Tuesday, May 31, 2005

My experience with LANL and Internal Audit was horrible

From Anonymous:

I am a former lab employee (Internal Audit Group Leader until July 2004).
I also spent seven years working as the director of internal audit for one
of Bechtel's major DOE sites. I would strongly advise against selecting
the UC/Bechtel team. While Bechtel is a solid reputable company, they have
named an unscrupulous and unethical manager to become the new director of
internal audit if they win the bid. My experience with LANL and Internal
Audit was horrible. LANL management feel the normal government rules for
contractors do not apply to them. Time and again I was admonished for
pointing out obvious violations of the rules and regulations and was
finally let go when I pointing out that the millions of dollars being spent
for free lunches for employees was illegal. LANL liked to call meetings
from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM so they could call it a "business lunch", when the
only business was a free lunch. LANL management did not want anyone
challenging their right to spend taxpayer money any way they wanted. The
entire audit department of seven had quite,save one incompetent lady
waiting for her cushy retirement.

I think LANL under UC was a disgrace and do not see Bechtel as having the
will to change that behaviour.

Glad you're gone. Have you found a home at the DOE IG yet?
The cutting comment seems uncalled for. Far too much of that goes on within this blog. Who is the "unscrupulous and unethical manager" mentioned in the post, so we can make our own evaluation?
Does anyone with common sense actually believe the Lab is spending "millions" of dollars for lunches...this guy belongs with the other sensationalist in the media. How many scientist would trade a precious hour of their time just for a free lunch. If they are participating in a "working lunch" then you can believe they are working. I am glad you are gone too!
To anonymous at 6/1/2005 12:06:37 AM: The story about money spent on the lunches is true! The rules on this have been tightened up in the past year and it is no longer so easy to do this. For meals, the policy now requires that the meeting last at least five hours.

BUT, you can view this in one of two ways:
1. People are scheduling meetings at lunch time just to get free lunches.

2. People are scheduling meetings at lunch time because that is the only time available. Providing an $8 lunch is reasonable compensation (a bargain in fact) for an hour of an exempt employee's time. A non-exempt employee would have to be paid for the time.
To 6/1/2005 06:29:42 AM, I am fully aware of the rules "tightened" on lunches. My point is the poster said "millions" which would indicate at least TWO (i.e., plural) million. Divide your $2M by $8 and you have 250,000 lunches. That is nearly a thousand lunches served every work day of the year at the Lab. I stand by my comment that this is sensationalism. BTW, your statement about this being, not only reasonable compensation but a bargain for staff time (if true), is an excellent point.
I think that the "millions" represents the total of ALL refreshment costs at LANL. That would include coffee at colloquiums, the afore-mentioned meeting lunches, lunches served at formal all-day training sessions (e.g., non-LANL people being trained on MCNPX), etc.
I have to disagree with the original poster. I've only seen "free lunches" given when a meeting is lasting all (or most of the) day. Given a tight and time restricted agenda it certainly makes sense to have a lunch brought it so attendees can either continue the meeting through lunch or not leave the area so the meeting can start up on time after lunch. As for scheduling a meeting over lunch, I've never seen it done here and, even if it was, the reply above stating that it's a bargain for the taxpayer is a good one. One thing LANL ought to look at, though, is the charges for lunches, coffee, etc. from Aramark. They want $100 for a retirement party cake. We usually buy one from Smiths for $35.
True- I took the 100 dollars alloted for a retirement party to the local store and bought tons of food. It was an awful lot of work on my own time, though. And on top of that I had to pay the sales tax myself.

I'm not sure I would do it again...
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