Monday, May 23, 2005

The UC Regents will be meeting this Wednesday , May 25

Doug, I found the following information on the UC Regents website:

The UC Regents will be meeting this Wednesday , May 25, to discuss the LANL
RFP and a possible bid on this contract.

You can share concerns or views with the Board by email. Emails received
will be included in the Secretary's report of communications to the Board at
its next regularly scheduled meeting.

Every email will not be responded to individually; however, emails will be
shared with Regents and, when appropriate, forwarded to appropriate
University administrative offices. The address is:


It might be good for LANL/UC employees to let them know about your views on
UC's ineffective management of LANL and suggestions for improving LANL, as
well as any concerns over the RFP, the partnering with Bechtel, loss of UC
benefits under the proposed partnership, and VP Foley's management of LANL.

To the UC Board of Regents:
The talk around town (Los Alamos) is that most employees want UC to retain the contract with another managing partner. The talk around town is, also, that DOE wants to give the contract to someone other than UC.
If that turns out to be the case, we ask that UC, please, remember ALL your loyal employees of 20+ years, not just the "staff members," when you decide how to portion out pension proceeds and medical insurance options at retirement.
The technical people have worked proudly for UC/LANL over these many years, realizing how privileged we are to have jobs with your generous benefits.
If, unfortunately, UC doesn't retain the contract, please offer to ALL your employees the same benefits.
A "three and three" retirement package would leave DOE with what it may deserve: the need to recruit hundreds, maybe thousands of new people to fulfill their "vision" of what LANL should be in the future.
Thank you.
and I think the manager (whether UC or other) is going to face some nice fat lawsuits if the pensions and benefits change drastically from what is now in place. Equal pay for equal works is NOT restricted to wages. You better watch out.
The Medical plan is substandard. I don't care how you try and disect it. For those making over 100k per year whether single or by 2 family members working for LANL its no big deal and if I was in that boat I would be elated. But for the rest of us the medical plan just plain stinks plain and simple. Granted the pension benefits are great as long as I am around to collect. To me, the Medical benefits are more important.
should be good for a laugh--watch after all this mess the spineless regents decide not to go for the contract. LOL. They will swarm off "the hill" in droves.
I will be taking Wednesday May 25 off as a Vacation day. I plan to attend this meeting as a private citizen and would consider making a statement during the open comment section, including delivering a clear, and concise (and polite) set of messages from this blog.

Is there an erudite poster in the house who can compose a message likely to get significant endorsement? Even several complementary messages with hundreds of endorsements (even anonymous) would be heard.

I am a LANL employee working at LBL for the year and this Blog has been a very good connection back to what is happening at home during this time.

- Steve Smith
Regarding the 2:01 poster, I don't know what part of town you refer to, but I don't think I've ever been there. In my part of town they want UC out.
Here is my shot at such a message, though I encourage others to offer something better or modify it to improve it over the next day.

Steve Smith

To the UC Board of Regents:

We, a collection of loyal employees at Los Alamos National Laboratory respectfully request that you to consider the following:

1) Your role as the operator of Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and later Los Alamos National Laboratory has been a unique one, much of it very positive and we appreciate the role you have had with us and the science done at this laboratory.

2) Whether you bid or not and whether you win the bid, we appeal to you to consider our loyalty, hard work and dedication to science, to the nation and to UC and yourselves. We appeal to you to help all of your employees and their families to find a fair and equitable future in whatever capacity they find themselves.

3) We look forward to rebuilding the laboratory with or without you. We appeal to you to consider us your partners in moving forward. UC is one of the very best university systems to support us in this scientifically. We are intelligent, dedicated and responsible members of one of the most elite scientific institutions in the world. Engage with us in that spirit and help us return our laboratory to greatness.

4) This laboratory and this community have suffered a series of insults to our integrity, to our homes, even our lives and now to our careers. We appreciate what UC has done to help us during those times, however we respectfully submit, that UC can still do more. Especially at this time.

5) As your partners, we therefore request that you:

a) Acknowledge that last year's shutdown might have been handled poorly by our upper management. We understand that this is a very sensitive topic and ask only that you make it clear to us that you understand that. With hindsight, you might recognize that serious errors in judgement were made by our upper management under your leadership and that those errors in judgement were not reversed in a timely manner.

b) Acknowledge that the many individuals and programs that were harmed by the shutdown and the way it was handled are important to you and that you will seek to discover and repair damages where you can. We understand that this also is a very sensitive issue, to avoid acknowledging liability while trying to do the right and responsible thing.

c) Make a commitment to working with us closely, to opening up better lines of communication with the staff. We deserve more respect than we have received lately, if you give it to us, we will respond in kind.

Before closing, we would like to remind you of an acute issue that deserves careful investigation and significant redress.

On May 14, former UC and LANL employee, Todd Kaupilla died abruptly. As you know, Todd was fired under very questionable circumstances, subsequently lost health and life insurance and died of abrupt pancreatic failure, a likely result of the extreme stress caused by the conditions of his firing.

During the question and answer session after the introduction of our new director, Robert Kuckuck, President Dynes and Vice President Foley were asked if they would be looking into this case. Foley's abrupt and emphatic "No!" was not acceptable.

We believe that Vice President Foley serves at the will of President Dynes and yourselves and that you can be more open minded in this matter.
For 10:05 and the many others who do not wish to support UC in a rebid. Even if we get a large number of "signatures" for both statements, I think they are important messages to send to the UC Regents regarding this upcoming bid.

I humbly solicit a complementary statement that might take the following form:

To the UC Board of Regents:

As employees of UC working at the Los Alamos National Laboratory: We submit to you our vote of "no confidence".

We respectfully request that you do not submit a bid for the contract to operate LANL for DOE.

Instead we request that you do your best to redress the wrongs you may have caused to us by being as generous and helpful as possible to your many loyal employees during the upcoming transitions.


- Steve Smith
I will subscribe to the 10:39 message. In the ideal world the message must be much harsher on UC, but for political reasons UC can't admit too much and still have a chance with the contract. While I am unhappy about this, I still think that there is a better chance to keep science at this place with UC. Whatever statement is delivered - Todd Kaupilla's case has to be made as strongly as possible.
10:39 made about as succinct and accurate statement as possible, given the political sensitivities that UC would have with acknowledging any liability for Todd. This proposed statement gives UC the chance to do the right thing for Todd's family. It also captures the lack of respect and lack of support that we have experienced in the recent attacks.
I look forward to having one or more of you carefully review and revise the above statements.

I also look forward to a significant response of "endorsements" to take forward.

I realize that time is short and many are beyond believing that their words make a difference.
In the absence of more participation in this, I do not expect to bring either of these messages to the Regents. I may make my own personal statement or refer anecdotally to the many expressions of hope and fear that I hear from my friends, neighbors and colleagues in Los Alamos.

I appreciate the few who did weigh in here.

I hope to have something positive to report from the meeting.

- Steve Smith
I attended the meeting, as planned. Some of you may have followed online as well.

I did not choose to make a statement due to lack of participation here and due to my own disorientation at the following:

1) UC Regents and others UC folks, "in person" did not seem that motivated to support the lab or it's people. I was reminded how many other interests they have.

2) There was a large (50-100) contingent of student protestors present. While they were somewhat naive in a lot of their rhetoric, I was reminded of the current political climate we live in and what Los Alamos looks like to the public... an Armorer for the biggest (and last) bully on the block.

3) Bechtel was downright creepy. They were clearly licking their chops (as LM must be).

4) At one point, the protestors gave over from "following the rules" to disruption and began to chant (shout actually) "Fuck the Regents". They were allowed about 10 minutes of this kind of behaviour but the Regents were whisked out of the room and replaced by a cadre of police (at least no riot gear!).

We (public of all stripes including reporters) were all "herded" outside and some strange mechanism was evoked to decide who could go back in for the comment session. A list of names were read off, and those people were allowed in. Naturally I was not on the list.

After another 10 minutes of observing the protestors and various TV and Print reporters (including Keay Davidson who has "polled" us here) I approached the police and talked my way back inside. It wasn't precisely intimidating but it was very disorienting.

The bottom line was that I saw only "special interests" including my own playing out on that field and was simply not motivated to add to the "noise".

I spent the rest of the afternoon watching waves roll and break. The morning was a worthwhile exercise, but it left me with little to offer anyone else... but I said I would report so here I am.

- Steve Smith
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