

LANSLLNS is not a widget factory and you are not the self-ordained overseer. Put down your imaginary bullwhip and try to mingle with the masses, maybe you will learn something.


Anonymous said...

Put down your imaginary bullwhip and try to mingle with the masses, maybe you will learn something.


November 15, 2014 at 1:35 PM

I'm the guy you see every day who never bitches, happily gets his work done, and always seems to get a better raise than you. And I bet you think I'm the loser here.

Anonymous said...

You are not a loser here or anywhere. If you are a long time LANSLLNS employee you know the lab culture for those that speak out on these matters and why blogs take root.

Implying others b____ and you are getting better raises is indicative of this culture. Why do you categorize employee opinions as bit__ing? How does this move the conversation in a positive direction?

Salary transparency and salary equity is a hard pill to swallow for the beneficiaries this many chapters into the LANSLLNS story book.

Anonymous said...

"...I'm the guy you see every day who never bitches, happily gets his work done..."

Fair enough, but a good number of employees believing themselves to be in this "no-bit_h" category, have not hesitated to scoop up the workplace dividends when others "bit_hed" on their behalf. A point often lost. Perhaps painful but true.

Anonymous said...


"I'm the guy you see every day who never bitches, happily gets his work done, and always seems to get a better raise than you. And I bet you think I'm the loser here."

Hmmm, lets see, the only people that I know who get best raises are the ones that raise hell, bitch, moan, and complain the loudest. The squeaky wheel gets the grease I guess. The people who are silent and never complain are the ones that one day just disappear. Whatever happened to so and so? This is all just anecdotal but I hear the same thing from every other group. I am not sure who the "November 15, 2014 at 2:58 PM" poster really is but they seem to be very disconnected from the reality at the labs. So just who is the 2:58 PM poster? Maybe they should lean a lesson from Sandia.

Anonymous said...

Implying others b____ and you are getting better raises is indicative of this culture. Why do you categorize employee opinions as bit__ing?

November 15, 2014 at 3:35 PM

It is perfectly obvious in the workplace who is bitching and who is not. It is not just "opinions" it is how and when they are expressed, and whether the one expressing them has any regard for decorum or decency. Usually you don't, and embarrass everyone around you. Grow up, and take responsibility for your own life.

Anonymous said...

"...decorum or decency..." ?

LANSLLNS managers should practice what they preach. Perhaps you are new to LANSLLNS, but I can assure you "decorum or decency" are often lost in daily or weekly meetings around here. Lots of directed four letter words, yelling, ranting, and raving. It is embarrassing and degrading to watch every week as it must be for those on the receiving end. Some professionals are hit so hard verbally they freeze up, others begin to cry. I think you may need a broader and balanced assessment of your surroundings.

Anonymous said...

November 16, 2014 at 6:35 AM


Managers have a very tough job and sometimes they have use straight talk with employees. This can be harsh but it is the way it is done in real world. If you employees cannot stand the heat than get out of the kitchen. It is unbelievable just how entitled you all seem.

Anonymous said...

"...Managers have a very tough job and sometimes they have use straight talk with employees..."

Sorry, but you have stated the obvious and overlooked the hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

"Managers have a very tough job and sometimes they have use straight talk with employees. This can be harsh but it is the way it is done in real world. If you employees cannot stand the heat than get out of the kitchen. It is unbelievable just how entitled you all seem.

November 16, 2014 at 7:07 AM"

As indicated by your sixth grade grasp of the vernacular, you better be careful that Mommy doesn't catch you using her computer.

Anonymous said...

I can assure you "decorum or decency" are often lost in daily or weekly meetings around here. Lots of directed four letter words, yelling, ranting, and raving. It is embarrassing and degrading to watch every week as it must be for those on the receiving end. Some professionals are hit so hard verbally they freeze up, others begin to cry.

November 16, 2014 at 6:35 AM

Some "professionals." The "professional" thing to do in such circumstances would be to leave the meeting, pack up your personal belongings, put them in your car, then go back to your office and write a resignation letter. Deliver it to HR immediately and drive away with your "professionalism" intact. Or, you could accept verbal abuse that brings you to tears as a legitimate component of a "professional" career, and demonstrate to everyone that you have no self-respect.

Anonymous said...

"...Or, you could accept verbal abuse that brings you to tears as a legitimate component of a "professional" career, and demonstrate to everyone that you have no self-respect..."

Yes there are some managers with this attitude at LANSLLNS, and span the manager ranks from line supervisor/group leader level, to the senior management level. The transition made it worse.

Anonymous said...

This "setting sun" LANSLLNS organizational style is refreshed daily. What a recruiting challenge we have going forward. Keep telling your golden geese workers to leave, and create more employee churn.

Anonymous said...

About the post "November 16, 2014 at 7:07 AM"

I know this person. We're acquaintances and though I find them personally detestable, I won't divulge any identifying details. I'll only state that they lack integrity and intelligence to any mentionable degree. As technical workers, we have seen a lot more of this type come into the weapons complex since privatization. They know nothing. They have no technical abilities. They are one-size-fits-all, self-aggrandizing bureaucrats. Useless in all senses of the word. They are milking the ill-conceived corporate/government alliance for a paycheck -- nothing more. They don't understand weapons, security, basic or applied science, proliferation, or stewardship. I repeat -- they know nothing. They are a great threat to the nation. And more of them join us each day.

Anonymous said...

A growing set of non-engineering, non-technical, degree free managers are in Engineering too. Just no value added overhead bloat at the LANSLLNS budget trough.
These men and women managers will never self-deport out of the Star Trek "Nexus", and will vigorously defend their undefendable salaries.

Blog Archive