Sunday, March 27, 2005
LANL staff made too much money
I personally heard a conversation from Roberto Archuleta (Sr. Industrial Specialist) in the presence of Tyler Przybylek when both were at the high school auditorium on 1/16/05. In response to concerns from a man about LANL losing large numbers of good technical staff, Archuleta said that LANL staff made too much money and referred to a page in a binder showing an average salary of $84K for LANL compared to the rest of UC averaging $66K. Where the numbers came from (and whether correct) or if it was an “apples vs. oranges” issue, I don’t know. But I do know Archuleta expressed a strong sense of indignation about LANL salaries. I contend that the bottom line is: You get what you pay for. However, far more important, he displayed DOE’s arrogance to the man where he paused to formulate a question and said he was “trying to think how to ask it without insulting him (the man) or LANL”. He then said, “Where do all these people think they can go? I mean, there are only so many teaching positions at UNM.” The man replied that some will go to academia, some to the private sector, and some to entrepreneurial opportunities. The point is, DOE despises LANL salaries and benefits and truly believes that they have people held captive. Overhearing this conversation made it clear that DOE/NNSA has no concern for LANL’s employees or technical capability supporting national security issues; it’s all about the money, vindictiveness during a window of opportunity, control, and power. Do NOT believe the rhetoric to the contrary. Stay informed, identify your options, and be rapidly decisive to do what’s best for you, your loved ones, and your career when the time is appropriate for your circumstances.
As to getting what you pay for, the Director makes about $350k. A private-sector executive running a similar-sized corporation would knock down 10 or more times that figure.
Faculty salaries at UC can be determined easily from the AAUP Bulletin. I haven't had a chance to do that., but once again I will bet good money that our TSM salaries are lower than the 12-month average for UC faculty.
We certainly did not get what we paid for. Let's ask for a refund.
(1) On average, the TSM salaries for starting PhDs and post doc conversions at LANL is 10 percent higher than elsewhere in the UC system.
(2) On average, the TSM salaries for mid-career PhDs (15 years experience) at LANL is 12 percent lower than elsewhere in the UC system.
(3) On average, the TSM salaries for late-career PhDs (20 plus years experience) at LANL is 19 percent lower than elsewhere in the UC system.
(4) If group leaders are considered to be equivalent to Department heads in the UC system, then they are underpaid by about 5 percent at LANL.
(5) If the Director is considered equivalent to University president, or a business unit in BNI, then the director is underpaid by almost 50% (I know, even a dollar would be too high a price to pay for the present director!).
It is difficult to make comparisons for Tech series. The Admin series shows salaries within a few percent across the board with UC. If you only do a LANL-LLNL comparison, LANL is about 9 percent behind LLNL.
Unfortunately, NNSA will always view contractors as a waste of money because they get paid less. However, they have other benefits, and in fact, the jobs are so different the comparison is worthless.
Did you really think it was about the science or national security?
Last 2 sentences of your post sum up what most of the people I deal with have been doing since the beginning of this. Whether they read the bolg or not.
The cost of a top post-doc is market driven. I have seen some of thebest go elsewhere because I could come up with a couple thousand bucks. Los Alamos might have a great reputation for science but for a young person life is more that a great reputation. The fact is that we are an hour away from civilization (when it's not snowing.)
Statements from the post-docs covered:
Does the county ever accomplish anything (the person from California went on about how the paper showed lots of studies but no action)?
Does this county have any plan to modernize from the 1950's? [Only the canidate who grew up in a mining town in Northwestern New Mexico didnt ask this in one shape or form.]
Does the 20k increase in pay make up for the remoteness of life? How hard is it to commute from Albuquerque?
Do people whine so much (yes this came from several people..)? Most seemed to wonder why people wrote so many letter complaining about following security. I then realized that most of these people were born just before Reagan came into office and seemed to think the place was filled with unrepentant hippies. (That was from the guy from california with dreadlocks)
Why would I care about a pension? No one does pension these days... [A corrolary was can I not have a pension but have the money in a 401K so I can leave anytime I want?]
How close are the majority of the public school employees coming to retirement.. and is the schools really that good or are people just coasting to retirement like people here were.
To be honest, I felt set up by a bunch of CBS reporters...
It might be worthy to note that I found 40-70% higher salaries in industry, e.g. $140-180k. I am presently in at $174k in NY. So the salaries are not unreasonable, just disproportionate to the region.