Monday, February 21, 2005


From Anonymous:

There have been some updates to the website for the DOE/LANL contract:

Better link, slightly. The new stuff in under "new" not the "admenments " section.
Ignore previous comment, hot link in post works better, sorry for the error.
I think that this is a much MORE important issue than whether Nanos is a meanie or not. I think it is just easier to say 'J'accuse' against him than look at the changes the RFP has in them.

Section 1 Increase of management fee. If nobody is wanting to bid on this site for the amount of money UC is getting currently.. but having to multiply it by about 10... no wonder UC has had problems.

Section 7 A “stand alone” pension plan for the LANL site will be required of the successful offeror no matter who it is. EG say goodbye to UC benefits even if UC wins.

Section 8 SEB proposes revising the Section H Workforce Transition clause (which requires the Contractor to offer employment to all employees except Senior Management) to specify that DOE expects the Contractor to subsequently exercise appropriate managerial judgment regarding employee retention and job assignments. In addition, for current employees who do not transfer to the successor contractor and either retire or “freeze” their account in UCRP, the successor contractor will determine whether they should be hired as new employees or not. It makes current Nanos hiring plan look sweet to me.

Personally reading through the items that various companies have had as issues with the RFP makes the last year look like it was a vacation.

About the only ray of sunshine is that the contract period for benefits it now about 180 days versus 60 days. However it does make it feel like a mass exodus of talent will be going no matter what
Looks like our benefits are still prohibited from being any more than 5% better than average.

NNSA has heard our concerns, and has chosen to ignore them.

The following is a bit hard to interpret, but I think what they're saying is that new employees will be penalized in order to grandfather in our existing benefits while keeping the per capita benefit within that "5% of average" limit.

Sounds like a brilliant recruiting strategy.

From the new white paper on retirement benefits:

"The SEB’s Website includes a benefits/value (ben/val) study NNSA had prepared for the two weapons laboratories managed and operated by UC. The ben/val study indicates that the benefits at LANL exceed those of the comparator group and that the principal contributor to the "richness" of the benefits is the UCRP. The draft RFP also includes a provision at Section H-36(e), standard in all NNSA contracts, except those with UC, which requires the contractor to conduct a ben/val study every two years.

This is a common mechanism for appropriate (since NNSA reimburses virtually all the expense) government participation in the management of benefits. However, the SEB recognizes the need to alleviate employee fears/concerns. Therefore, the SEB will revise Section H-36(e)(2)(ii) to read:

When net benefit value and/or per capita cost exceed the comparator group by more than 5 percent, submit corrective action plans, when requested by the Contracting Officer, to achieve a net benefit value and per capita cost not to exceed the comparator group by more than 5 percent. The plan shall include a timeline as to when the Contractor can bring the benefits to within 5% of the comparator group without impacting the substantially equivalent defined benefits for employees who transferred from the predecessor contractor.

In addition, H-36(f)(9) will be revised to indicate that with respect to employees who transfer from UCRP to the LANL site specific plan the successor contractor shall consider any changes to UCRP as it administers the site specific plan."
Look at this particular section in the latest DOE RFP:


One firm sought caps on the contractor’s liability similar to the caps
under the current contract and those included in the RFP for the
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

6. There will be no caps on liability. <============ !!!


Why does LBL get a liability cap in their RFP, but LANL gets none?

This is a very big deal!

Doesn't this lack of a liability cap put any winning contractor at
huge risks in running an operation like Los Alamos?

What reputable contractor in their right mind would be willing to
take on such huge risks?

The open liability clause would seem to point the contract in the direction
of the sleazier outfits, i.e., those who don't really care about huge
liabilities because they have no intention of ever honoring them if they
ever come to pass. Are we now destined to be run under some type of
liability deflecting "corporate shell" scheme?

 Create a professional and respectful environment in which employees carrying out these support functions can thrive while managing the Laboratory in a safe, secure, reliable and environmentally sound manner.

This provision sounds great but do we have to work in a tyranical environment with incompetent and abusive senior leadership until the new contract is awarded?
One persons professional and respectful is anothers tyrannical. You didnt ask who was to respect whom?
I notice this 105% figure is still in the RFP with some words about phasing it in. According to the Hewitt study ( ) our current benefits are at 195% so I guess DOE wants the benefits cut in half. I had not seen this Hewitt report before. Puts things into context.
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