Saturday, May 14, 2005

Otherwise, different director, same LANL

From a comment on the


I predict Kuckuck will lay words on us like, "we have had a difficult year, but now it is time to put that behind us, and look to the future", or some such. True enough, of course, but impossible without closure on a number of the raw, gaping wounds that remain from Nanos' interregnum. Like how Todd Kaupilla was unfairly fired over a security incident that turned out to be an institutional bookkeeping procedural flaw, for example. Or addressing the fact of the large numbers of staff who have left because of Nanos' unwarranted shutdown. Ditto the customers who have left. Or the mountains of unnecessary paperwork procedures Nanos instituted, like LIRs, IWDs, STOP training, etc. Or the incompetent staff he gathered around him.

If he mentions even one word on any of the above abysmal legacies of Nanos' short, but all too-long tenure, then I will sit up and begin to pay attention. Otherwise, different director, same LANL.

Let's hold all applause till the end. If it's still the "same old, same old" - no applause.
Kuckuck is a Gerry Ford - a caretaker until the real director comes along. He can do nothing that would imply that UC management has bungled this job badly, because he's a UC Lifer. When LANL is turned over to whoever wins the competition, he goes back the UCOP. He can't do anything that would imply that UC (or his boss, Dynes) has wrecked this institution.
Nanos may be gone but his clones continue to blame and scapegoat employees. Just this week a Division Leader, a retired officer from the Nuclear Navy, punished members of his division to safeguard his own job and appease the politicians in NNSA and Congress.

The real "culture" problem is within management. LANL will be self-limited until it cleans up the inept and punative management "culture" currently in place. Sooner would be better....
Division leadership does not empower one to punish subordinates for being human and neither is it a license to hunt scapegoat heads to hang the dark wall of NNSA's den. Division leaders are supposed to lead and not push or else they would be called division pushers. I believe that most division leaders still understand this except for the few clones of Nanos that have "ring-knocked" their way into this Laboratory but haven't a clue as to what this place is all about. One thing this place definitely is not is a nuclear submarine.
I've been wondering: if UC was really interested in winning the contract, why did they put in a short-timer I'm-going-to-retire-in-a-few-months placeholder for director. Why didn't they put in a heavyweight? I can only suggest two answers that explain this: 1) incompetence, and 2) I guess I could only come up with one explanation after all.
They can't find a heavyweight. Managing this lab under the current framework of regulations and media/congressional scrutiny is next to impossible!
LANL is not a surface warship either!
It won't be too long into the talk before we know which way he'll be going. I'm anticipating two or three platitudes followed by an essentially empty presentation, at least with regards to Kuckuck addressing any of the problems created by Nanos. As a previous poster commented, why should he? He's a short-timer.

Predicted platitudes: "We're all in this together." "Time to put the past behind us and look to the future." "We managers love you, because you staff are incredibly valuable."
I disagree about the platitudes. I think Kuckuck/UC will revert to the Nanos approach of trying to scare us into "compliance". I expect Kuckuck to say something like "This is our last hurrah. Either we toe the line; write those LIRs and IWDS, excel at that STOP training, or DOE will shut us down."

Or some such variant.

Now ask me how much respect I have for UC.
To 5/14/2005 06:40:46 PM and 5/14/2005 09:41:58 PM, I am just curious, you each have made hypothetical statements from opposite view points. I am wondering, in all sincerity, what would each of you propose he should say (i.e., what would you say, given the recent management catastrophe, if you were now appointed Director)? I honestly don't know what I would say, however, I am interested in your answers.
I'm the one who expects platitudes. Asking me what Kuckuck should say is irrelevant, because I am not a good company man. I say what I think, not what the company tells me what to say. If it were me, I would stand up in front of the LANL staff and say, "UC made a horrible mistake in hiring Nanos, and now we wish to fix some of the problems he caused."

I know, however, that this will never happen. I've been around the block too many times to expect anything more elegant than "cover your ass" from a good UC company man.
will be interesting to see what kuckuck will do with the dead conversion project they got one-third completed.... UC is just begging for a class action lawsuit there and they'll probably get it
Not to mention the lawsuits that Todd Kaupilla's widow and John Horne will be filing. Let's see UC "fix" that. UC has enough money, however they are morally bankrupt at the present time.
yes if UC weighs the possible lawsuits it faces it might just pull out of the competition altogether. It's been one HUGE botch after another and they have NO ONE to blame but themselves and nanos
If Q&A follows the Kuckuck/Foley/Dynes meeting on Monday, does anyone plan
on asking HARD questions this time around? Nanos is not around to bite
any longer, so this may be a good chance to air out some very dirty laundry.
The last Q&A during the Bodman/Domenici meeting was truly pitiful. Start
making your list now. Some questions I'm curious about are:

* How does UC plan to make amends for the death of Todd Kauppila and
the economic destruction of his family? Is this the type of
treatment that the staff can expect in the future from UC as our
next contractor?

* UC gave us Nanos. Is this the type of man you are looking for to
run the lab after you win the new contract?

* Do you have any remorse for hiring Nanos and leaving him in for so long?

Answering questions like these will tell us something about UC and whether
we really want them running LANL in the future. These things cannot just
be "put behind us". We need to know what UC was and is thinking!

Perhaps others can think of some additional questions? This may be our
best (and last) shot at getting some needed answers from UC management.
Let's not blow it this time. We need to hear answers directly from
the top. In particular, those of you who are already planning to retire
have little to fear, so maybe you could help out the staff by placing some
of these hard questions in front of UC. We desperately need to hear
some answers. UC should know that some in the LANL staff are becoming
very disturbed at the idea of UC running this place in the future. We
may decide, for our own good, to not "help them to help us to win the
contract". Or we may simply decide it time to go work some place else.
UC is a lost cause. You'll get no honesty from either Foley or Dynes
on any hard questions. I'm ready to start helping Lockheed in any way
possible to help win the contract. At least with LM we all know who we'll
be getting for our Director - Robinson. He seems like a decent choice for
running this place and is a much better candidate than any one of choices
UC has made during the past 10 years. Lockheed has also been adept at
keeping Sandia out of the media's "bad news" department over the last few
years. LANL needs at least a decade of scandal-free news if it is ever
going to recover from its recent wounds. That will never happen if UC
wins the contract. UC is like the 98 pound weakling who has no idea
how to defend himself from the bullies. I'm tired of working for a place
that is run by cowards.
One question not to ask is: "When are we going to get a day care center?".

If anyone asks that question during this meeting, they deserve scorn from
the whole staff. Please save questions like that for the the lab's next
Director Kuckuck,
What will you do to prevent retaliation against whistleblowers?
I agree with Anonymous : 5/14/2005 11:06:12 PM: We should ask these questions. UC needs to take some heat from the LANL employees for having made a complete mess of things.

I also agree with Anonymous : 5/15/2005 12:09:08 AM: These types of questions are not relavent at this time.
Come on, some of you sound like LM or NG infiltrators, "I'm going to do everything I can to hurt UC." If that is the case then leave now.

The only way LANL will maintain anything close to the value it has to the nation is by remaining affiliated with UC and the scientific/research it is capable of. Any other contractor and you might as well assume it becomes an engineering lab at best. Wake up, if you really feel that way leave and don't harm your fellow lab employees by being ignorant and destructive.

Anyone has the right to ask any question. While some will certainly be more useful. I to am interested in hearing some of the harder questions. But we must realize that any question related to future contract bid positions, anticipated/ongoing litigation or personnel matters is just not going to be answered because of propriety, privacy and legal implications. Some useful areas to probe in my opinion would be: how to resolve the preponderance of paperwork related to safety and security that is useless; what is to become of science related funding and how do we fix the ratio imbalance between support and science; what is to become of G&A rates, LDRD, ...
Anonymous : 5/15/2005 06:49:07 AM is too forgiving of UC. Remember they made much of the mess that we have. They have not be at all willing to defend us. Yes, they did a marvelous job of running the pension plan, but, beyond that, the prestige of the UC system hasn't really helped us.
It seems to me the question to ask is what the Lab will do about the plight of the family of Todd Kaupilla. Most of us believe the stress of the maltreatment Todd recieved hurried, if not caused his untimely death. We will probably have no way to prove that. What is clearly true, however, is that had he not been unfairly fired, he would have had insurance when he passed away. If the Lab believes this is a acceptible way to treat employees, you should all leave, NOW! You would be better off working for Home Depot (or Lowes as I hear there is one in Espanola now).

If Kuckuck won't immediately agree to at least re-evaluate Todd's firing, everyone should call in sick next day and every day until he does. Then again I'm talking about Los Alamos, so I suspect the lemmings to just keep scrambling off the cliff.
An excellent idea! Call in sick every day until there is an apology. It's possible that someone will notice and care but everyone else will welcome an end to complaining about pensions. What vital mission that LANL serves wouldn't be taken up by another lab in this era of shrinking scientific budgets?
Folks, UC will never apologize because that would be admitting that they did something wrong. Their lawyers will never allow that. Expect the usual platitudes, and words like "unfortunate" if there is any response at all.
More likely we'll get more of Domenici and his admiral butt-boy happy talk about "Get over it."
I expect Monday will be a turning point for me. If Kuckuck makes it clear that he is not going to openly address the problems that Nanos caused, then my next stop will be at HR to schedule my retirement interview.
interestingly, Kuckuck has no email address listed.... a real stealth director and a sign of his degree of openness? He's been here for week and no email address.......
question for the new director and foley and dynes..... are you going to finish the conversion project you started a year ago? or will contractors will leaving the hill along with the thousands of retirees in one mass exodus? you boys better have some answers coming up fast unless you think you can replace THOUSANDS of q cleared workers in a week or two
That is interesting, 12:30. Glenn Mara has had a LANL email address for several weeks now.
We have a right to ask UC some very hard questions. They may avoid
answering them. If so, that tells us something about UC. And the
UC-lovers at LANL should stop trying to scare staff with talk of
"anyone but UC will destroy the science". I've got news for poster 6:49.
UC is already well on its way to destroying science at LANL by its actions,
or lack of actions, during the previous year. Do you really enjoy
having a man like Admiral Foley overseeing the operations of UC labs?
I've been thinking about this a lot myself, recently. I'm 54, with not quite 20 years at LANL. If I were to retire now, I could not live off of the retirement; I had planned to work at LANL for at least 5 more years. Up until last year I enjoyed my work and the people that I worked with. Nanos changed that. The work environment is now pretty much completely depressing. Lots of my colleagues have left LANL, some of our customers have withdrawn funding, and I see nothing on the horizon that would lead me to expect any positive, substantive changes coming any time soon.

Therefore, I also will be paying close attention to what Kuckuck says and how he says it. If I am not convinced that he intends to turn LANL around from the destructive course Nanos laid in, then I too will be retiring and going to work elsewhere. I no longer enjoy coming to work here, and I will enjoy it even less if I am convinced that Kuckuck's mandate to to place us in a holding pattern until it is announced who the next contractor will be.

There are many other healthy places where I could go work that will be glad to have my experience and talent, and which are willing to demonstrate this by paying me a good salary and providing me with a work environment that is designed to facilitate my work, not to impede it.
kuckuck has no email on the external web but maybe he does on the internal. will be interesting to check this out tomorrow.
5:15-1:42 is right: Kuckuck doesn't have e-mail yet.

But then, he probably hasn't had a chance to sit down and do the requisite 5 hours of computer based computer security training before he's allowed to use a computer.

I don't think there's a more singularly acute symptom of what's wrong at LANL than having hours of computer based training to do before one is allowed to use a computer.
How depressing - tellpete is still on the internal LANL web page. Are we all supposed to tell him goodbye?

Remember, for those of you who want to email Kuckuck, he will not have a LANL email address until he completes the wonderful online computer security training.
depressing? what about the more than 1,000 contractors who have not been converted despite the ballyhoo from 4th floor politicians. all lies and big empty talk and no action.
Kukuck and the rest of the 4th floor will have less and less to really do and say in the next 4-6 months. The NNSA is putting more management across the canyon in the LASO office to make sure that UC cant give itself a poison pill before the next guy gets the lab.

The problem of course is that the poison pill was delivered by NNSA and Congress a while ago when Secretary Abraham said the contract would be rebid and COngress re-inforced it with Law.

My best take on the whole mess is that the lab will move down to a 200 million dollar cleanup organization in 10 years with most of the work being moved to Sandia and LLNL. People living in Northern New Mexico are going to need to get ready for this "Base Closing" as Senator Wilson wont' have any political clout to keep it open.
I have a question concerning the dead conversion project that was one-third completed, why are so many of those converted now deciding to return to contract position? Do they know something we don't?
I was a contractor for 4 years before I converted to UC. There was a pay increase, but every other change was for the worse. It started with the insanely long wait for HR to do their job and get me an offer letter that my supervisor had agreed on 10 months previously. Don't even get me started on UHC. Be careful what you wish for...
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