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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Fmr. LANL Dep. Director Suspended

from the NS&D Monitor
 
Fmr. LANL Dep. Director Suspended from Gov’t Work, NNSA Seeking Three-Year Debarment
Former Los Alamos National Laboratory Deputy Director Beth Sellers and her husband, Bill, have been suspended from doing work with the government and have been proposed for debarment after a laboratory consulting scandal, government records indicate. Sellers resigned as Los Alamos’ deputy director in March after an investigation by the Department of Energy’s Inspector General revealed that Sellers and her husband failed to notify lab officials of a potential conflict of interest before her husband, a consultant to the lab, was awarded a sole-source contract. Sellers’ husband also billed the lab for work that he never performed, the IG said. Sellers, a Bechtel executive, was suspended from doing work with the government Nov. 13 in a somewhat rare move for weapons complex contractors, and proceedings are underway for her to be debarred for three years. Her husband, Bill, was suspended Sept. 19 and is also facing a three-year debarment.
According to the government’s System for Award Management, Sellers and her husband are preliminarily ineligible to contract with the government “based upon adequate evidence of conduct indicating a lack of business honesty or integrity, or a lack of business integrity, or regulation, statute, executive order or other legal authority, pending completion of an investigation and/or legal proceedings; or based upon initiation of proceedings to determine final ineligibility based upon regulation, statute, executive order or other legal authority or a lack of business integrity or a preponderance of the evidence of any other cause of a serious and compelling nature that it affects present responsibility.” In a statement toNS&D Monitor, Beth Sellers said she was in the process of responding to government as part of the debarment proceedings. “I have dedicated nearly three decades of my life to federal service and have always demonstrated the highest levels of personal integrity,” she said. “I will be responding to the government notice to address their concerns.” Sellers has been managing special projects for Bechtel since leaving Los Alamos in March. Bechtel said in a statement, “We respect the process and believe it would be inappropriate and premature for us to comment further.”

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

"... "I have dedicated nearly three decades of my life to federal service and have always demonstrated the highest levels of personal integrity,” she said. “I will be responding to the government notice to address their concerns.”..."

Other employees with nearly three decades of "dedicated service" have been dismissed for much much less. She on the other hand, stepped down on her terms with praise from the LANS Director on the way out. I guess LANSLLNS "worker bees" don't count.

Anonymous said...

“I have ... always demonstrated the highest levels of personal integrity,” she (Beth Sellers) said. (Article)


No you haven't, Beth. There is no excuse for having your husband awarded a perk, no-contest contract with the lab while you and your husband BOTH failed to report the obvious conflict of interest. You've been caught red-handed.

What really bothers me is the fact that Charlie McMillan knew about this COI case and brushed it aside for over a year! When you add in the WIPP exploding drum fiasco, Charlie's list of FUs while Director start to raise some serious red flags.

In fact, it was decided by DOE that LANS will now be barred from all legacy cleanup work at LANL, except for a temporary contract while DOE looks for another company to takeover cleanup work. This will result in the loss of over $220 million in annually funding for LANS and probably the loss of a lot of jobs currently held by LANS staff when the new company takes over lab cleanup operations.

How Charlie remains as the Director at LANL is beyond me. When you consider the way he has raised his salary and perks to new highs, it gets even worse. The end result of Charlie's many fiascos while serving as Director will be that LANS will lose what's left of their lab contract in 2017. The transition to yet another LLC employer at LANL after 2017 will cause more anxiety and disruption for the remaining staff.

It's over, Charlie. Get out now while you still have a scrap of dignity left. Otherwise, I'm sure there will be more bad news to follow.

Anonymous said...

I guess she did not take the LANL ethics training. Otherwise she would know what "the highest levels of personal integrity" really means

Anonymous said...


Wow that says all you need to know about the LANS management team.

Anonymous said...



They did say the US government Bechtel could always send her to Bolivia. She is a true Bechtel person.

http://democracyctr.org/bolivia/investigations/bolivia-investigations-the-water-revolt/bechtel-vs-bolivia-the-bechtel-corporation/

At the time of Bechtel’s case against Bolivia, Riley Bechtel was the 51st most wealthy man in the U.S.*

He was heading one of the most powerful corporations in the world.
He also provided, to the press and public, deliberately false and misleading information about the suffering his company created for the people of Bolivia.

In November 2001 Bechtel decided to add to the suffering it had already caused by filing a legal demand for $25 million against the Bolivian people – compensation for its lost opportunity to make future profits. In response, The Democracy Center and more than 100 people from all over the world wrote directly to Bechtel CEO, Riley Bechtel, calling on him to drop his action against Bolivia. Mr. Bechtel responded to those messages with a statement from his public relations staff with documentably false and misleading statements about the price hikes his company imposed on the people of Cochabamba.

Anonymous said...

As reported, Sellers was picked up by Bechtel after she left LANL. Earlier, she was personally selected for the Deputy slot by Charlie, and did not come from Bechtel before LANL. This whole scandal is more about Charlie and his protecting her for over a year after the details were confirmed by the government investigators. It is not so much about where she went after she departed LANL.

Anonymous said...

Conflict of interest... What about the "power" couples at LLNL who were/are raking in more than half million $ in totality?
While some (a partner) have left or"retired" early, this is/was an ongoing conflict of interest and would not be tolerated elsewhere.
Besides this, the useless folks that get mucho bucks for having meetings and workshops with little utility elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

At LANS employee with ~two decades of "dedicated service" is dismissed on politically driven trumped up retroactive charges based on the sensitivity of material approved for release by LANS beforehand.

A LLNS employee with ~three decades of "dedicated service" is dismissed for political reasons, one CA Judge determined LLNS discharged this employee for reasons "other than conduct" based on the evidence and testimony provided.

Both former LANSLLNS employees above had their reputations slandered and were dismissed for political reasons.

Former LANS Deputy Director Beth Sellers, knowing she was caught red handed, decides to resign before the DOE IG demands she be removed. LANS Director Charlie McMillan, Beth Sellers, and the in house "Audit and Ethics" Team, sit on the "conflict of interest" findings until the release of the DOE IG Report is imminent. At that point, however inexcusably late, instead of acknowledging her "conflict of interest" conduct appropriately, the LANS Director and LANS Senior Management Team, give Beth Sellers a heartfelt goodbye.

We couldn't possibly have chronic low employee morale at LANSLLNS. Whatever for?

Anonymous said...

You should not f__ck over people that know how to design nuclear weapons. Can you not understand this?

Anonymous said...

And that would be Beth Sellers?

Anonymous said...

At LANSLLNS, concern for employees is exclusively reserved for upper echelon staff. All others outside of that domain are viewed as replaceable commodities, making LANSLLNS "worker bee" low employee morale and things like workplace conduct hypocrisy irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

" It is not so much about where she went after she departed LANL.

December 5, 2014 at 8:53 AM"

Bechtel saw this behavior and said "this is my kind scum" hire her with full pay, these kind of people bring big profits in the end, maybe not in the US but other in other places where "get it done for any profit" attitude rules. What kind of people run the NNSA labs? Do you feel safe now.

Anonymous said...

Coo coo ka-choo Mrs. Sellers!

Anonymous said...

You should not f__ck over people that know how to design nuclear weapons. Can you not understand this?

December 5, 2014 at 6:10 PM

What? They're going to nuke you in your bedroom? They're going to work for Iran for spite, and get killed by a US drone? They're going to post their capabilities for sale on Craig's List?? Give me a break.

If you believed in guns, I might be more afraid, but you don't. Pussy.

Anonymous said...

9:10 PM needs to tay up on the latest developments...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyPwJrPQO3g

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone can surface Charlie's announcement from when she joined LANL. Did it mention anything about her ethics history?

Anonymous said...

"...Maybe someone can surface Charlie's announcement from when she joined LANL. Did it mention anything about her ethics history?..."

Ethics, expected employment conduct, conflict of interest, being a workplace sexual predator or engaging in unsolicited and uninvited sexual advances toward your coworkers, being under the influence of alcohol at work, etc. are categories that will trigger prompt reprimands for "worker bee" employees, but are *not applicable to LANSLLNS management.

*Unless of course, LANSLLNS management, receives word of a looming DOE IG investigation regarding said conduct, at which point the identified individual with still be given the opportunity, respect, and consideration, to self-deport with kind thoughts from Lab management on the way out.

Anonymous said...

December 6, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Every now and then a manager must go down to protect the others. If they do go down they will be well rewarded down the road. Sellers is basically fired for stealing from the company and the punishment is that she gets a nice job at Bechtel. Now tell what was the value added in privatizing the labs?

Anonymous said...

... and in today's news (Saturday, Dec 6th), the State of New Mexico just fined DOE over $54 million for the documented screw-ups at the WIPP site and at LANL in the handling of dangerous waste products. They also promised more fines to come!

Bah-bye Charlie. Don't you have some pressing "family matters" to attend to so you can't sneak out of your failed Director position quietly?

Anonymous said...

We have the WIPP environmental mess, the Beth Sellers government suspension/debarment, NIF failures and its "ball under which cup" creative funding and overhead tax maneuvers, and last minute LANSLLNS contractor extensions and waivers from the NNSA to cover subpar contractor performance.

How long will it take Fox News Bill O'Reilly to once again call for a change of management at LANSLLNS?

Anonymous said...

A dish best served cold.......

Recall that DOE was not pleased with how LANS/UC selected Charlie to be Director...fast forward to the present and we find this debarment. Could the severity of the suspension be related to the way that DOE was forced to swallow the selection?

Anonymous said...


Recall that DOE was not pleased with how LANS/UC selected Charlie to be Director...fast forward to the present and we find this debarment. Could the severity of the suspension be related to the way that DOE was forced to swallow the selection?

December 6, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Screw DOE, a lot of people needed Charlie to be Director and so it was. Even if Charlie leaves and LANS is out in 2017, the amount of money made by all will be well worth. Charlie for example is no a multimillionaire. At 1.5 mill a year for 5 years means 7.5 million, not bad for screwing over the nation.

Anonymous said...

It's finally fitting to see the doom of the "Livermore" boys at LANS. There's one chapter left, McMillan is preparing his resignation announcement, any day now. I feel it, I feel it.....

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Ed Moses, the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO) president, will hire Charlie and Beth as his senior team, that way Ed would have a new layer of subordinate managers to shield him in the event he fails to reach GMTO milestones too.

Anonymous said...

Recall that DOE was not pleased with how LANS/UC selected Charlie to be Director...

DOE had to approve his selection, so any displeasure didn't amount to much.

Anonymous said...

It's finally fitting to see the doom of the "Livermore" boys at LANS.

Yes, we'll always wonder what might have been if LANL had viable internal leadership candidates at the time of contract competition. And at the end, you still have to face that it was a "LANL girl" that chose to take classified documents home, and a "LANL boy" who chose to swap out waste packaging material(s). Your fate has always been in your own hands. After Charlie retires, to whom will you then point as your victimizer?

Anonymous said...

After Charlie retires, to whom will you then point as your victimizer?

December 7, 2014 at 11:41 AM

There will always be a Director, so there will always be someone to point to. That's how we roll at LANL.

Anonymous said...

Taking on responsibility as a highly compensated upper level executive ? Nah, 11:41 am, that never happens with people like you.

What, might I ask, are these highly compensated lab managers suppose to do if not "manage" the systems they are supposedly paid large salaries to manage? It's funny how the executives of the labs never want to take responsibility for the screw-ups but are eager to dumped them on the lowest level staff they can find when things go horrible wrong due to their negligence in being managers.

And then they sit around and wonder why employee morale is so pitiful at LLNL and LANL?

Anonymous said...

"...And then they sit around and wonder why employee morale is so pitiful at LLNL and LANL?..."

"They" to include the LANSLLNS NNSA field offices, LANSLLNS appendages, or whatever you wish to call them.

Anonymous said...

December 7, 2014 at 11:41 AM


You are correct, and LANL had no viable internal leadership candidates at the last contract competition time. Unfortunately, the situation hasn't improved since then, and there still are no viable internal Director candidates today.

Anonymous said...

"...You are correct, and LANL had no viable internal leadership candidates at the last contract competition time. Unfortunately, the situation hasn't improved since then, and there still are no viable internal Director candidates today...?

"No viable internal Director candidates" referenced to whom? Charlie and Beth?

Anonymous said...

"You are correct, and LANL had no viable internal leadership candidates at the last contract competition time. Unfortunately, the situation hasn't improved since then, and there still are no viable internal Director candidates today.

December 7, 2014 at 7:10 PM"


Nanos got rid of a number of viable candidates.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the WIPP "switcheroo" mentioned in the above post was done by a contract employee to LANS not a LANL person per se. I believe it was Energy Solutions performing the waste repackaging. Minor details....

Anonymous said...

"Energy Solutions" with their 15 year old beat up pickup trucks parked downtown with all the guys gathered outside smoking from about 8:00 to 10:00 in the morning every day?

Anonymous said...

"Yes, we'll always wonder what might have been if LANL had viable internal leadership candidates at the time of contract competition."

blathers December 7, 2014 at 7:10 PM, who apparently suffers from early dementia; conveniently forgetting the competing bid for LANL led by Ambassador C. Paul Robinson and Dr. Donald Cook. Perhaps not internal, but certainly more than viable.

Anonymous said...

The distinguished C. Paul Robinson would have made a great Director for LANL but he occasionally pushed back against the idiocy promoted at times by the NNSA bureaucrats and they decided that just wouldn't do.

NNSA wanted a lap dog and they found it with LANS. However, what they didn't get with that choice for the LLC was managerial competence or honesty.


Anonymous said...

"...Actually, the WIPP "switcheroo" mentioned in the above post was done by a contract employee to LANS not a LANL person per se. I believe it was Energy Solutions performing the waste repackaging. Minor details..."

Don't forget the importance of LANL management peer review, Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA), communication and confirmed understanding of FMEA to workers, and continual oversight of the contractor employee execution of tasks. Not so minor details as it turns out.

Anonymous said...

The WIPP "blame game" pointer to supplemental labor might be a window into "Christmas Future" as LANSLLNS pushes forward with its "at will" commodity defined worker bee agenda.

This agenda will only lead to a revolving door of steep on the learning curve, inexperienced employees with no sense of job stability, no institutional feedback of value or importance, and attention toward the next employer. Consequently for some, this will lead to cavalier mission attitudes and procedural mistakes.

If we apply hazard analysis reasoning, even low probability events MUST be considered and addressed if the consequence or event is catastrophic.

Anonymous said...

This agenda will only lead to a revolving door of steep on the learning curve, inexperienced employees with no sense of job stability, no institutional feedback of value or importance, and attention toward the next employer. Consequently for some, this will lead to cavalier mission attitudes and procedural mistakes.

December 8, 2014 at 9:38 PM

Sorry, but this is the norm for all new employees at all companies in the US. They either pay attention to the training they are given, and get up to speed quickly, or they fail and are let go. No reason to dawdle with newbies who can't cut it.

Anonymous said...

"...Sorry, but this is the norm for all new employees at all companies in the US. They either pay attention to the training they are given, and get up to speed quickly, or they fail and are let go. No reason to dawdle with newbies who can't cut it..."

The WIPP mess has demonstrated a cluster of screw ups across the board at LANS that are not exclusively linked to the failure of newbies. Instead it suggests an inexcusable failure of leadership. When leadership "fails", are they "let go" when they "can't cut it"?

Anonymous said...

"Leadership" with their custom ordered, brand new, shiny, high end sports cars parked outside the "leadership palace" with all the old white guys gathered inside comparing their million dollar compensation packages from about 11:00 to 11:30 in the morning every day?

Thanks to 7:16 PM for an attempt to deflect from the issue.

Anonymous said...


Thanks to 7:16 PM for an attempt to deflect from the issue.

December 9, 2014 at 2:22 AM

The real issue is that the labs need to clean up the workforce. If the managers could be allowed really do there job they would get all the people that complain, whine, cause trouble, and who do not get it. Thee was well over 40 years of total rot at the labs, it will take at least 20 years to clean it out. We have good management we just need give them more say and the job will be done.

Anonymous said...

"... If the managers could be allowed really do there job they would get all the people that complain, whine, cause trouble, and who do not get it..."

Perhaps you should present your "get all the people that complain" idea directly to DOE and the NNSA. I'm sure they would be very intrigued with your grand plan to resolve Lab issues.

Anonymous said...

The former Los Alamos Deputy Director is brought up on charges by the DOE IG, and some "that just don't get it",
want to project all of LANS problems on the employees. The LANL management reset, minus LANS, is not coming soon enough.

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