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

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Another Bechtel Whistleblower Settlement

Another Bechtel Whistleblower Settlement

"Hanford whistleblower who lost his job reaches settlement in lawsuit over safety concerns"

"Millwright Walter Ford filed a lawsuit in federal court against Bechtel National, the contractor building the $17 billion plant and Aecom, its primary subcontractor..The Department of Labor said in a ruling made in 2015 that Ford’s role as a whistleblower in his 35 years at the Hanford nuclear reservation contributed to a decision to lay him off in November 2011."

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/hanford/article230958223.html

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Will Triad employee salaries be revealed?

As a Non-Profit LLC, will Triad employee salaries be revealed? 

"Nonprofits are required to submit their financial statements and other information -- including the salaries of directors, officers, and key employees...The IRS and nonprofits themselves are required to disclose the information on Form 990 to anyone who asks."

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/question-are-nonprofits-finances-public-information-28028.html

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Saturday, July 6, 2019

LANL Salaries Severely Fallen Behind Market


I noticed that the salaries being disclosed for engineering and science positions have really fallen far behind the market the past several years. First, most "scientist" positions are advertised at the postdoc, 1 or 2 level and require very advanced skills and experience nevertheless. On the other hand, there are glorified system administrator jobs being filled at the 3/4 level. Scientist jobs at the 3/4 level ask for incredible credentials that would be VP or director level in the private sector, and pay 2x to 10x. They are literally looking for world-class talent for $119-200K. Seems ludicrous.

According to Paysa, LANL is ranked 245th in pay for similar companies and 13,718th in all companies.

I understand how they can get some obsessive nanoscience or chemistry postdoc to work there, but how many top engineers or scientists are going to take a 2x or more pay cut and put up with the clearance requirements just to work on the government's niche problems? Not many good ones I imagine.

How can they fill these positions that ask for world class expertise paying so far below market? Also, why isn't pay keeping up with market under the GOCO model?

Is weapons science leaving LANL?

Is weapons science leaving LANL and going to LLNL? Follow the money.

Monday, July 1, 2019

LLNS CONTRACT

Should LLNS be awarded another contract after September 30, 2023, or will the NNSA favor a Triad like contractor model?

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Command and control

Does LLNS have a "command and control" leadership style and if so, does it complement or detract from its NNSA mission objective effectiveness compared to other leadership approaches? 

"How Command and Control as a Change Leadership Style Causes Transformational Change Efforts to Fail"

http://changeleadersnetwork.com/free-resources/how-command-and-control-as-a-change-leadership-style-causes-transformational-change-efforts-to-fail

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Los Alamos Lab Flying LGBTQ Flag For First Time


By Rebecca Moss | rmoss@sfnewmexican.com Jun 11, 2019 Updated Jun 12, 2019

At 19, Samuel Buelow felt he had to leave Los Alamos to be himself.

He had grown up as a girl in the insular, scientific community that felt deeply conservative in the late 1990s and early 2000s. After moving to Pittsburgh for college, Buelow came out as a transgender, gay man.

“It was definitely something, at the time, I felt I couldn’t have done living here full time,” Buelow said of Los Alamos. “There was very little awareness of these issues in general. And when there was, it was surrounded by some pretty intense homophobia and transphobia.”

That was then.

This … is a town sporting different colors.

On Monday, a rainbow flag was raised for the first time in front of the Otowi Building on the Los Alamos National Laboratory campus, flapping alongside the U.S. and New Mexico banners. Lab officials said it will fly for the remainder of the week.

It was another sign of change at the lab, which in previous years has undertaken different pride representations, including decorating the windows of a prominent building with rainbow-colored Post-it Notes in 2017.

CJ Bacino, the laboratory’s diversity officer, said a Los Alamos lab LGBTQ staff and allies group called Prism brought forward the idea of raising the flag this year to help mark Pride Week in Los Alamos County.

https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/los-alamos-lab-flying-lgbtq-flag-for-first-time/article_737d847e-8645-5455-8d96-15bcec7f3764.html

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Gender bias suit dismissed

Gender Bias Suit Against Sandia Labs Dismissed

BY SCOTT TURNER / JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
Tuesday, June 4th, 2019 at 12:05am

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A class action lawsuit accusing Sandia National Laboratories of “systemic and pervasive” discrimination against female employees was dismissed recently in federal court.

U.S. District Judge James O. Browning dismissed with prejudice the suit brought by Lisa A. Kennicott, Lisa A. Garcia, Sue C. Phelps and Judi Doolittle.

Kennicott, Garcia and Phelps originally filed suit in February 2017. Doolittle later joined the suit.

“We are pleased the matter has been resolved,” Sandia Labs spokeswoman Heather Clark said. “Sandia National Laboratories embraces gender diversity in the workforce and provides equal opportunities for all employees. Women are encouraged to pursue fulfilling careers and work toward common goals at the labs.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/1323811/gender-bias-suit-against-sandia-labs-dismissed-plaintiffs-had-alleged-that-evaluations-discriminated-against-womens-pay-promotions.html

Monday, June 3, 2019

SPSE-UPTE missed opportunity

Has SPSE-UPTE missed an opportunity to discuss the career ramifications of LLNS "career indefinite" employees forced into EIT/EBA status?

Monday, May 27, 2019

DOE whistleblower problem

DOE contractor employees are misled from the get go regarding the investigative authority of DOE to address whistleblower claims


When Hanford contractors Bechtel and URS (also members of the LLNS LLC) were asked to provide records of a Hanford whistleblower employee, Bechtel and URS refused, and essentially told the DOE IG, yes the DOE IG, to take a hike. 

It would appear that DOE claims to offer whistleblower protection knowing that they have no authority to demand records to prove or disprove contractor retaliation. This uncommunicated detail which appears to be a form of fraud, simply buys more time for DOE contractors to mitigate whistleblower issues using tax payer dollars. 

https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2014/10/f18/IG-0923.pdf

Friday, May 24, 2019

Another Scandal !

Another Scandal
Former LANL scientist indicted for making false statements

SANTA FE, N.M. — A former top scientist with Los Alamos National Laboratories has been federally charged with three counts of making false official statements about “his involvement with a program established by the Chinese government to recruit people with access to and knowledge of foreign technology and intellectual property,” according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1320008/former-lanl-scientist-indicted-for-making-false-statements.html

Hanford worker contaminated

https://www.opb.org/news/article/hanford-nuclear-reservation-contamination-health-workers/

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Another set of unfulfilled NNSA FOIA requests go to District Court

Another set of unfulfilled NNSA FOIA requests go to District Court

On May 9, 2019, my Attorney for FOIA matters filed "Rivera v. National Nuclear Security Administration et al" in CA Northern District Court. The complaint alleges failure to provide timely responses to 4 NNSA FOIA requests. In summary, the FOIAs requested the following records:

1. NNSA LFO Contracting Officer review of legal fee reimbursement allowability based on DOE Acquisition Letter AL 2016-06 that 
requires review of underlying contractor misconduct in whistleblower cases 

2. Career indefinite employee and supplemental labor employee lay offs at LLNL from June 1, 1984 to November 1, 2013

3. Records relating to the LLNL HEAF 10kg port glass rupture during an August 30, 2013 experiment 

4. Legal fee reimbursements to LLNS for the period of May 18, 2018 to January 18, 2019 related to my whistleblower case

https://www.pacermonitor.com/public/case/28150710/Rivera_v_National_Nuclear_Security_Administration_et_al

In my previous CA Northern District Court FOIA related proceeding regarding whistleblower related expenses, the NNSA did not provide the requested internal aggregate man-hour charges (available through project/task records) of LLNS employees related to my whistleblower case. These expenses may include internal man-hours charges for strategy meetings, testimony, depositions, coaching, statement construction, statement edits, investigation guidance etc., all charged to LLNS contracted funds. The use of contracted funds for this purpose did not require the oversight or approval of the NNSA. As such, these aggregate internal time charges were directly extracted from contracted funds without the need of a reimbursement allowability process. 

Anthony Rivera

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Pedigree and productivity

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/05/02/study-when-it-comes-research-output-where-phds-get-hired-matters-more-where-they

This is an interesting study that shows that faculty productivity depends on mostly on the institution where one is at not the institution where one got their Phd.

The message is that if the organization is excellent it brings up everything. This was an argument used in the past at the labs as why we needed excellence at the labs. In other words having excellence in open science will bring up the quality of all parts of the lab. 

Friday, April 26, 2019

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

NNSA funding

NIF averts a major lay off in FY19, and LLNL overall FY20 budget if passed, largest in proportion to its FY19 budget

"We also assess that the cuts will significantly delay the pursuit of fusion ignition and yield on the NIF, and means we will not meet the NNSA goal set out for 2020. At LLNL, the proposed budget eliminates funding for nearly half of the scientists and engineers working on the ignition effort, representing a significant portion of the U.S. expertise in this area." 

http://www.firefusionpower.org/HHRG-115-SY20-Wstate-HerrmannM-20180306.pdf

"The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California would get the largest proportional budget increase in 2020, if the NNSA’s request became law. The agency seeks about $1.8 billion, which is more than 17.5 percent, or $280 roughly million, above the 2019 appropriation of $1.5 billion. Livermore is leading the W80-4 life-extension program to modernize the warhead slated to top the Pentagon’s new nuclear-tipped, air-launched cruise missile, the Long-Range Standoff weapon. 

https://www.exchangemonitor.com/nnsa-breaks-2020-funding-request-lab-los-alamos-still-top/

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Cookie Jars Within Cookie Jars?



"DOE Pushes Back on Suggestion That Local Feds Investigate Subcontractor Ownership Ties" 

Local DOE officials should “independently review subcontractor ownership information as part of DOE consent reviews and assess potential conflicts of interest to ensure contractors are mitigating them,” GAO auditors said in a 76-page report published Tuesday...A notable example of subcontractors party to prime contracts in the NNSA enterprise is Bechtel National. The company is the lead partner on Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS), operator of the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn...At Y-12, the company is also building the Uranium Processing Facility under a subcontract to CNS.

https://www.exchangemonitor.com/doe-pushes-back-suggestion-local-feds-investigate-subcontractor-ownership-ties/

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

A few LANL rumors

A few LANL rumors at LANL. There is some talk that the future is in fact pits, where the idea is is that by 2025 it will become clear that
Savanah River cannot do pits and the whole thing goes to LANL. This will completely change the culture at the lab and transform it into a full manufacturing facility. 

Another rumor is that there is a war between some of the managers which have very different visions of where the lab should be going under Triad. Again some people are saying that our future is more manufacturing and are pushing for new hires in this area. 

Lots of hiring of people however the quality leaves something to be desired but LANL needs more and more people.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Some Hanford workers not owed full pensions


Some Hanford workers not owed full pensions; could decision impact thousands more?

"An appeals court has found that the Department of Energy has no obligation to provide full pension benefits to some Hanford nuclear reservation workers who filed a class action lawsuit...The lower court found that DOE was not obligated to offer Hanford workers continued full pension and retirement benefits after they were required to switch from one employer to another in a 1996 contracting change."

https://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/hanford/article224274035.html

Monday, February 25, 2019

Bill upholds tax levy on national labs

Bill upholds tax levy on national labs
BY KATY BARNITZ / JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
Monday, February 25th, 2019 at 12:05am

Legislation that would allow New Mexico to continue taxing national laboratory operators even when they have nonprofit status quickly made its way through the House on Sunday.

A fiscal analysis of the bill found that if the prime contractor of Los Alamos National Laboratory had tax-exempt status, the state could lose $25 million to $30 million in gross receipts tax revenue.

Rep. Christine Chandler, D-Los Alamos, said Senate Bill 11 ensures revenue stability for local governments, too.

The bill seeks to amend the section of state statute that exempts nonprofit organizations from paying GRT. It would create an exception permitting the state to tax nonprofits that have been contracted to operate a national laboratory.

Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed similar legislation last year.

The House passed the bill with a minor amendment that broadened the exception to include contractors running state-owned research facilities as well, though that does not currently exist in New Mexico.

Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho, said the change would not “capture anyone” but it would also stop the bill from singling out federal facilities. The bill now returns to the Senate for consideration.

Triad National Security LLC, which the analysis said is organized as a non-profit and could seek to become tax exempt, ultimately took over management of LANL. Triad is made up of the University of California, Texas A&M University and the scientific non-profit Battelle Memorial Institute and is a non-profit itself.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1284907/bill-upholds-tax-levy-on-national-labs.html

Sunday, February 24, 2019

You are in trouble if you complain...

Did employees working at LLNL go from a weakly democratic system of management under UC, to an unopposed for-profit dictatorship under LLNS? How could this not compromise all aspects of our Lab missions? To what extent is the commenter below from the "white privilege" topic correct? 

"In this way discrimination is not a special issue at LANL or LLNL, it is just another thing you need to be silent about. Complain about safety, your in trouble, complain about abuse, your in trouble, complain about bad management your in trouble, complain about infrastructure your in trouble, complain about security your in trouble."

WIPP under federal investigation

https://www.currentargus.com/story/news/local/2019/02/21/wipp-federal-investigation-department-energy-hazardous-chemicals/2905747002/

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Feds file False Claims lawsuit against MOX contractor, subcontractor

"The suit alleges a total $6.4 million of dishonest claims, spurred by Wise Services, were submitted for repayment by MOX Services. The suit also alleges Wise Services provided cash; gift cards; YETI coolers; Masters, NASCAR and football tickets; phones; car tires; and guns, among other things, to MOX Services officials to gain favorable treatment.."Wise carefully chose the MOX officials and employees to whom it would improperly reward and pay kickbacks based upon their ability to provide favorable treatment to Wise in the award, modification, and administration of the Wise subcontracts," the complaint reads."

https://www.aikenstandard.com/news/feds-file-false-claims-lawsuit-against-mox-contractor-subcontractor/article_42ca1d0a-3399-11e9-8886-271b8b4b71ab.html

Friday, February 8, 2019

White privilege at LLNL?

As it is Black History month, Lab cultural celebrations and activities aside, is "White Privilege" a present day workplace issue at LLNL?

Thursday, February 7, 2019

LLNL tombstone picture

Now that LLNL has survived ten years past transition, and prospers, is it time to retire the tombstone on the masthead?

Monday, January 21, 2019

County fears loss of GRT

County fears loss of GRT if Los Alamos lab gets nonprofit status

Los Alamos County officials are concerned that a stream of gross receipts tax revenues from Los Alamos National Laboratory -- tens of millions of dollars a year -- could dry up in coming months if the lab's new management contractor obtains nonprofit status from the IRS.

https://www.lamonitor.com/content/county-fears-loss-grt-if-los-alamos-lab-gets-nonprofit-status

en. Carlos Cisneros, D-Questa, said the tax revenue loss also would be felt by the state over time, particularly in years without an oil boom.

Cisneros is a co-sponsor of a bill introduced in the 2019 legislative session that seeks to amend the New Mexico Tax Code to prevent gross receipts tax exemptions for major contractors formed to operate one of the state's national labs.

"We rely on that funding for education and government services," Cisneros said.

If oil and gas "goes south, it takes a chunk of the budget, and we are back in a recession mode," he said. "So this additional cushion of up to $30 million coming in from the national lab is just as crucial for the state of New Mexico as it for the local government."

Nerzig did not answer questions about whether Triad was considering filing for tax-exempt status.

The National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees the lab, also did not respond to questions about the issue Friday.

If Triad does obtain 501(c)(3) status, Los Alamos County would have to repay any taxes it has already collected from the company.

"That is a very difficult thing for a municipality," said Los Alamos County Councilor David Izraelevitz.

Like Burgess, Izraelevitz is concerned about the future of tax revenues from the lab.

"At this point, we are going basically month to month," he said, "until we hear any confirmation from them as to whether they will apply or not."

Friday, January 11, 2019

The scores are in!

The scores are in and once again LANL is the lowest in the complex

This was the final year of LANS and Wallace was able to do his very best and LANL hung onto last place! Way to go!!



Nuclear weapons complex report cards

Los Alamos National Laboratory: Earned $47.9 million of a possible $50.1 million award fee, including $6.5 million, or 75 percent, of a possible $8.7 million in performance-based fees.


Kansas City National Security Campus: Earned $43.4 million of a possible $47.5 million award, including 86.5 percent of a possible $30 million in performance-based fees.

Y-12 National Security Complex & Pantex Plant: Earned $36.3 million of a possible $40.9 million, including 88.5 percent of a possible $39.9 million in performance-based fees.

Nevada National Security Site: Earned $16.7 million of a possible $18.3 million, including 89.6 percent of a possible $15.1 million in performance-based fees.

Sandia National Laboratories: Earned $41.6 million of a possible $42.4 million, including 91 percent of a possible $8.2 million in performance-based fees.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: Earned $44 million of a possible $46.7 million, including 91 percent of a possible $28.3 million in performance-based fees.

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/feds-ding-lanl-over-performance-but-award-lab-m/article_672ddad3-40f1-5eb3-8d75-55cae76c972f.html

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

What is the future for the workforce at the NNA labs?



"Will an AI take YOUR job in 2019? China's leading expert warns it will take over HALF of jobs within 15 years (and reveals the most at risk careers)"
THE TEN MOST ENDANGERED JOBS FROM AI

Telemarketer / telesales
Customer support 
Warehouse workers
Clerks and operational staff 
Telephone operators 
Teller/cashier 
Fast food workers 
Dish washers 
Assembly line inspector 

Not sure that half the jobs at the NNSA labs are in danger but maybe 1/4? 

JOBS AN AI CAN AND CAN'T DO 
THE JOBS AI WILL TAKE OVER FIRST

Sales and Marketing Research 
Insurance adjuster 
Security guards 
Truck drivers 
Consumer loan underwriter 
Financial and sports journalists 
Bookkeepers & Financial Analysts 
Fruit pickers 
Investment professionals 
Radiologist 

JOBS AN AI WON'T BE ABLE TO DO

Psychiatrists 
Therapists 
Medical caregivers
AI researchers and engineers 
Fiction writers 
Teachers 
Criminal defense attorney 
Computer Scientists & Engineers 
Scientists 
Managers (actually leaders)


Hmm, well the NNSA labs don't have many scientists left and there certainly are no "actual leaders" so maybe 1/2 the workforce 
will be in danger.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Notice of violation!



LANS cited for another safety violation

LANL still operating under dark shadow of LANS

Even without any additional fine from NNSA to the now defunct operator, this is still a damning official action. Any near miss is serious and one at a nuclear weapons lab carries heightened risk for all involved. By the time this accident happened, McMillan had dumped almost all of the leadership that wasn't home grown and installed UC lifers in those roles. Only time will show if the Triad group has better judgement in selecting leadership.


https://www.abqjournal.com/1264678/lanls-ex-operator-cited-for-another-safety-violation.html

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Why does Los Alamos need GRT taxes?

Why does Los Alamos need GRT taxes from TRIAD? Is the money going to be used to create an even bigger justice center when Los Alamos is already the safest place in New Mexico.

https://www.movoto.com/guide/nm/safest-places-in-new-mexico/

"Residents in Los Alamos had the lowest chance anywhere in the state of being the victim of a crime at 1 in 192. "

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