Saturday, April 30, 2005

Why does Nanos continue to be protected?

From Anonymous:


This comment is from the "See You Later" post further down on the blog. I think it raises a good question: Why does Nanos continue to be protected?

"The troubling aspect of this whole scenario at LANL seems to be that the director has been allowed to "punish" employees for absolutely ANY kind of reason.And no one interfered. Dr. Tinka Gammel's very public account of her lawsuit against him as her next-door neighbor should make all of us pause and wonder about GPN's troubling behavior.Dr. Gammel is a brave woman. She refused to be bullied by the director, even though he is her next-door neighbor. She has to see her tormentor on a regular basis.

How many people knew the REAL STORY about that incident?

Nanos has been allowed by DOE, our delegation, NNSA and UC to continue his tirades against innocent employees even though they knew that GPN himself had broken many of LANL's rules.Who has been covering up for him?

Betcha' there are some REAL interesting stories out there re GPN that have not yet seen the light of day? Who will be brave enough to share them?

I would be interested in knowing what the psychologists at UC think of the director's unusual behavior toward ANYONE who did not agree with him on EVERYTHING!

Why is this man still being protected so much and for what reason? Is he a national treasure?

Our previous directors may have not been perfect, but I do believe they loved their community and respected the people who worked for them. No one ever accused them of covering up their mistakes!"

Doug, thanks for your bravery, too, in allowing the whole world to "feel our pain." The Blog and its archives allow all readers to reference any accusations made. The stories are fascinating and are posted by some talented writers who speak for the silent majority.
>> I would be interested in knowing what the psychologists at UC think of the director's unusual behavior toward ANYONE who did not agree with him on EVERYTHING!<<

Actually, and though I have some training in psychology, I am not a psychologist, I have read several articles indicating that top management behavior is often like that of Nanos. Screaming is common and so is firing on impulse. Bill Gates and his top guys certainly have the reputation for being screamers.
Recent research has shown that top management in large corporations has a high percentage of sociopaths - not a cheery thought.
Of course, pressure can turn even nice people into screamers. Hard to say what turned Nanos into a screamer. I have heard of screaming sessions by John Browne and Sig Hecker wasn't the nicest guy in the world, either, remember of rif of '95?
To 4/30/2005 01:06:43 PM: Strange, I was arround both Sig Hecker and John Browne very often, in good times and bad. I never heard them scream. John Browne in particular would stand before Senate and House committees taking one verbal assault after another while always remaining a gentleman. He steadfastly defended and protected the staff back in Los Alamos. I remember one particular exchange with Senator Mike Murkowski that dealt with the NEST hard-drive case. Senator Murkowski, asked, "Who is responsbile?" Not one of the senior DOE or NNSA official spoke a word although much of the problem lay at their feet. To the best of my memory now filtered through time, John stood and said, "I am responsible. I have outstanding employees working for me back in Los Alamos. Perhaps I did not train or resource them properly but I am responsible." That day, John Browne established his leadership credentials with me. It was a sad day when he left.
The laser reaction was horrible. The defense of the PI for what he did is horrible. The firing of the people in the chain of command was probably warranted given the fact that no one was walking around and taking people to task for not wearing protective eye ware, like they did in my college freshman chemistry class where I was finally told if I didn't wear mine I would not be allowed to take the class. Had the management of C division taken safety as seriously as my college chemistry lab department, the accident, the student's serious injury and Mr. Creamers firing could have been averted.
The shutdown of the entire laboratory was ridiculous. Punishing the whole for the sins of a few is always a bad idea. My guess as to why it was done is for drama. It was Nanos's attempt to show he was doing things about safety and security in spite of evidence to the contrary. It worked for a while. He was able to transfer blame from himself to the employees, but after employees began to speak out, it became clear that top management had to bear at least some responsibility for not having the proper systems in place.
Brad Holian was correct that LANL has a fine safety record for what was reported. Unfortunately, a lot is not reported, both of accidents and near misses in both safety and security. Behavioral based safety and the STOP program exist to punish those who have and/or report accidents, not to remove hazards from the environment. The result no one wants to report accidents at LANL, just as happened at DOW where the STOP program started.
Even Nanos' own chief-of-staff had a serious cut on the ad building stair well and bled all over the place. In fact, I believe she was on her way to the "butthead" talk. She arranged to be taken to the emergency room at the hospital, rather than to Occupational Health as required by LANL. A janitor was called to clean up the blood. Fortunately the janitor was smart enough to know that blood required special clean-up techniques and called the proper authorities preventing any more people from being exposed. How can one trust a director who allows his staff to supress safety reports. If the truth came out, I suspect we would learn that LANL has a lot more accidents than we know about.
On the other hand, the current movement is to more accident suppression, not less.
# posted by Anonymous : 4/30/2005 12:13:22 PM
Why wasn't this incident made public by the director's office?

Was anyone fired over this? Why did GPN's CHIEF-OF-STAFF go to the LA Medical Center instead of to Occupational Medicine? What did this chief-of-staff fear? Why?
# posted by Anonymous : 4/30/2005 01:43:50 PM
This incident is one of those that occurred after the shutdown, giving the Director's Directorate one of the worst levels of unsafe conduct in the entire Laboratory. The pressures of the shutdown caused the accident rate of LANL to go UP, rather than DOWN, as one might have naively suspected.

Doug should post the post mortem that appeared in Physics Today--two letters from Lab spokespersons, answered by Brad Holian. Just about all that needs be said.
The original post says that it bets that there are some real Pete Nanos stories out there. Well I bet you there are, most stories will be about a man who has uncompromising standards. Who treated other (perhaps more mature organizations) with dignity and respect.

The stories will talk about a man who took an oath to defend and protect his country and apparently still believes that he must still honor that oath.

I am shaken by the immaturity and savagery on this blog. Good luck guys, I suspect that even if Pete leaves you, the new guy may have to enforce the same tough standards.

Maybe it's time to just shut it down and move everything down the road to Sandia.

A Pete Nanos Fan
Hey, Fan. If you like Nanos that much you can have him. I hear he's available.
10:51 poster.

Have you ever meet Pete Nanos in
person? Well I have. I know some of
Petes classmates from Princeton.
I can assure Nanos has some form
of personality disorder. He has no
problems lying. He does care about
other people. By definition he does care about the United States. Often
people like him get into positions
of power. Nanos lied about the
points in Physics Today. Nanos lied
to me personaly. I know one when
I see one. Nanos is like Bill Clinton but without the charm.
In meeting after meeting he
refuses to address the questions.
A great learder will get the people
to believe in him. He is not a
great learder. He said that we where
great in a weird mailed letter.
A month latter he says we have a culture problem. What is up with
that? He says we are unsafe. Yet we
are the best lab in the DOE system.

I am tired of seeing emails by people who do not know what they are
talking about. I know know people in
Sandia. A very good place indeed.
We however at Los Alamos are as
good if not better than Sandia.
It is unfair really to compare
the places as the mission
is different. By the way I had
offers at both places I simply
thought LANL was far better
in terms of science which it is.
I you do not believe this just ask
somebody at Sandia. They do far less
science. Please back your statements up with facts.
Folks, all I can say is thank God for the information super highway! We are reading you in the far edges of the globe.

Keep it open, keep it fair, but keep it going.
4/30 6:39 said:

"Behavioral based safety and the STOP program exist to punish those who have and/or report accidents, not to remove hazards from the environment. The result no one wants to report accidents at LANL, just as happened at DOW where the STOP program started."

Real behavioral based safety, which STOP as implemented at LANL is NOT, is precisely designed to protect those reporting problems.

It was implemented in CMR in the '90's, and despite considerable skepticism it worked due to the dedication of a few championed by Nelson Stalnaker.

He was devoted to ensuring that safety observations, made by line workers of line workers, could not be attributed to individuals by management, which is true to the BST-designed variant of the system.

It worked. Safety statistics showed improvement and made a believer out of me.

STOP is a top-down, authoritarian control system designed to ensure that management knows who is identifying safety issues. It is self-limiting in that line workers cannot feel safe reporting issues and observations because they don't know how the attribution of such an observation can be used and abused. In an environment such as ours which is devoid of trust for management, this is a deal-breaker.

Unfortunately for CMR the BST-safety system was usurped and transformed by NMT when it took over the building, and it seems to have slowly faded away to be replaced again by our primitive, expensive and less-effective compliance-culture.

Nelson retired shortly after this.
Browne was not blameless. During the hard drive incident he made scapegoats of the people in charge, imposing various punishments. These were all overturned on appeal, but it took a long time.
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