Saturday, May 21, 2005

It has just been a few days since the RFP was released

From Anonymous:

It has just been a few days since the RFP was released, and already we see the news media beginning to pick up on the relative quality of the LM team vs. the UC team, as evidenced by the the recent AP story by Heather Clark, and the Albuquerque Tribune piece by Sue Vorenberg. On top of that, there is now open discussion of the scapegoating of LANL employees during the shutdown in which UC's handling of events is being exposed. I suspect that, while the competition probably will not turn into a route against UC/, it will become increasingly obvious that a changing of the guard is inevitable. UC and LM will be evaluated on their records, and not on their promises; LM has a much sturdier platform upon which to build their claim for the rights to run LANL than does UC.

As the DOE folks are surely aware, the only bidder with a history of balancing management and science, and cooperating with the DOE, is LM/Sandia. At the lower levels of the DOE, UC is well known as a real stinker. If the bid goes to UC/Bechtel it will be a political award, which is of course possible.
During the last contract renewal the DOE LAAO folks wanted to compete the contract, but they lost out to the DOE/ALOO folks, perhaps because Jim Jackson was very tight with Bruce Twining of DOE; too tight. My friends at DOE/ALOO complained that when they tried to do their job, oversight of LANL, a phone call, Jackson to Twining, would result. Too bad it wasn't competed then. Could have avoided a lot of screw ups between then and now.
Sandia does this dance pretty well, and I always enjoyed working with them. They are competent and helpful. And they do good science.
If only Domenici keeps his mitts of the selection process... yeah, dream on.
Sandia is balancing management with lack of science, LANL good science with bad management. No good solution in perspective, but science is waaaay more important, so good luck for UC.
and all new hires get screwed out of the benefits, so it hardly matters is UC gets the contract.
If the new contractor makes a portable pension plan, new employees will be happy.

Why were LANL people so upset over the contract change?? Because they worked for one entity for 20 -35 years, yet had no control over the value of their pension.

Fast forward to 2005 with portable accounts, where each employee knows what they have and where exactly it is invested. If you switch jobs after 5 or 10 years- the pension just goes along with you.

Personally, I'd rather have an account like that which Arnold and DOE can't touch...
Only one problem with "portable accounts" -- i.e. 401k, 403b or the new kind 45something else. They depend on the employee's ability to invest, the quality of investment instruments provided by management, and whether or not the company puts enough additional money into the account to make up for what would have gone in a pension fund. The other problem with "portable accounts" is that you can't count on your benefits lasting as long as you do. Once you use up your money, you are out of luck.
If you have a UC defined benefit program, you get your benefit for the rest of your life, no matter how much you put in. You don't have to understand investment. And you can still have a "portable account" on the side if you can afford to save.
Yes, Arnold would like to get his mits on the UC pension fund, but there are a lot of laws to prevent that. DOE also tried to get it, and failed.
I agree that in modern corporations you can't count on defined benefits programs any more because the courts allow them to dip into the company to dip into the pension fund if the company goes under, which seems to happen a lot these days.
It appears that whoever goes to work for the new contractor will be forced to have a much worse pension plan than they have now, but why on earth would they prefer that situation?
It is a Win for the company and a Lose for the employee. That should make us happy? I don't think so.
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