Headline News Bingaman comments on RFP
CAROL A. CLARK, email@example.com, 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.
Include in the scoring system the potential contractor's benefits package.
In Bingaman's letter to Brooks, he made the following suggestions:
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.