Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Blood is on her hands

From Anonymous:

The continuing thread discussing both this message [Sue Seestrom's latest communicatations to ADWP] and the previous message from Seestrom amply demonstrate the impact that Nanos is having on the entire management chain. He is poisonous, his flaws and failures are dragging everyone down with them. The Blog is no exception. The attacks on otherwise good and decent people are driven by the overwhelmingly negative actions and resulting emotions that are running rampant at the Lab. Everything and anything that supports the Director is viewed as propaganda and a de-facto lie. This is because the Director almost completely lacks credibility within the rank-and-file of LANL.

Sue’s situation is particularly problematic because the DX-3 debacle happened in her directorate, under her watch. Thus, she is a co-conspirator in the destruction of a number of people’s lives and careers. When the opportunity arose to make amends for the over-reaction to the never-missing-CREM, Sue stood silent. It seems that she should have resigned rather than continue to take part in the continuing lie. Of course, Sue is just one of many who have de-facto allowed this situation to continue, but she’s the one who had line authority over DX-3. Blood is on her hands, that’s where some of the anger expressed in the Blog comes from. In my opinion the failure of Pete to admit fault in his actions when the facts became known was the final straw for him. Until that time Pete was just some incompetent ex-admiral who got in way over his head. After that he became a malicious force that threatens the existence of this institution. The truth probably is that he had already crossed the line a long time before. In looking at the actions taken during the stand-down, Pete understood fully how wrong he was early on and then engaged in a cover-up. The inflated “charges” against staff that resulting in their terminations was the tool used to cover-up his manifest incompetence.

A manager must choose to either follow their people or follow Pete. At the level of group leader, my experience is that most choose their staff, at the division level most choose duplicity and at the AD level and above it is Pete. This may simply reflect with whom the managers spend their time. The result is the corrosion of the coherence and honesty institution-wide. If one interacts with staff, supporting Pete is the path towards the loss of the Staff’s respect and being the laughing stock of those you are supposed to “lead”. At the AD level one has to tow the line, or Pete will take your head off (metaphorically of course!). The Division level is stuck in the middle.

The problem is that every time the management implements one of Pete’s edicts their credibility takes a hit. Each manager has a finite amount of credibility. You either earn it or spend it. Pete has spent all of his, he is in a severe deficit and he is borrowing it from the management chain. The ADs are out and now he’s tapping into the Division Office’s reserves. When he’s done there, it’s the group leaders. If this happens the wheels will come off of the entire institution.

The thing I don’t know is whether anyone in the upper part of the management chain actually realizes the depth of the crisis. If we could actually have an honest discussion with them, what would we hear?

Don't forget: Sue is one of those unfortunates who works "at the will" of the director. Meaning, Nanos can fire her without cause.

But still, as the post states, "A manager must choose to either follow their people or follow Pete." There are not too many other fine lines to be tread when you are a LANL AD in today's lab.
Best written post in the entire short history of the blog. It has the undeniable ring of truth.
Hey, for $250k/yr, Pete could call me names that only my ex-wife ever called me.
Hey kids, you need to hurry up and get all the complaining out of your system. Big changes on the horizon.
Are the big changes good, Daddy? Are they, are they? Tell me.
This is a great posting, well thought out and well written. It is filled, even between the lines, with that deep pathos we all are experiencing as we see Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (aka LANL) become the Los Alamos Fixit Shop.
I have seen Sue in action a few times since she became ADWP. Spineless is the word that I would use to describe her.
I think the author of this thread is very accurate. I have seen good people corrupted by a bad system. The higher in the food chain the harder to resist, especially with the "serves at the will" policy. The effect penetrates all the way to group leaders, however, as often the choice is between protecting one person or the entire group. When the upper management is corrupt, no one is safe.
The decision to remain in management -- division wide or higher is a decision to support a corrupt institution. Yes, Pete, could fire those who speak out, but if managers simply "go back to research" as many have done, they are safe. Many of these managers, like Sue, could take that option and keep their morals. A decision to remain in management under these circumstances is a sign that the big bucks of upper management salary have taken over one's conscience. I have even seen some group leaders step down recently.
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