Friday, May 06, 2005

Director Kuckuck could benefit from considering the following advice

From Anonymous:

Ok, Nanos is gone. Hurray. Now what? There are a slew of problems that he left behind. They range from personnel to procedural. From policy, to personality. I suggest that Director Kuckuck could benefit from considering the following advice:

1. Listen to what staff are saying on this blog. A lot of people have gone to a lot of trouble to identify many of the problems with LANL, and what some of the solutions to those problems are. You might want to look at the running list of wasteful activities,

2. Take a good, hard critical look at the remaining top level managers at LANL. Nanos was not the only problem manager at LANL.

3. Start mending fences. The previous director, Nanos, did a lot of damage to LANL staff, and to LANL customers.

4. Take a good hard look at the LANL PR department, and their policies of censorship and deceit. They aren't fooling anyone, but they are continuing to do damage to LANL's credibility.

5. Use common sense. Exercise respect in dealing with LANL staff. Your predecessor did not, an look where it got him.

If Director Kuckuck attempts to do the above, he will find LANL staff working with him, and that will be a healthy change for LANL.

Subject: Message to All Employees -- Welcome Kookuck, Farewell Buttheads!

Dear Cowboys and Cowgirls:

Since becoming Director of Los Alamos National Laboratory two years ago, we have all been overcome by the tremendous amount of adversity that I have created and nurtured. Issues with our business systems, security, and safety forced all of you to take an inward look at how I do my job. I am not proud of how the Laboratory has responded. Not only have we not addressed those issues, but we have emerged from the suspension as a weaker Laboratory-with our core weapons program deliverables seriously at risk, and a non-existent business plan for science in place for the future. Based on deteriorated communications and rapport with the Laboratory's external customers, I have been receiving very nasty feedback which indicates that we were on the wrong path going backward.

It is the future that I want to address with you today, however, because I believe it is now time for my path and the Laboratory's path to diverge. Effective May 15, 2005, I will be stepping out and up as the Laboratory's Director to pursue a better opportunity with the Department of Defense in Washington, DC. I was brought into my current position by the University of California to be an agent of change within the organization and I have fulfilled that tasking. I take great pride that during my tenure you further screwed up our business systems and processes, lost any control of all our accountable classified electronic removable media, and pretended to pursue a comprehensive safety hazard identification process to protect each other. Additionally, I believe our science and our national security programs are now on a weaker footing. These are significant screw-ups and you should all be very proud of me in leading the charge.

In the coming months as the competition to run the Laboratory comes to a conclusion, I am very confident that the University will lose based on the foundation I have laid. We are now considered to be a Laboratory without either great science, nor strong business and operations capabilities. In many cases we are now leaders in screw-ups within the Department of Energy complex, and that gives the University a distinct disadvantage in the competition process. The University of California is the most powerful educational institution in this country and I believe they will bid to keep Los Alamos but they will lose.

Finally, I do want to thank each and every one of you for your hard work and dedication to our national defense, despite my lack of leadership. It has been a distinct pleasure to batter and berate each and every one of you and I will always look back fondly at my cowboy life in Los Alamos. On behalf of myself and my family, thank you buttheads for all your scrutiny ~~ it's helped me get any even better job with DOD in Washington.

The swamp is now drained.
UC has been playing revolving Directors for decades, without ever making any real changes in their mismanagement of LANL. Waste and corruption are the name of the game. The accounting system is deliberatly obscured to prevent congress or any other auditors from figuring out where the money goes. The business part of LANL is so badly mismanaged that few competent employees remain.

Safety has been a system of "blame the victim" at least since the Carter administraton. Despite recurrent shows of stand down for safety days, etc., over the years, the bottom line has always been blaming the victims. For example, a dead guard was excused because the security force "had to" train by pointing guns at each other. A brain dead scientist was blamed for not being a trained fork lift operator, when the real problem was management's failure to provide adequate storage for needed materials. LANL management always blames anyone but itself.

Sure, this Director is gone, but has anything changed? LOL.
Advice for Kuckuck:
1. Respect science by respecting the scientist. Your predecessor didn't
"get it".

2. Restore the 9/80. Why make the workforce even grumpier during this
period of uncertainty?

3. Ditto on the 9:54 post: Revamp CER -- "The Trusted Voice of the
Laboratory". Their blatant censorship of the Readers Forum pushed
employees from dialog with the Laboratory to blogging it.

4. Continue to monitor for pay discrepancies. The famous "Welch" pay raises helped balance some obvious discrimination, but it will creep back in unless you demand management accountability and get rid of favoritism.
What difference will make to have one more director at the lab?
Would that finish with the nepotism and favoritism that eventually gave place to the incompetence?
If the new direction really wants to make a difference, start by taking a look to the hiring procedures and promotions inside the lab.
Just in: Nanos responds to blog-suggestions.
This looks like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Kuckuck is not a new face; he is part of the problem. Since January 2003 he has been "Senior Advisor" to the VP for Lab Management, then Bruce Darling, now Bob Foley. The folks that annointed, appointed, and supported Admiral Pete.
Under Kuckuck's tenure as the first head of the Lab Admin Office (1992-1994) LANL rewrote the personnel policies to support their "Director Knows Best" view of the world, thus giving the lie to LANL using UC policies. They don't; its a lie. The LAO has been a corrupt, destructive influence at LANL ever since; and it all began with Kuckuck.
They sure know how to pick em...
finish the contractor conversions that were promised and started a year ago or the next Lab black eye may be a massive class action law suit
Some people contributing to the blog need to get a grip. Sheesh, someone is already bitching about Nanos's replacement. You people need to get a life and perhaps its best if you move on if you don't like it here. I am going to get on with the program and do the best job I can and just suck it up and move ahead. I think this blog needs to be closed and we need to move on. This is truly not n our best interests to keep whining and airing all our dirty laundry.
What a bunch of whiners. !!! You are all exceptionally gifted individuals, who have chosen to devote your genius credentials to protecting our free, democratic society. You are the creme-de-la-creme, who should know better than to engage in such petty squabbles. It looks like your leader, Dougie boy, is a career whistle-blower looking for a final bonus payoff. Out here in the hinterlands, we respect your decision to forego higher pay in private industry to serve your country. Thank you. The decision to serve your country implies a decision to toe the line and follow orders, however distasteful. Now If the orders are unlawful, we have a duty to resist and refuse; but since that does not appear to be the case here, and in the interests of national security I'm going with Nanos over dougie. Such an infantile message referring to Buttheads, Cowboys, Cowirls, and the whole sophmoric tone discredits anyone associated with realistic and constructive criticism. If you need an example of sophisticated sarcarsm, please see Jonathan Swift. dave fulford in nflorida
True enough, Butthead, Cowboy, and "Cowgirl"(implied) are sophomoric ways to address your coworkers. All of those are words used by Nanos himself. If you side with him you are siding with the individual who initiated the sophomoric tenor. You are obviously oblivious to sarcasm. If you would like to view a truly infantile and embarrasing rant I suggest that you view the Directors now famous speech of July 14, 2004. His true colors are there for all to view.
don't forget his use of BASTARD in an all-hands meeting. The man was an egomaniac and treated everyone like subordinates on his own personal submarine... Even in his final and pathetic all-hands meeting this week he pegged half the electricians as incompetents. good riddance.
Hey 5:14. I think a lot of stuff that
Nanos did is indeed unlawfull. One of the
problems people had is that Nanos was so
dishonest that people saw right through it.
He never gave facts, ever. I think he
should be brought up on charges.

Nanos should have given the facts that
LANL is the most secure lab in the DOE
complex. It is the safest lab in the DOE
complex and we do the most science. All
these are facts and either he should have
known them or he hid them. He always
said he does not care about numbers.
Nanos created a lot of cynicism at the Lab, but we need to withhold judgement until Kuckuck actually takes office. Once Nanos' destructive influence is removed, morale becomes our responsibility.
Dear Dr. Kuckkuck,

Thank you for taking on what will undoubtedly will be your biggest challenge - to being to restore the nation's respect for LANL and to being to restore the self worth of all LANL employees.

LANL staff deserves management who does not call them buttheads and cowboys and who does not threaten them. LANL staff deserves management who does not attack them in front of Congress. LANL staff deserves management who considers the staff's work to be one of the most important aspects of our country's security. LANL staff deserves management who is willing to deal with the bad news as well as the good news and who actually wants to hear the bad news because management knows that not everything is rosy.

Are there problems at LANL? Of course. There are problems in every large organization. Are there large egos at LANL? Of course. There are a number of higly trained, independent staff, as there are in many large organizations, who have been taught to question, not accept. Do the egos imapct the way some folks do their jobs? Of course. As in any large organization, some folks are bullies, some are stubborn, some are mean and harass others, some are argumentative, and some don't like to follow any rules.

What should the director expect from the employees? Honesty, hardwork, the ability to let him settle in to do his job, and the understanding that maybe his hands are tied in some situations.

What do LANL employees expect from their director? To be treated honestly, to be encouraged to work hard, to have their hard work acknowledged, to hear the director say, "I was wrong" if necessary, and to know that the director will defend them to Congress and against unreasonable demands by DOE/NNSA. We want a director who can say, "This is what I told DOE/NNSA about xyz, and this is what they decided. They are wrong, and this is why, but we have to live with it."

Posters to the blog have listed the following as their biggest problems: the work week schedule, uncertainty over their accumulated UC benefits, the multilple levels of incompetent management, the mountains of paperwork required for every task, deteriorating facilities, and the top down approach to safety and security rather than engaging those doing the work in developing safe and secure procedures.

There has also been a running list of wasteful LANL activities including the Enterprise project, SUP, CCN, nitpicking DOE auditors, the treatment of foreign nationals, outrageous equipment purchases, the JIT contracts, computer hardware surcharges that probably help fund CCN (although no one really knows for sure), the never ending auditing of purchase cards, tremendous overhead rates (which probably support multiple levels of incompetent management), the length of time to get foreign travel approved, KSL and its inherent costs, lack of doing business locally (no matter what Marquez' stooges tell you), the ridiculous rules for using LANL retirees (who might be coming back to work as soon as a contract that does not inclue UC is let), etc.

However, I contend that the biggest problem at LANL is fear. Anyone who makes any kind of decision that could cause LANL embarrassment must document, document, document. People have piles of paper in their offices to prove that what they did was right. Fear permeates purchasing, computer security, laboratory experiments, etc. And when people work in a state of fear, they become ill, they make mistakes, they become hazards rather than valuable employees.

Your biggest challenge, Dr. Kuckkuck is to begin to return LANL to a place where people can make the decisions they have to make and know that their management will back them up, not attack them in front of Congress. Can this all be done in the next few months? No way because it took a long time to get to this point, However, if you play your cards right, reach out to the staff, treat them as adults, not teenagers, I will guarantee that there will be a real turnaround and you will be proud to be our director.
Best Post for the month. Let us work hard.
Better yet, help us get back to work.
Hopefully LANL got rid of Nanos soon enough that the damage can be repaired. At Pantex, Denny Ruddy instituted a reign of terror that is still crippling the ability to get work done. He was run off (thank God!), but not soon enough. There used to be trust in upper management at Pantex, before Ruddy. If you were doing your best, trying your hardest to accomplish the mission, and made an honest mistake, you might receive a reprimand or be set back on course, but you would not be severely punished. BWXT and Denny Ruddy changed all that -- very similar to Pistol Pete Nanos. The slightest innocent mistake or perceived problem was seized upon by Denny Ruddy as an opportunity to brutalize people, demoting or even firing them without recourse or even bothering to hear the whole story. We could never figure out if he was suffering from "short man's disease" (he's 5'5"), was just plain stupid, was a sadistic opportunist gladly exported from some other godforsaken plant, or some combination of all three. The new management at Pantex is trying hard to restore initiative and trust in the workforce, but it is a long way back. I hope LANL doesn't suffer the same fate and gets back to work accomplishing their important mission soon.
Could you say the Laboratory has been "SUBMARINED?"
For the 7:02 post. Yes! Exactly. Hopefully, the new management will listen for a change. From what I hear on the street, I have reason to believe that they will!
Spring is finally here. Let us plant and work hard together all summer. Perhaps in the fall both LANL and UC will reap something truly usefull in contract form from what we sow. The blog has served a valuable purpose. Perhaps now is the time to hit the fields.
Dear Dr. Kuckuck:

Please realize that the blog is not representative of the majority of the Laboratory. Do the best you can with what you have. Most of us will support your genuine desire to do a good job. The majority of people at LANL are not the arrongant whiners who spend their time here complaining about everything they can think of.
Dear Dr. Kuckuck:

The 5/6/2005 10:49:49 PM has it wrong. This blog IS representative of the majority of LANL employees. We do not agree on all things, but the vast majority do agree that Nanos did tremendous damage to LANL and UC and had to go.

While it is convenient to characterize those who are concerned about their pensions as whinners, those pensions are a condition of employment. If you work for 25 years in the nuclear weapons program the likelihood is that you do not have a lot of stuff that you can put on your resume if you choose to seek employment elsewhere.

The vast majority of LANL employees do work safely. If you check the LANL safety record, you will find that we are among the best of government laboratories. Comparisions to industry are difficult because of the diversity of work that is done at LANL.

The vast majority of LANL employees feel that many of the activities of the standdown were not very productive. Indeed, ergonomic injuries increased significantly during this period.
I sent the following email to Pete just after the news was officially out about the "missing" CREM. Given recent events, I think that things might have turned out differently if Pete had followed my advice. I offer it here in the hopes that it might help Kuckuck in some way.

Subject: Opportunity
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 18:23:08 -0700

"I will apologize in Macy's window at high noon on a Saturday if I've got it wrong." - Pete Nanos, 2004/07/14 LANL All-Hands meeting

Pete, now that the information about the missing CREM is finally out, you have a great opportunity. You said you would apologize if you were wrong, so do it. We don't need to hear yet another guy from Washington telling us how you were correct in shutting down the lab. We do need to have a leader who admits his mistakes and moves on.

I don't think a trip to Macy's is important, but I think an All-Hands meeting would be good. Here's what you should do:

* Tell us you're sorry. Tell us that you realize that we have a very difficult job here, and that the vast majority of the people that work here are hard-working, conscientious, safety- and security-minded people. Remind us that people, even people that are trying very hard, make mistakes. Tell us that you were trying very hard, but that you made a mistake. Mean what you say.

* Ask for everyone's cooperation in the continuing fight to save the UC contract. Praise everyone for the work that has been done in getting the lab back open. Praise the "shared fate" ethic that has become even stronger since we've been attacked by outside forces. Apologize for being part of the attacks.

* Throw us a bone of some sort to help morale and show us you're serious. There has been nothing but bad news coming out of your office for a while -- give us some good news. The 9/80 schedule has been talked about a lot, and you're apparently studying it, so that might be an option. But it doesn't have to be that -- just give us some good news.

This is a great opportunity: you could make this into a turn-around point for the lab. A little honesty, a little humility, a lot of praise, and a little good news are what is needed now.

Think about it.
On the 9/80:
A prompt return to 9/80 would be an easy victory for Director Kuckuck and a signaled return to normalcy. However, UCOP -- read that Admiral "Sly" Bob Foley-- has vetoed a return to the 9/80 for the foreseeable future. You'll hear about this brain infarction next week.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?