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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Why can't LANL keep it together at the top?

As it is approaching four years that Charlie has been in charge, let's take a look at the Lab leadership over this period. Is there one single time in four years that all senior positions have been filled by permanent individuals? Why is there a seemingly endless string of acting leaders? What is the root cause of this evident inability to fill and retain key personnel slots?

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Bechtel way is to rotate their executives around through their various operations. All the high level managers brought in by Bechtel corporate are temporary in nature.

Anonymous said...

Nice effort to divert from Charlie's incompetence to Bechtel bashing. In fact, Bechtel has done a very good job of keeping their "slots" filled. The positions with acting folks in them belong to other partners.

Anonymous said...

The process at LANL on being interviewed and hired for internal and external positions is riddled with incompetence and delays. I have interviewed for many positions within LANL and it has taken from 5 to 8 months to get their "standard" unprofessional "form" rejection e-mail! When I hired on at LANL in 1985, I was called by a manager next day following my interview that I was hired and moved my family from California in a month from the day of my interview. Why is it taking more that 6-months for LANL to determine if they want to hire you? I know that the approval process at LANL requires signatures all the way up the PAD including the LISC. Ridiculous. Don't waste your time trying to hire-on at LANL.

Anonymous said...

"Why is it taking more that 6-months for LANL to determine if they want to hire you?" - 5:02 pm


Because the plan at LANL which LANS management follows is to reduce the size of the staff except for management, of course. Fewer people means an easier to watch and easier to run lab with fewer chances of embarrassments (or so LANS thinks). Delaying the acceptance of new employees as long as possible helps to discourage applicants and keep the general employment numbers down.

The fact that the ratio of workers to managers is extremely out of whack given the downsizing in the general working staff is of no concern to LANS. It's not in their PBIs, so end of story. They have no desires whatsoever to move the lab toward "growth mode" or to take on new projects. For example, the destruction of the WFO portfolio at LANL since Charlie took over is no accident. It's now at 9% of the lab's budget and shrinking fast. Charlie sees this as a "success".

Unfortunately, the poor management structure at LANL hasn't helped Charlie McMillan keep the embarrassments at bay, the recent WIPP Barrel Burps being just one in a long chain of his upper management team failures. Then, again, failures at LANL don't seem to affect the job security of those in upper management. Convenient low level scape goats are always found to pin the blame upon when the failures hit the newspapers. Charlie McMillan and his team remain, untouched, unscathed and with salaries that continue to soar.



Anonymous said...

As a reference, Charlie fired Hugh McGovern the Weapon Facility Operations Director (WFOD) last week for failing to resurrect the Weapon Tritium Engineering Facility (WETF). Another LANS failure that not many people are aware of. A LANS decision three years too late, too little.

Anonymous said...

Charlie McMillan and his team remain, untouched, unscathed and with salaries that continue to soar.

March 31, 2015 at 5:39 PM

Their goal is to maximize their salaries, fully knowing their asses will be tossed in two years, max.

Anonymous said...

I'm betting that teflon Charlie will land on his feet. Any takers?

Anonymous said...



As a reference, Charlie fired Hugh McGovern the Weapon Facility Operations Director (WFOD) last week for failing to resurrect the Weapon Tritium Engineering Facility (WETF). Another LANS failure that not many people are aware of. A LANS decision three years too late, too little.

March 31, 2015 at 6:59 PM"

Hughe will no doubt find a new position that pays much more money.

Anonymous said...

" I'm betting that teflon Charlie will land on his feet. Any takers?

March 31, 2015 at 8:30 PM"

At 1.5 million for 5 yeears Charlie has already landed on his feet and is laughing at all your you.

Anonymous said...

Hugh (McGovern) will no doubt find a new position that pays much more money.

March 31, 2015 at 10:17 PM

He did. He's at TA-55 leading the restart effort. Really! He couldn't restart WETF and he's leading the restart of TA-55? This guy is so incompetent he couldn't restart his TV. Also, another very hateful LANS manager.

Anonymous said...

"Why is it taking more that 6-months for LANL to determine if they want to hire you?" - 5:02 pm

LANL Human Resources. Another example of Bechtel's implementation of the Total Quality Management (TQM)and Black Belt principles. LANS "flagship" organization!

Anonymous said...

Nice effort to divert from Charlie's incompetence to Bechtel bashing. In fact, Bechtel has done a very good job of keeping their "slots" filled. The positions with acting folks in them belong to other partners.

March 31, 2015 at 4:29 PM

The LANL two best examples have been the Deputy Lab Director and Human Resource Division Directors. If you look at the Betchel Managers that been in these jobs you will find the major source of LANS problems for the last 8-years. In one word: incompetence.

Anonymous said...

3:39 AM

You need to check some facts before firing off Bechtel-is-evil comments.

Correct, the LANS Deputy Lab Director caused a world of hurt. She was debarred from federal contracting due to her ethical problems. She was also personally recruited to that position by Charlie, and did not come from Bechtel.

Correct, the HR Director post-transition was from Bechtel and left about the time Charlie took over. His replacement was not from Bechtel, and she was seen as another one of Charlie's favorites.

Anonymous said...

Teflon Charlie will always remain teflon charlie. Just a matter of how "hot" is will get... cooking hot, or incineration hot.

Anonymous said...

There are only a few slots (people) in the decision making coalition that matter most to LANLs future.

Most management and many employees are non essential, derivative, doing work that can be completed by many substitutes. These positions can have stability or high turnover, it doesn't matter much how well they are performed, they are not mission critical.

The important people are stable.

Anonymous said...

None of the Bechtel billets matter. They are just serving time, collecting fee. Not so much this year...

Anonymous said...

The LANL two best examples have been the Deputy Lab Director and Human Resource Division Directors. If you look at the Betchel Managers that been in these jobs you will find the major source of LANS problems for the last 8-years. In one word: incompetence.

April 1, 2015 at 3:39 AM


The LANL Deputy Director that was debarred from federal contracting for unethical actions didn't come from Bechtel. She was a personal selection by Charlie.

Anonymous said...

The LANL Deputy Director that was debarred from federal contracting for unethical actions didn't come from Bechtel. She was a personal selection by Charlie.

April 4, 2015 at 10:32 AM

She works for Bechtel now, they liked they way she did business at LANL. Bechtel is trying to tell LANL employees what they expect from their workforce. Nice

Anonymous said...

It isn't Bechtel. McMillan is in over his head. But he is Anastasio's boy, and Anastasio has Norm Pattis in hand. So McMillan survives (what's the status of PF4?)

Anonymous said...

(what's the status of PF4?)

April 5, 2015 at 12:01 AM

Going through Federal (i.e. DOE) Readiness Assessments (FRAs). My general opinion is that all the restart processes are intended to delay LANS actually restarting because ironically they really don't want to restart. Why? Because LANS is about reducing their liability or risk. There is too much risk in performing "real" work at LANS.

Anonymous said...

Fewer real workers with a massive army of bloated management overlooking their every step while little work gets done so that the security and safety metrics (PBIs upon which the bloated management gets their raises) go up, up, up.

The "amazing turn-around" at LANL under LANS has started and the management will be very happy with their raises over the next two years.

Sickening to watch how this is done!

Anonymous said...

security and safety metrics (PBIs upon which the bloated management gets their raises) go up, up, up.

April 5, 2015 at 10:01 AM

There are also science and stockpile stewardship PBIs. If the grades on those are F's, it doesn't matter how safe and secure the site is, there will still be no award fee and recompeted contracts.

Anonymous said...

"There are also science and stockpile stewardship PBIs. If the grades on those are F's, it doesn't matter how safe and secure the site is, there will still be no award fee and recompeted contracts.

April 5, 2015 at 11:21 AM"

False, I would guess they would could 70% or of the fee. Only screw ups matter not accomplishments. Remember WIP, it was in the news and cost the the entire bonus. That is they way the contract was written and this is how it is done. No work, no safety issues and you get 70%, now that sounds better than 0%. The problem with WIPP is that got greedy and did not want to pay the fines for not moving the stuff. Suppose they never moved, they would have to pay a few million in fines and many lose another million due to a lost PBI. That would have been 80% of the fee, instead they actually tried to do something and they 0%. The lesson to be learned is not to do anything.

Anonymous said...

False, I would guess they would could 70% or of the fee.

April 5, 2015 at 3:09 PM

You don't have to "guess" you just have to look it up. Sorry to burst your bubble, sorry you aren't really into reality.

Anonymous said...


"You don't have to "guess" you just have to look it up. Sorry to burst your bubble, sorry you aren't really into reality.

April 5, 2015 at 4:52 PM"

Ok, look it up.

Anonymous said...

My impression actually working at this laboratory is that the brilliance of Los Alamos died decades ago. Nobody really know how to do things right and safe. Nobody wants to follow the law ( regulations) because they feel it too expensive and they are better than that anyways. It is a culture that depends on brilliance where brilliance no longer exists.

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