Thursday, January 27, 2005

Bingaman comments on RFP

From the Los Alamos Monitor:

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Headline News

Bingaman comments on RFP

CAROL A. CLARK,, Monitor Staff Writer

Several suggestions to improve the draft RFP to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory were outlined in a letter by Sen. Jeff Bingaman to Linton Brooks, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration.

The draft RFP was issued by DOE late last year. The contents have caused a flurry of meetings by LANL employees concerned with possible benefit changes and other issues.

In Bingaman's letter to Brooks, he made the following suggestions:

  • Include in the scoring system the potential contractor's benefits package.

  • Include appropriate compensation for employees whose children are enrolled in University of California system at in-state tuition rates.
  • Establish an independent board of directors to oversee the lab contractor to address issues, such as excellence in the basic sciences that are not addressed in the day-to-day operation of the lab.

  • Address stewardship of the Los Alamos Research Park.

  • Develop an approach for oversight that effectively safeguards the health and safety of workers and the broader community.

    "DOE must take every possible step to retain the outstanding employees who have worked hard to make LANL one of our country's most important national laboratories," Bingaman said in a news release.

    "DOE has made science a top priority in the proposal, and that is good. But I believe more emphasis needs to be placed on ensuring the benefits package offered to employees is as good as or better than the one offered by the current contractor." Bingaman also wrote in his letter, "Any lessening of the benefits package could lead to massive early retirements of senior weapons scientists as well as an exodus of more junior scientists and thus affect the stockpile stewardship program that is the primary mission of the lab."

    Of the Los Alamos Research Park, Bingaman wrote, "I am concerned that because of security concerns, the Department plans to move the security fence to encompass the research park. I believe that moving the park inside the security boundary will negatively affect the lab's technology transfer efforts, and will result in a negative impact on the area's economic development. I encourage the Department to require the contractor of the laboratory to mitigate the impacts of moving the research park inside the boundary."

    In order to ensure adequate time for response, Bingaman also urged NNSA to grant an extension of the deadline for comments on the draft RFP.

    Bingaman is the top Democrat on the influential Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

    The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has jurisdiction over national energy policy and the nation's public lands. Bingaman also holds leadership positions as Deputy Democratic Whip, and on the Democratic Technology and Communications Committee and the Democratic Steering and Coordination Committee.

    Maintaining and enhancing national security is one of Bingaman's top objectives and he is considered a powerful voice for both LANL and Sandia National Laboratories.

  • Comments:
    Why has no one jumped on Bingaman's comments about the security fence encompassing the Research Park? This land was given to Los Alamos County as part of the settlement between the County and the DOE rather than having the DOE provide assistance payments every year. The idea was for the County become more self-sufficient via businesses located in the Research Park that were cooperating with LANL projects.

    The actions of the DOE are extremely similar to those of the US Government in their dealings with Native Americans, with the Hispanics who farmed on the Pajarito Plateau, and with the ranchers in the Tularosa Baisin. The DOE suffers from a real image problem and is wasting much of the taxpayers' dollars shifting their poor image to LANL, hoping that no one will notice that what they give with one hand they take with the other.

    The LANL problem is much bigger than Nanos. The problem is the middle-level bureaucrats at the DOE who are more interested in justifyng their jobs than actually accomplishing anything. The health and safety of our family and friends in the Jemez, the econimic stability of our community, even our very existence is not as important to them as imagining every possible security scenario and trying to protect TA-3 from every possible method of attack without any real data. Of course, what can you expect from an agency that fails to fund expansion of the red network and then dumps all the blame for 2 missing barcodes on LANL and UC. Those two barcodes cost UC how much money each?
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