Wednesday, January 05, 2005

LANL Censored My Letter

On January 5, 2005, LANL actually did publish a censored version of my letter. Note that they decided to publish this censored version 6 weeks after it had been submitted.

Nov. 12, 2004

Concerned about science

Recent letters to the Daily Newsbulletin have questioned the recent lack of meaningful submissions. In response, an Editor's Note assured us that the Public Affairs Office "encourages employees to express concerns..."

Ok, then. Here's a story that is really an expression of concern. During the recent suspension of operations, as I am sure you all recall, Laboratory staff were under strict orders that, should an outside sponsor contact us via telephone to discuss programmatic issues, the only allowed response was, "I'm sorry, I am not allowed to discuss that at this time. We are in a work shutdown mode."

Well, guess what? One of my group's sponsors called during week two of the suspension of operations, and received the proscribed response. Two hours later the sponsor called back and said, "I'm sorry, but I have no confidence that the Lab will allow you to perform the work we contracted for you to do. Therefore, we are pulling our contract."

In an eye blink, my group lost a three year, $1 million dollar-per-year contract. Shortly afterward, the group leader quit in disgust at having been forced to shun a customer that we had all worked hard to get.

The deputy group leader quit a week later.

Two of the team leaders announced later that they [were] quitting, and three more team leaders in the group are planning to leave the Lab.

Several staff members in the group are planning to leave the Lab.

These are all good people who are leaving because they feel Lab management has created an environment in which science can no longer be done.

Should this be an issue of concern? You be the judge.

--Doug Roberts

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I would like to clarify one point: the deputy group leader did not quit -- he was recalled to active duty and sent to Baghdad.
You might be interested to know that the team chosen to design the new research facility has been stripped of members who might have had the experience, talent and knowlege to do a thorough, detailed, analysis of the facility's needs and thereafter design a really top-notch research facility in favor of less-experienced, CHEAPER members who will save the developer money - with absolutely no consideration of the needs of scientists who will work there or of the nationally-important sensitive research programs to be carried out there.
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