Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Tom Meyer's Letter

http://www.parrot-farm.net/blog/meyer.txt


Comments:
This is by far the best summary of events I have seen. Cool, filled with facts and objective. Should definitely be send out to all the big sharks in DOE, UC and the press.
 
Anyone knows Tom Meyer's current email address?
Thanks in advance.
 
I would like Tom's current email address too. I used to work with him, and he really was one of the good guys at LANL. We were lucky to have such a talented, accomplished scientist as an Associate Director. He stood heads and shoulders above Nano's current crop of sycophants. I would like to send Tom an email thanking him for producing such a well thought-out letter.
 
Tom Meyer: tjmeyer@email.unc.edu
 
Tom Meyer is right about the scientific credentials of the LANL senior management. They are very slim. There are very few senior managers who could get a job in a research group based on their credentials. In fact most have published very few papers and have been cited only a few times. You can prove this to yourself by going to the LANL web page, clicking on library, then using one of the three search engines to look up the publications and citations of any of the senior management. You can find out who the senior managers are by downloading the organization charts for the director or for any directorate or division. Be sure to use the middle initial, e.g. Roe RA. It only takes a couple of minutes.
 
C’mon, are you saying that the Acting AD for Strategic Research has no qualifications for the position other than being a yes-person to the Director? Hey, this is Los Alamos National Laboratory we’re talking about here.

Look at the following excerpts from the LANL NewsBulletin and tell me this person is not qualified to act as head of the Directorate responsible for strategic research at THE institution where “The World’s Greatest Science Protecting America” is taking place.

“Micheline A. Devaurs is the new leader for the Decision Applications Division…A graduate of Utah State University with a masters degree in watershed science, and holding a bachelors degree [in Natural Resources] from the University of California, Berkeley…As program manager for pollution prevention, she was responsible for management and implementation of the Laboratory's pollution prevention and waste minimization program.”

If this doesn’t qualify someone to be the Acting ADSR providing direct managerial and scientific research leadership to T, C, MST, and EES Divisions, as well as for a meaningful role in guiding strategic research carried out elsewhere in the Lab, I don’t know what does.
 
Let's remember one of the cardinal truths. Being a good or great researcher DOES NOT make one even a mediocre manager. Technical skill does not translate, directly or indirectly, to an ability to be a good manager. Good managers can be grown but LANL tends to start looking too late.

I still find it amusing that you have to already be line management ( GL or DGL or above ) to be considered for the Directors management training program. Guess what? By then the bad managers are already doing damage to their organizations. And history shows that the opinion of a manager's peers ( other group and division leaders, etc ) is a better metric of whether they will be promoted or given more responsibility than is an honest appraisal of their performance for their organization.
 
It's interesting that the Director has launched his program to mold new leaders. I can just see him and Cobb sitting around and saying "Let's make managers in our image."

Then Cobb asks, "What about our horns?"

The Director replies, "Them too, damnit! By the way, we need a plan to get rid of those honest and productive managers who are already in place that question what we are doing."

Cobb answers back, "We can stay with the horn theme even here. Let's call the plan SCAPEGOATING. Hades knows that's the way you got me down here."

Amid smoke and thunder, the gathered assembly of the SET all said, "Amen, amen, amen" except the ones that only lip-synched the reply.
 
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