Friday, February 18, 2005

Pete – What happened to Ray Neff, LANL's CIO?

From Anonymous:

I remember sitting at one of Pete’s All Hands and he said that a new CIO, whom he knew and had worked with while in the Navy, was coming to LANL. A few days later, this was the official LANL press release:

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., July 7, 2003 -- Raymond Kenneth Neff has been named chief information officer for Los Alamos National Laboratory…

"Information management is a crucial part of the Los Alamos strategy for performance improvement," said Interim Director G. Peter Nanos in announcing the appointment. "Raymond Neff's outstanding experience at some of the nation's top educational institutions over the past three decades makes him the ideal choice to lead this key aspect of the Laboratory's infrastructure.”

Ray Neff quit being LANL’s CIO after about 8 months. No explanation was given to the workforce. Was Ray forced out? What was the real story – we’ll never know. There was no lawsuit, so did Pete and UC make some sort of financial settlement with Ray Neff?

The same accountability that Pete rants and raves about doesn’t apply to Saint Pete. Pete used terms like “outstanding” and “ideal choice.” Well, Pete, after Ray was forced out, you should have stood down the Director’s Office as you did the entire Lab. I find it ironic that you are so fast to blame others, but I’ve never once heard you apologize for any of your actions or even admit to making a mistake. How about holding yourself to the same standards that you hold the LANL workforce?

But it gets better …

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Dec. 10, 2003 -- The Secretary of Defense has announced the resignation of Dr. Stephen M. Younger as director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, effective Feb. 27, 2004. Younger will return to Los Alamos National Laboratory as a senior fellow.

Pete Nanos hired Younger back, but here are the facts:

Younger was allowed to resign. It is well known that the Secretary of Defense was not pleased with Younger’s performance or his ability to get along with DoD and the other Federal Agencies.

It is widely known, both in DC circles and in LANL circles, that Younger would travel to DC and stay only at the Intercontinental Hotel when Steve was working as a LANL employee, at rates higher than the approved government rate. Senior Lab management allowed Younger to do this, and never made him stay, like the rest of us, at hotels that offered the government rates. John Tapia, you should look into Steve’s travel, or do the rules not apply to senior management and fellows?

Younger couldn’t cut it at DTRA, and obviously did such a good job there that none of the DC beltway consulting firms would offer him a job, so Nanos gives him a fellowship.

Pete: you are a cowboy and a butt-head! Thanks for hiring another incompetent.

I heard from someone in the CIO office that Ray Neff had some shady stuff in his past and could not get a security clearance. Can't be CIO without one.
It's inaccurate to say that Pete hired Steve back. He was on a change of station (actually "IPA"). His salary was paid through LANL, so legally, he was always a LANL employee. However, why "Senior Fellow"? This seems to be Pete's way of getting rid of senior people who don't quite "fit" - Press, Hawkins and Younger... Why wasn't Tom Meyer made a senior fellow? Maybe because he "really" didn't fit?
(1) Neff could not get a security clearance -- you could argue that better due diligence should have been done, but DOE rules are quite clear.

(2) Younger was not Nanos' problem -- he was shipped off to DTRA because of conflicts with Browne (younger thought he was director), and UC had dealt Younger to DTRA with a promise of a fellow position. You could argue that this is UC mismanagement, but it is an unfortunate practice in most labs.

(3) Hawkins is/was involved in legal action against lanl/UC, and this is the buy off. It was not a matter of "quite fitting".

(4) It is true that Nanos really hated Meyer. Of course, Meyer was an "at will employee", and could be released for any reason. Meyer was not go because of safety; he was let go because of management incompetance. Meyer was a great scientist, visionary, and without peer for NOT doing his management job. He let SR flounder, and never actually did anything except work on his research.
Actually, Neff did have a Q clearance when he was dismissed. I worked with Neff daily and saw it first hand.
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