Wednesday, April 27, 2005

It may not be official yet

From Anonymous:

It may not be official yet, and God knows why they are trying to keep it secret still, but Glenn Mara is now taking care of business in the director's office. When the time comes, either Friday May 13 (oh, that would be a good day) or more likely Monday May 16 UC will announce that Kuckuck will be the new, interim director. I can even hear how the announcement will be pitched.

"Our departed former director Nanos performed courageously during the difficult times of the past year. We are here to finish the wonderful work he started." Or some such drivel.

Judging from the total lack of courage the University of California shown to date, I agree with you that platitudes for Nanos likely will flow like the River Styx at flood stage. However, we could still be surprised and I certain hope that will be the case. On the other hand, if such platitudes are used, it will calibrate the UC management as deceitful and disingenuous hypocrites. If Nanos is sent off with such platitudes, I for one will abandon the reservoir of allegiance I still hold for the University of California and will campaign vigorously with all the energy and intellect that I possess to help Lockheed Martin and C. Paul Robinson gain the contract. I will not work for liars anymore, two years is enough.
I was thinking along similar lines. In fact, I find myself actually hoping that we get a load of crap from Mara/Kuckuck at inauguration time, because that will make it clear to everybody outside of LANL that UC is under-qualified to win the contract.

As if it isn't already clear enough, but this would give some added insurance for LM being in good stead.
I am amazed at what you think LM will bring to your life -- if you are in the science divisions, kiss your work good buy. We have read the wonderful stories on what LM is at Sandia -- they simply are not true for many, many things that we have LANL. UC is paid 8 million a year to manage LANL. UC plows more than half of that back into research. Guess what???? You get the management you pay for. BUT UC has pushed very hard for issues like academic freedom, has stood by LANL scientists when they challenge the administration (remember alumium tubing and Iraq?), and has always stressed science above all else. I know that this post is going to get dozens of replys saying that UC is a bunch of cowards, and that they have done nothing for me, etc. However, please consider:

(1) Nanos pulled the trigger on the shut down, and
began a process that nearly killed the lab. NO ONE can question his down right stupidity, and his incredible hatefulness. However, once that tirgger was pulled, and the terrible path journey was started, there actually was little that could be done. Congressional haters were watching and waiting, zealous regulators were on the site whacking away. Actions could cause even more damage.

(2) Nanos is bully, both to his staff and to others (he is famous for screwing LANL out of homeland security by demanding money directly to lanl without scope). This has put UC in a terrible bind - they are not a for profit company, and removal of the director when he is telling congress what losers lanl workers are would reinforce the congressional hounds.

(3) What good can come out of UC saying that Nanos is a toad on May 13? It would make us feel a little better in a basal way. However, it would also make UC liable for the stand down, and would probably result in a push to make the lab government own and operated, with only a pit mission (by the way, the LM poster that says that DP customer will decide if lanl is a pit facility not UC is completely wrong. A strong lanl leadership function will SET the course for DP).

Be Happy that the Nanos era is closed. Don't spend your emotion wishing that someone would whip him.
Indeed! I think that we are screwed no matter what happens! UC crapped it up. Lock-mart is a scientific desert. Northop-Grumman is really bad.
Retirement is our only hope!
No one expects a public thrashing of Nanos although that would be appropriate. Just letting him slink off like a chewed-on boar crawling out of a swamp brimming with pyrannahs would be more than adequate. What the UC cannot do if it expects to have credibility is to praise a person who has destroyed the reputations and futures of the University of California and its Los Alamos employees.
Dear Director Kuckuck,

As one of your first acts, please direct my Division and Deputy Division Leaders to assume the responsibilities for which they were hired and are being paid and start running our division office again. Direct them to remove the agressive, abusive, nanos-like chief of staff who has assumed
more and more authority while the two of you have ignored the abuse of your division members.
Dear 9:01,
It sounds like you might be talking about
T-division! N'estce pas?
"Be Happy that the Nanos era is closed. Don't spend your emotion wishing that someone would whip him." Exactly, 6:53. Certain formulaic words will be said when he leaves. I will not even notice them. It'll just be "blah blah blah NANOS IS GONE blah blah blah" -- and then the healing begins.

Incidentally, on something that keeps coming up in thread after thread: why the vitriol toward chiefs of staff? I know that there are some stinkers out there, but in the division I'm in, the chief of staff is the one sane person in the division office, a voice of reason and stability in one of the most chaotic organizations I've ever seen. I'd far rather see the DL flushed and the CoS kept. Shouldn't we simply be pushing to keep the good managers and oust the bad ones, regardless of the title of their positions?
From - 4/27/2005 09:30:37 PM:
"Shouldn't we simply be pushing to keep the good managers and oust the bad ones, regardless of the title of their positions?"

Yes, push out the bad, promote the good, consolidate management positions, reduce management head counts, reduce management overhead costs and suddenly find tens-of-millions of funny-munny with which to fund some science...or use it as pork if the new contractor reports to stockholders.
Dear 9:30:03,

If the shoe fits, ...
UC continues to practice a policy of cover-up, rather than openness regarding Nanos' not-so-secret departure. Sorry, I can't respect that, it's just more of the same. Different director, same policy.
I work in procurement and approved a purchase for a going away plaque for Nanos.

"For leadership exhibited above and beyond the call of duty ..."

Date is May 13, 2005.
7:15 AM,

That's disgusting.
...and this is the 357th version of that rumor...

What will you do when it turns out not to be true, like all the other times (leaving in September, then December, ...)?
4/28 7:15--

That actually seems oddly appropriate.

His duty didn't call for severely damaging the Laboratory, but he went above and beyond by doing so.

I sure hope his roumored departure pan out.

It's been very bad. I'm choosing to be optomistic about the future.
7:20 -

You can do what you like. I've already got the bubbly on ice; come the evening of May 16th I'm popping the cork, one way or the other.
Dear 9:30:37,

Needing a Division Office Chief of Staff is an indication that there is too much paperwork pushed down to the division level which results in a higher overhead and an indication that the Division staff themselves are not being used effectively.

The Chief of Staff position is an open invitation to the person who is clever enough first to convince those hiring him/her that the COS's job is to absorb much of the onerous paperwork currently pushed down to the group level but as time passes actually pushes more paperwork down to justify the job.

Unchecked a COS can decide that part of the job is management of the entire division admin staff both at the group and division level. This could result in penalizing a group admin whom a group leader wants to promote if the group leader has openly disagreed with the COS. This conflicts with LANL policy that group support staff work for the group leader, not the Division COS.

Folks in this position make themselves so indispensible to the Division Leader that the DL either becomes reluctant to curb the COS or is actually pleased that the COS is "doing the dirty work" so the COS is then able to wield more and more power. Ultimately, some COS's can involve themselves in technical decisions, and because of the egos involved, they may become heavy handed, agressive, and abusive (Nanos).

A couple of months ago, someone posted a description of the way a division COS was impacting computer support in the poster's division. That could have been my division where the situation has gone from bad to worse because now a very able sys admin is leaving for another job. Who's to say if this departure was caused by the environment fostered by this COS?

Discussions with the staff produce surprise and unhappiness with the decision the DL has allowed the COS to make. However, as in the rest of LANL, fear of crossing this very powerful person keeps honest folks from speaking out, except anonymously in the blog.
This is off the original thread- Someone (Harvard Business school??) did a study on exponential growth of big organizations. One driver was that as people feel overworked - they each want an assistant to do the pieces that they don't want to do. Hence the birth of the Chief of Staff at LANL-

I work in a really good division with a talented DL- and our Chief of Staff is expensive and relatively worthless...
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