Wednesday, April 06, 2005

[I] am equally heartened and dismayed by what I see here

From Anonymous:

(From the post).

I believe that the point of the pair of memoranda between Birely and Nelson was that at least *they* believe that UC's normal or default practice would be to terminate all of it's LANL employees, thus making us inactive members as a matter of course.

The implication is that NNSA/DOE might specifically request or require otherwise. Unless our retirement funds are part of the "package" being offered LockMart-TX or Halliburton or whomever, there is no obvious reason to do anything different than to allow current, vested UC employees to maintain their UCRP status as inactive members.

I am less than 2 years shy of minimum retirement age with over 25 years of service. The projected value of my retirement as a UCRP member is likely to be significantly higher than if it is turned over to another retirement system, particularly a Defined Contribution rather than Defined Benefit type of plan.

I'm all for enlightened self-interest but I often go light on the "self-interest". This time I want to at least be aware of what I am giving up if I let this pass without taking any action.

I am more concerned that a new contractor will do egregious damage to the functioning of the laboratory, that it will truly not return to a place I would want to work at.

As for being unmarketable outside of LANL? I happen to have turned down several job offers this past year and am currently on a sabbatical in lieu of simply quitting and taking another position elsewhere. My frustrations with the standdown and with the general tone of management from the top down drove me to seek some respite, if only partial and only temporary. If I did not like living in New Mexico and did not believe that the Laboratory could be a good place to work again, I would have simply beaten the rush and left.

Like all large institutions, LANL has a distribution of employees. Some might very well be unmarketable elsewhere, some might be buttheads and cowboys (I know my share), some might be whiners and dilletantes (again), but I also know that many are top people in their fields, in high demand, and often quite humble and loyal.

I read and post to this blog infrequently and am equally heartened and dismayed by what I see here at times. I am heartened that there is a place like this for people to vent and to announce new information and to discuss possible issues and things they can do to improve the situation *for everyone*. I am dismayed by the sniping and fear/hate mongering that seems to come up on both sides of the debate.

I am more concerned that a new contractor will do egregious damage to the functioning of the laboratory, that it will truly not return to a place I would want to work at.

You mean as compared to the egregious damage Nanos and UC have done to the functioning to the laboratory?
Yes, even more damage... qualitatively different damage as well.

Does anyone know *why* UC chose Nanos? Did UC choose Nanos or was he given to them by someone else?

I too am frustrated with UC, but bringing in Halliburton (placeholder for corporate greed) will only make us long for "the good old days".

Perhaps we must throw out the baby with the bathwater... but I'd rather we didn't if we have any other choice.
To 5:14 "Does anyone know why UC chose Nanos?" The following instructive answer was provided by an old friend of Los Alamos.

"Supposedly Nanos was programmed to become the director at Livermore until someone with influence strongly protested his appointment there. That someone had known Nanos in his past and for reasons that can't be discussed here nearly exploded upon hearing of the Admiral's imminent appointment. Foley had backed the appointment but was overruled by Dynes, the last time the UC President has shown any backbone.

Foley instead sent Nanos here to Los Alamos after getting a firm endorsement from Linton Brooks. Nanos was temporarily parked in Cobb's office until John Browne was forced to step down. Foley was the henchman there as well. The naval triad was now complete.

Interim Director Nanos called John Browne in and directed him to "retire." Now the first and last acts in the tragedy were complete. Los Alamos, poor Los Alamos, was now the dank harbor for the boatman of the Styx. It was now only a matter of time and circumstance until this Charon's arrogance, incompetence, and bullying would row the world's greatest nuclear weapons laboratory over to the dark side and that voyage to deadly darkness continues. The lighthouse in Berkeley that had been so brilliant in resisting Nanos' appointment to Livermore seemed to have wet its wick. The flame had been extinguished by the yellow flow of cowardice."
"...will only make us long for the good old days" ? You already are longing. But you need to understand, those days are gone FOREVER. Deal with it.
6:31 weaves an interesting conspiracy theory, but it's just that. A theory.
Ok, 8:17. Let's hear the facts of the matter.
The existence of gravity waves is based on theory as well. Experience tells us that things fall down nonetheless. This place is falling down so maybe the whole thing is caused by gravity waves. Personally, I like the 6:31 theory. It's cogent; it's factual where we can know the facts; and it's explains a lot of things.
To 6:31PM Poster

You have made some valid points. Think about it:unless someone is pulling strings backstage, what is the probability of a vice admiral just showing up at LANL to work for Associate Director Don Cobb when he had NO prior experience in threat reduction technologies and programs?

Unless someone is pulling strings backstage what is the probability of that vice admiral being jerked up from a position he held for ONLY A FEW MONTHS and leapfrogging over his immediate boss,Associate Director Don Cobb, into the position of Interim Director?

Unless someone is pulling strings backstage what is the probability of this particular vice admiral being promoted to permanent Director WITHOUT the national search that was the accepted mechanism for previous directors, at least since Norris Badbury?

As Hamlet might have observed, "There is something rotten in Berkely!"
'"...will only make us long for the good old days" ? You already are longing. But you need to understand, those days are gone FOREVER. Deal with it.'

7:45 -
Rereading my post(s) I do not know whom you are addressing this to, me personally or the amalgam of all the many posters to this blog.

My first posts to this blog over a month ago were not anonymous, but rather psuedonymous, having signed up with a Blogger account ( Doug apparently chose to adjust it to an anonymous posting. I went with that since there appeared to only be brazenly self-identified posters and anonymous posters, few if any in-between.

Your "voice" sounds familiar across many posts to this blog, but that might just be similar opinions/styles across several people.

It might help the thread of discussion if at least some of us (regular posters, of whom I might be becoming one about now) used psuedonyms.

Now to the meat of your admonition. I *am* dealing with it. Voicing my concerns here and listening to concerns, ideas and sometimes facts from others here is part of "dealing with it".

At the same time, acknowledgeing that things have changed (drastically) and that we can't go back, etc., doesn't mean giving up on influencing the future... my own personal future or perhaps the larger one shared by the laboratory, the region, the country, even the world. I doubt I will make any big changes in the latter, but I won't pretend to be helpless either.

I wonder why you are even reading or posting here if you are as sure that things are hopeless. Perhaps you like this Brave New World we find ourselves in? It is hard to tell.

I do know several co-workers who seem to welcome Pete's Brave New World, and they are consistently people with huge egos and ambitions who know that a strongly heirarchical, totalitarian structure is good for those willing to present submissively to superiors and dominantly to subordinates. The opportunities for golden parachutes and huge corporate executive salaries would seem to beckon some of our middle and upper management as well.

Psuedonymically Yours,
- BlogBrethe
6:31 PM seems to be confusing Pete Nanos with Ray Juzaitis, who actually was offered the Livermore director job last time the position was open. The Livermore staff protested and killed Ray J's appointment.

I have every expectation that the UC's contract to manage Livermore will be renewed in two years. NNSA thinks that everything is fine at Livermore and won't mess with success.
Ray Juzaitis was the second choice rushed in to replace Nanos who was the preference of Admiral Foley until that choice was nixed as indicated per posting 6:31 PM. Ray had been offered the Livermore job, had accepted it, was in an anteroom awaiting his being introduced to the Livermore staff assembled in the auditorium. The opposition to Ray's appointment certainly involved some of the staff (maybe they would have preferred Nanos; now there's a thought). Teller was fully engaged in the opposition, his last opportunity before his death to shaft someone from Los Alamos, Oppenheimer being the first. President Dynes pulled the appointment while Ray was awaiting his coronation. Ray left -- I suppose through a back door -- and returned to Los Alamos. With the hiring of Nanos and his elevation first to interim and then permanent Director, Ray's life on the job progressively worsened. After much frustration, he accepted a job at Livermore of all places and advised Nanos of his departure date. Nanos immediately appointed Sue Seestrom to replace Ray. (A practitioner of conspiracy theory might possibly conclude that Nanos harbored latent thoughts that Ray had helped engineer his being denied the Livermore appointment but no evidence supports that possibility.) Nanos did, however, direct John Immele to immediately reduce Ray's salary (this was before the newly announced AM-242 rewrite). Nanos took this punitive action so that Ray would enter Livermore at a reduced salary. Livermore and Los Alamos have an agreement that limits raises in such inter-laboratory transfers. John Immele carried out the order (Nanos apparently lacked the courage to do the deed himself). Fortunately, our HR moves so slowly that the paperwork had not been completed before Ray left for Livermore. Sometimes for snails and sluggish bureaucracies engaged in underhanded agendas, slow is a good thing.

This episode is another possible example of how our Director might use administrative processes as tools of revenge (abuse of process). It also provides possible insights into the lack of courage residing in the Office of the President of the University of California.

I am dismayed by what I see here. I am heartened only by the prospect that change might be on the horizon, the one with the rising sun.
Ah yes, the sun rises from Texas.
It's good for people to reflect back the conscience of the many when something is not right. If the world had shouted back at Hitler perhaps history might have been different. When something is wrong, it needs to be corrected--not swept under the rug.
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