Thursday, March 17, 2005

One more reason not to be a manager...

From Anonymous:

Director’s Instruction

Number 05-004


___________________________________________________________________________________________


Title: Modification, AM 202, Salary Determination and Review, for Reassigned TSM Managers

Summary:

This instruction modifies AM 202, Salary Determination and Review. Specifically, this instruction replaces paragraph 202.28 regarding salary for reassigned TSM managers. The salary of TSMs reassigned from management positions will be adjusted to reflect the new duties and peer group.

Applicability:

This instruction applies to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Technical Staff Members (TSMs) who are LANL managers. A manager is defined as a group level manager and above, and deputies. See Governance, Policies and Procedures Manual. Managers in structured series are not affected by this instruction, but are covered in AM 202.26. This instruction does not apply to employees who are not managers.

Justification:

The purpose of this instruction is to bring LANL practice into alignment with standard business practices. TSM managers are paid a salary commensurate with their management responsibilities. When those responsibilities are relinquished, either voluntarily or involuntarily, there is no business basis to retain pay linked to the former responsibilities. As with all other TSM job assignments, salary in the new position must be appropriate for the new job duties and the new peer group.

Instruction:

This Director's Instruction modifies AM 202.28, which applies to employees in TSM management positions. Effective 180 days from the issuance of this Director's Instruction, paragraph 202.28, November 12, 1993, is rescinded and replaced with the following.

When a TSM manager is reassigned to a non-management or lower-level management position on either a voluntary or involuntary basis, that individual's salary will be adjusted to reflect the new job duties and peer group. The decision to reassign the manager is not subject to the complaint procedure set forth in AM 111, Complaint Resolution. However, whether the amount of the new salary has been appropriately set according to the new job duties and peer group will be subject to the complaint procedure set forth in AM 111, unless

the new position is covered by the UC-Managed DOE National Laboratories Policy on At Will Upper Management Personnel. In the latter event, the new salary level will be subject to the University of California Resolution of Concerns for At Will Upper Management Personnel policy.

Contact: Staff Relations, HR-SR, 667-8730




Comments:
Exactly what is your point? Do you believe that there is a problem with having salary commensurate with responsibilities or in a manager being able to reassign staff? What is wrong with aligning LANL policy with standard business practices that are employed and accepted by most well run businesses? You may be letting your entitlement mentality show again. The hazards of being held accountable, that you seem to fear, can be easily avoided by choosing to stay in lower level positions. No doubt you have made that choice.
 
Re: 2:41 Post

Touché - well stated. It’s time that the silent majorities start to be heard in this forum instead of being censored because we disagree with the small handful of C&D level scientists that have failed to mature or become professionals

Troller Extrodinare
 
Re: 2:41 & 3:56 posts

AMEN!!!!!

Troller in Training
 
BE CAREFUL! You getting dangerously close to censorship by Doug. Remember the reason for this forum is to complain, bitch and whine about how unfair life is at LANL. By not displaying those behaviors you are violating the spirit of this blog.
 
Oh Oh Oh… it’s so much fun to wind up the cowboys and watch them snivel and cry about how unfair life is.

If you think this blog is entertaining, imagine what will happen when the hammer falls and the next lab management team expects the malcontents to focus on work and obtaining results.

What a concept…

Troller at large
 
I think managers returning to staff work should return to staff pay. Seems fair to me!

However, I also think Doug is doing a great job moderating this blog. He does need to remove posts that are simply unprofessional, and sometimes just mean. There are contrary views expressed on this blog and that is healthy.

Good job Doug!
 
It's about time! Ex-managers ought to get staff pay! I'd gladly take a pay cut when I quit this thankless, micromanaged Team Leader job -- except TL's aren't managers. Gee! I hope this instruction covers Team Leaders too.

And Doug, I don't know you, and you may have been characterized as a "whiner" by some sys admin types, but I thank you for providing this forum...now only if eveyone could just get serious about discussing issues...
 
To 7:49 PM. Thank you! The rewards of running this blog far outweigh the occasional minor irritation caused by the odd pain-in-the-ass immature troll poster.

--Doug
 
This actually seems fair to me. Prior to this if a manager left a management position his pay didn't change but he did not receive any pay increases until the salaries of regular staff increased over the years to match his salary. This was nice for the ex-manager but hardly fair. The pay should match the job requirements and the responsibilities that go with the job.
 
Troller at Large wrote: "If you think this blog is entertaining, imagine what will happen when the hammer falls and the next lab management team expects the malcontents to focus on work and obtaining results."

Hmmmm. What would happen to this blog if management told us to focus on work and obtaining results (and actually got out of the way and permitted us to do so)? I suspect the blog would largely dry up. The "malcontents" are malcontented over not being allowed to focus on their work, and over being prevented from obtaining results by reams of illogical,counterproductive, and contradictory rules and bureaucracy.

Remember the core reason for the existence of this blog and its group of "malcontents": Nanos shut down the lab for six months and wouldn't allow us to do our work.

I suppose if management ever did realize that the real mission of this laboratory is to do science and produce results for the taxpayers, the "trollers at large" could then start their own blog, to complain about how the scientists were actually doing science (how dare they?!), and how there really should be more bureaucracy and less science at LANL.

(Sorry to encourage trolls by responding to them, but the public at large needs to understand the fundamental nature of the discontent being expressed here. We're not asking for more money, or more time off, or a reduction in our workloads. We're asking to be allowed to do the jobs we signed on to do, to be allowed to excel, and for the red tape to be cut so we can proceed. )
 
Though it pains me to say so (because that would mean admitting Nanos has actually made at least one fair policy), this is a prudent, fair, and much needed improvement.
 
Now UC just needs to turn their attention to the insanely high salaries of upper management. I guarantee you that no one in a government job at a secondary or tertiary management tier is worth $250,000 per year. Why not cut that salary in half and hire another TSM to actually support the mission of the laboratory instead of hindering it (like most AD level managers)?

To all those who are considering a bid on the LANL contract:

THERE ARE WAY TOO MANY OVER PAID MANAGERS AT LANL.

If anyone looks into the stats of managers at LANL, I'm confident they will find a seriously top-heavy hierarchal management structure. Go to UPTE.ORG and analyze the 2005 salary spreadsheet (as I've done) if you are curious.
 
This little rule change, while obvious, is long overdue. Perhaps we could institute another rule that managers should earn their promotions through demonstrated expertise in the areas they claim to manage. Who knows, we might just get some managers who are actual leaders too!? At that point, the sky is the limit. Scott Watson
 
While I don't have a problem with the new policy, I think it's worth considering where the old policy came from and why it was there. I believe (but I'm not sure) that it dates back to the Agnew era. Agnew had a policy that no manager including himself, should hold a position for longer than 10 years. The rationale for this was that after 10 years of management, a manager would have largely lost his technical skills. This is a serious problem, particularly at the group level where the manager needs to have good technical judgement. Consequently, letting a manager keep his salary reduced the "disincentive" for returning to research and fostered a more collegial atmosphere about rotating group leader positions. At least that was the theory.
Given that the present management (particularly Nanos and Tarantino) has never done any technical work and apparently doesn't have any technical skills, it isn't hard to understand why they would discount the above argument. While I doubt that this new policy will have a major impact on the lab (there always seems to be an abundance of people who want to manage), it will tend to make middle managers more entrenched in their positions.
 
AM 202 would be acceptable policy if the manager actually make substantially more than the echelons immediately below them. The fact is that many managers make less than some of their more senior TSMs. This was not a problem under previous policy because the policy was set purposely to encourage rotation in and out of management into research and possibly back. This rotation is not as prevalent today as it was in the past. This reality is due to many factors. First among them is the fact that research opportunities are fewer and the selection process is more foraml, complex and drawn out than in the past with a heavy senior manager involvement. As a result stepping down from management into a challenging research area is difficult. The relative small difference in salaries means that managers are not paid commensurate with the increasing legal and operational responsibilities in their job description.

Finally, the comments on the high salaries at Los Alamos must have been made by persons who never had to attract the top notch PhD graduates that we should have working on the Nation's nuclear weapons programs. To believe that we could "cut a salary in two and hire two TSMs" is a suggestion made in ignorance. If followed, the suggestion would recreate the same mediocrity evident in other organizations that the suggestor might be familiar with.
 
First off. I think this is great. Also I think it is only the second good thing Nanos ever did. Getting rid of
9/80 was the other. Other than that he is insane and has done a huge amount of damage to the US.
Now to the 3:56 guy who keeps positing about C and D scienetist. What's up with you? Name a single C or D student with a Ph.d at LANL. Name one! Let us take the guy Brad Holian. Ok now it must be true that he was a D student in HS. That is why he went to Cal-Tech for is b.s degree. You know Cal-Tech only takes D students. Oh yeah so I guess after being a D student he went on to UC Berkeley for his Ph.d . Well you know what UCB is like. Anyway after that he becaome a Fellow of the American Physical Society. You know an honor only 1% of the members can get and of course D students. Also
un-refereed journals like Nature,
Science, PRL and of course Physics
Today publish his work. As I said before name one Ph.d at LANL who is a C or D student. I do not think you can. Remember, a lot of us, and I do mean a lot can get jobs elswhere. What kind of support will LANL have when everyone good is gone? I already know people are now talking about leaving and in about 1-2 years they will be gone. LANL will go from the very top DOE lab to the bottom. When you say C and D students you better know what you are talking about.
 
There are more trolls in this posting that trolls under bridges in fairy tales. In fairy tales, they hide under bridges to show their ugliness, to extort, and to impede progress. Mention Los Alamos salaries and they seem to multiply like rabbits having no natural predators. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
 
Notice how effective the trolls have been. Seventeen comments have been posted here and not one has been posted on the important orignal posting following this one. I believe the hearing tomorrow morning is more important for this blog that the changes in AM 202.
 
Several, including first post, address salary vs responsibility. What did you read?
 
To the 10:22 poster who wrote

"To believe that we could 'cut a salary in two and hire two TSMs' is a suggestion made in ignorance. "

Actually what I said was exactly as follows:

"Why not cut that salary in half and hire another TSM..."

First of all, this was a facetious comment, but it is still VERY viable. To cut a $250,000 salary ($750,000 with taxes) in half and hire 'another' TSM would mean that the original manager would get paid $125,000 ($375,000 with taxes) and there would be another $125,000 ($375,000 with taxes) available to hire the other TSM. To hire a 'top notch' post doc only requires around $70,000 for even for a fellowship. $95,000 for an Oppenheimer. To convert a post-doc to a staff member means starting them out at around $105,000 max. All of these scenarios are well below the extra $125,000. No TSM is hired straight out of college or a post-doc at more than $125,000, so my comment is, in fact, viable.

Before you quote another poster, please take the time to scroll 3 inches higher to the original post and make sure you are not misreading or misquoting them. That will save valuable blog time and space. Also, if you are not going to read someone's post carefully, please especially refrain from using charged words such as "ignorance".
 
Actually the above comment was for the 10:11pm poster. I sure wish people would start using names, handles, or some other consistent sort of identifier...
 
As a retired LANL manager, I can state that there are two sides to this story. Having come up thru the ranks, to GL, my original GL salary was well below the salaries of my peer GLs. Over time, I caught up. Had I gone back to TSM, a few years of no raises would have adjusted my salary while compensating for those years when I was behind the curve. So, I suggest that the previous policy was fair.

Now, it is true that when managers are hired from outside the lab, they usually come in at salaries above those of their peers. So, this new policy might be reasonable for them.

Since this policy was initiated by the Admiral, one must assume malicious intent.
 
I think this policy corrects a long-standing problem at the Laboratory, in which, occasionally, managers who left management and became TSMs retained relatively high salaries. I know of a particular instance that occurred several years ago in P Division in which a DDL left management on his own volition and became a TSM in a P Div group, yet retained a substantially higher salary than his peers in that group. I was never in that group, but I worked with several from that group, and more than once a group member expressed frustration at the situation.

It's certainly true, especially at the group level, that GL and DGLs sometimes make less than a few TSMs, but generally they get compensated quite a bit more than other group members, and their compensation should be adusted to reflect new responsiblities should they leave management.
 
To DX TSM Poster 5:40

You are right, I should avoid the use of words that add impulse and not light to an argument. "Ignorance" is one of those unnecessary words. I'll try to use a better choice of words in the future.

You highlight our real labor cost problem. This problem will be exaggerated by obvious and latent stand down costs and overruns on such efforts as the Enterprise Project. It will continue to grow faster than our meager COLA salary increase. The problem is the overhead rate that sits on all us.
 
If used correctly, this was a boondoggle to the group. The Incremental TSM salary allocation to the group was proportional to the total TSM salary - so the group that has a past-manager got a higher increment, that they could have used to improve the salaries of all the other TSMs.
 
Actually, in this new policy, Nanos is doing something long needed at LANL -- everyone can be right sometimes. It is simply good business practice to pay people for work they are doing and not what they used to do.
And the truth is that the ex-managers I have known continued to receive average, at least, TSM raises after they stepped down, in spite of folklore to the contrary.
Now, here is another concept that some will find upsetting. Why should a manager be guaranteed a salary higher than the highest paid TSM under his/her supervision. Shouldn't we put a higher priority on science than on management? It might make quite a bit of sense to put the goodies where our goals are -- science. Then, if a person wants to go into management, it will be a person who likes management, not one who is simply trying to make more money.
The current system places management at a premium. Yet LANL has continued to have disastrous management from the day one.
Of course, the other obvious, but for LANL, revolutionary idea, would be to hold managers accountable for measurable productivity in their domains. That would require figuring out what was supposed to be happening and what was not supposed to be happening and quantifying it, then measuring it. Whereas I am no fan of the private sector, this is something it does well. It holds managers accountable for the productivity of its employees.
 
Actually, in this new policy, Nanos is doing something long needed at LANL -- everyone can be right sometimes. It is simply good business practice to pay people for work they are doing and not what they used to do.
And the truth is that the ex-managers I have known continued to receive average, at least, TSM raises after they stepped down, in spite of folklore to the contrary.
Now, here is another concept that some will find upsetting. Why should a manager be guaranteed a salary higher than the highest paid TSM under his/her supervision. Shouldn't we put a higher priority on science than on management? It might make quite a bit of sense to put the goodies where our goals are -- science. Then, if a person wants to go into management, it will be a person who likes management, not one who is simply trying to make more money.
The current system places management at a premium. Yet LANL has continued to have disastrous management for over 20 years that I can vouch for.
Of course, the other obvious, but for LANL, revolutionary idea, would be to hold managers accountable for measurable productivity under their supervision. That would require figuring out what was supposed to be happening and what was not supposed to be happening and quantifying it, then measuring it. Whereas I am no fan of the private sector, this is something it does well. It holds managers accountable for the productivity of its employees.
 
Become a fan of the private sector. Embrass it. After all, it is, on the way.
 
5:14 PM, I'm absolutely certain you meant "embrace", but the connotations of the word "embarrass" (so similar to your misspelling) are terrific, too!

We TSMs were always told it was good to have a past manager's high salary with associated higher raise money in our peer group, because that ex-manager's raise could be distributed across the rest of the peer group. In actuality, they received the same percentage as everyone else and their salary just grew disproportionately higher compared to the rest of the peer group. So it only works if the Group Leader is willing to confront that ex-manager about his/her raises.

What is most concerning to me here is the statement, "TSMs... salary ... must be appropriate for the new job duties and the new peer group. "

This is the first I am aware that salary is set per peer group. Up to now, it seems as if Job Content, Performance Score, years since degree and highest degree received determined our salaries, but this states differently. In addition, the official raise paper we receive each year gives a minimum and maximum salary, which has nothing to do with our peer group or Job Duties, but rather our years since degree, regardless of how much experience was accumulated during those years.

By the way, anyone else notice that the published TSM rates did not change from last year? That is to say, the FY04 rates are the exact same as the FY05 rates? So even if we receive only COLA raises, by not increasing the published rates by the same quantity, our official annual salary paper makes it seem as if we are advancing upwards towards the higher salary range, when in fact we are not.

I've wondered at LANL's motive in doing this, or did the comparative salary studies truly show we are all overpaid? And if that was the reasoning for not adjusting the published rates by the DOE's approved raise percent, as always done in the past?

Anybody have any thoughts/comments on this?
 
The main problem with ex-division level managers is the groups can't afford them. They cost too much for small programs. (1.5 TSM) Plus the lab tends to put them on various committees so they are gone a lot. If you are returning to science, your pay should go back to that of a highly compensated 'regular' TSM. That way you keep some of the benefit of being a past manager, but are affordable.
------------------------
The system can be played a lot of ways. 'The group that has a past-manager got a higher increment, that they could have used to improve the salaries of all the other TSMs'
This is several years back, but in reality P division office noticed and took the 'extra' salary raises itself- didn't leave it in the group.
 
Uncommented in this blog is that the policy in question did not comply with UC policy, or the policy in use at LLNL and LBNL; yet UC claims to run LANL. In fact many of the LANL policies (see those dated in 1993) were done by Jackson and Menlove (with McCabe's help) without even telling UC what they were doing. The UC finally "blessed" the policy changes about 1996, when it was too late (and legally problematic) to do anything else.
LLNL and LBNL use "old" UC policy, as they did not go with the HRMI policy changes in 1996. LANL uses local, unapproved" policy, whatever Jackson and Menlove wanted; done with no input from employees (a UC requirement) or the UC management.
AM 202 should be just the beginning; if UC is running LANL they should use UC policy, as LLNL and LBNL do, not Jackson/Menlove policy.
So, LANL employees should press for this realignment. It would look good to embrace UC, and they'd have better rights. Jackson/Menlove were interested in only their rights; the right to do whatever they wished to the employees; and the employees didn't even notice; too busy worrying about their pensions I guess.
 
The poster at 8:17 AM is right on the mark. Los Alamos does not operates under UC policy. If it did we would have been spared the injustices hammered out and that continue to be hammered out in darkness on the fourth floor of TA-3/SM-4.
 
Yes, this change is more fair. But how about fixing the other salary inequities at the lab? I'm talking about lack of money for raises when someone gets a new degree, and the problem of new hires coming in much higher than long-term staff. There are, of course, other problems too. Welch helped with some of them, but many (e.g. Ph.D. TSMs) were excluded. Most managers are too confrontation-phobic to use salary management instead of raise management, so inequities linger.
 
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