Thursday, February 03, 2005

Computer Support Issues

From Anonymous:

In my over-20 year career at Los Alamos National Laboratory, I have seen very few examples of employees being treated dishonestly. However, since the shutdown, my Division office has been seriously mistreating the people whom I depend upon for important computer support.

My Division has never had a team of system administrators. Rather they have attempted to spend as little as possible, hoping that staff members could provide computer support as well as fulfill their real job responsibilities. For a period of time almost 9 years ago, we had a CCN-2 employee who provided some of us with support. Because one CCN-2 employee was not enough, our Division generated a service contract with a woman-owned small business in Albuquerque that already had one Q-cleared employee on site supporting one of our groups. Shortly after this service contract was set up, the CCN-2 employee quit the Lab. We were left with the support provided by this company - three Q cleared LANL retirees.

Their support has been outstanding. If there are weekend problems, one of them always responds to email. If there are problems after hours, one of them always responds to email. If necessary, we can reach them at home after hours. They work with us to provide what we need in a timely manner. With what appears to be very little effort they manage to make sure that there is always someone available, yet they all seem to take vacations. Even when on vacation, they monitor their LANL email and respond if necessary.

However, the CWP and the shutdown are being used as excuses to dismantle this service-oriented team. They have been forced to work from month to month while our Division attempts to assemble a team to provide the support that three less then fulltime people provide. This cost effective way of dealing with computer support in a time of tight budgets is being done "behind the backs" of our current computer support team. Our Division has never discussed their plans with these people; they have no regard for the work these people have done; in fact they belittle this work, never acknowledging how important the over 60 years of total experience is to the user community in the Division. So much for the Director's core values of openness and honesty.

I am ashamed of my Division Office and its inability to treat people in a straightforward manner. I am ashamed of the Director who allows this to happen. I am ashamed of those whom I work with who will not speak up because they fear for their jobs if they tell the Division office that they do not agree with their decisions.

I work with cowards, and I will retire soon.

Trust me, Whatever they come up with will be more costly and less efficient than the current system. Speaking of others with no guts brings up another point. I bring forward issues with my management and they sit there, smile, agree with you sit around and shoot the bull with you like they are one of your buddies but do nothing. They are content just collecting their big salaries.
Interesting read. But one question--you mention you're ashamed of those around you who won't speak up for fear of retribution yet you post this anonymously. Have you spoken to the T-Division office with your concerns? If you do, perhaps others might. Maybe many folks feel the same as you, including the folks on the "new" support team, but since no one is speaking up, others don't think to speak up. I just may be one of those folks who agree with you but I'm going to post anonymously as well because I'm a coward.
Yes, you are absolutely right. How about setting up a meeting that is advertised to the entire division to discuss what the users want.

However, when a division leader takes his cue from the Director who "talks the talk" but doesn't "walk the walk", makes decisions based upon incorrect information and then sticks to them, again emulating the Director, and delegates responsibility for critical research tools to someone who has never been involved in research rather than allowing the group leaders make decisions on how they want to spend their money and on whom, what do think the meeting would accomplish?
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