Monday, June 20, 2005

Fees for contract extension, savings to taxpayers

Doug: Please post, from the Jun 15, 2005 Reader's Forum

June 15, 2005

Fees for contract extension, savings to taxpayers

I have not seen any comment regarding what fee would be due to the University of California if it accepts extension of the current contract to the end of next May. It seems to be a foregone conclusion that UC has or will accept the contract extension, for which at least most, and probably all, of us are grateful. However, since the National Nuclear Security Administration/Department of Energy complaint about UC management is that it has not been sufficiently "business-like," consider how UC should respond if it were to oblige. To wit:

It having been demonstrated by the final request for proposals that the value of managing the Laboratory contract is in excess of $60 million per year, a 2/3 year extension should be worth at least $40 million. If UC were to behave in a "business-like" fashion, it would demand this fee in return for accepting the contract extension or threaten to drop the contract on Sept. 1 and leave NNSA (and us, unfortunately) in the lurch. NNSA, as well as Lab staff, should be thankful to UC for continuing to view management of the Lab as a privilege and responsibility to the nation, despite the opprobrium that UC has endured. (I assume here that UC is not under a contractual obligation to accept an extension; not being a lawyer, I haven't read the current contract carefully enough to know.)

A related point that no one seems to mention is the huge amount that UC has saved U.S. taxpayers by accepting a minimal management fee for the last 62 years. Even discounting the war years, and again judging from the RFP, it seems clear that UC has foregone more than $3 billion in current year dollars that were due it for its management efforts. Even allowing for costs related to purported inadequate management, it would appear that the U.S. has come out well ahead in this deal.

--Terry Goldman

Comments:
"A related point that no one seems to mention is the huge amount that UC has saved U.S. taxpayers by accepting a minimal management fee for the last 62 years"

No one is mentioning this because it is moot. It is history. It's over, behind us now. So what. It won't be that way in the future. Get over it.
 
It is clear that things will be different in the future, but the issue doesn't have to be moot. It is only moot because the DOE/NNSA doesn't want to take that into account with regard to the UC's "performance". The idea is to put all the blame on UC (and some is certainly deserved) and not have any blame on DOE/NNSA for the management of the Laboratory. This "fact" should be taken into account in the evaluation of the RFP's.
 
Why should we get over DOE spending hugh amounts of tax payer money to get a corporation in when UC would do it for less. Yes, UC didn't manage us very well, but it was also set up. Accidents that were no big deal in the rest of the complex were made into world news at LANL. Security problems that amount to little at other labs are being broadcast throughout the world when they happen at LANL, even when they amount to nothing.
The fix is in to give LANL to Lockheed Martin which I have heard is owned by the Carlisle Corporation for which Bush's father works. Sounds like nepotism to me.
 
I agree with 12:43pm's statement up to the point of the ridiculous nepotism claim. DOE's incompetence, however, is an actual factor in the issue.
 
"The fix is in to give LANL to Lockheed Martin which I have heard is owned by the Carlisle Corporation for which Bush's father works. Sounds like nepotism to me.
# posted by Anonymous : 6/20/2005 12:43:52 PM"

I think you mean the Carlyle Group. Lockheed Martin is their customer.
 
"No one is mentioning this because it is moot. It is history. It's over, behind us now. So what. It won't be that way in the future. Get over it."

"He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future." -George Orwell
 
Key word being "control" I assume?
 
ooh! ooh! EvilBushChaneyHaliburtonCarlyleBlackHelicoptersPatriotAct. Can't you see it's all part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy?

On the other hand, if you park in Santa Fe with a "W" sticker on your car, you're likely to get your tires slashed.
 
05:00:45 here again.
I forgot Skull and Bones, the Masons, and the Mormons. We know who REALLY pulls the strings in America!
 
Talk about double-standards, this article from CNN never even mentions who manages Y-12, much less manages them. And NNSA stresses that everything at Y-12 is fine, despite security having been breached:

"Sixteen illegal immigrants gained access last year to one of the most sensitive weapons sites in the country, according to a report issued Monday by the Department of Energy's inspector general.

The inspector general's investigation found the illegal immigrants were construction workers on jobs at the Y-12 National Security Complex near Knoxville, Tennessee.

The workers used "false documents" and "gained access to the ... site on multiple occasions," the report said.

The report details how the workers, apparently using fake green cards, were able to obtain access badges.

"This situation represented a potentially serious access control and security problem," the report said.

According to the report, the inquiry brought field agents to the plant who found "official use only" documents "lying unprotected in a construction trailer, which was accessed by the foreign construction workers."

The National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees nuclear weapons facilities for the Energy Department, said in the report no evidence was found that the workers had access to any of those documents.

The inspector general, Gregory Friedman, also found that although security was compromised, access controls at the plant have since been tightened.

And he found no evidence that classified or sensitive information was compromised.

A January 2004 report by the inspector general found that an exercise to test preparedness against a terrorist attack at the Y-12 complex was compromised when guards got a peek at the plans.

The report further said there was "compelling" evidence that security tests have been manipulated since the mid-1980s.

The Y-12 National Security Complex -- approximately 600 buildings over 811 acres -- was established along with the nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory during World War II as part of the Manhattan Project to build the world's first nuclear weapon.

Both are situated on the 33,750-acre Oak Ridge Reservation that is home to a number of Department of Energy science and technology programs. About 13,000 contractor employees work at the Oak Ridge facilities.

Several sensitive activities take place at the Y-12 plant, including the warehousing of enriched uranium and the dismantlement and storage of weapons. The site was being tested to see if it could defend against potential security incidents."
 
I am actually surprised it took so long to find a poster concerning this story. Actually it is another blow against UC (although I am pro-UC, but certainly against its highly corrupted partners, though I consider LM and its partners equally bad). Namely, Y-12 is operated for NNSA by BWXT. Interestingly enough Y-12 has strong unions, which fight transition to 4/10 week, but the union leader is a suspect in a rape case. This is what you can easily find on the web, though all that might be crap, just as revelations about LANL, as we well know. Anyway, it should be widely discussed as clear double standard case when compared to LANL.
 
ON Y-12: safety problems as well, there are beryllium sickness cases there. Not that such things have no place in nuclear weapons plants, but again double standards.
 
It seems you just don't get it. DOE, not UC/LANL, is the agency that represents the government, and the taxpayers, at Los Alamos. It, not LANL, is accountable, after a fashion, to the taxpayers. Therefore, if the DOE decides to compete the contract it has every right to do so. Period. End of story. Stop whining! Sandia makes the DOE happy, LANL makes the DOE unhappy, both for good reasons.
UC/LANL has failed where it counts; it failed to keep its customer happy with the service provided. In fact the DOE has been unhappy with LANL for a long time. In 1997 the local DOE office wished to compete the contract, but DOE/ABQ went against it. Domenici won that one. Even so, Secretary O'Leary put in some extraordinary clauses, including the right to remove the Director, as part of the LANL contract. But, after O'Leary left, LANL got a bye on the special provisions. Politics bailed them out.
Bottom line; the contract should have been competed decades ago. UC has never "managed" LANL. Which is why LANL is so incredibly screwed up, and why DOE is unhappy.
The DOE staff are not fools, and my experience is that they are well intentioned, and frustrated. It is hell to have Domenici intervening on LANL's behalf every time the DOE calls them on their problems. Pete is a big part of the reason for DOE failures at LANL. Sandia deals with their problems, LANL calls Pete. This must stop...
 
They are probably counting the days until Senator Domenici leaves the Senate after his current term.
 
"It is hell to have Domenici intervening on LANL's behalf every time the DOE calls them on their problems."

Is this to say DOE resents Congressional oversight? or just a longing for the Hazel O'Leary days?
 
"..LANL makes the DOE unhappy.. UC/LANL has failed where it counts.. LANL is
so incredibly screwed up.." -- Poster 9:23 pm


Take these quotes and every time you see "LANL", replace it with the word
"DOE". Then you'll have a good idea how many in Congress feel about this
particular Agency:

".. DOE makes the Congress unhappy.. DOE has failed where it counts.. DOE is
so incredibly screwed up.."


This agency was almost killed off in the late 90's by the GOP. Too bad
they didn't have the guts to pull the trigger. DOE is know in Washington DC
circles as a "loser" of an agency. It's only obvious purpose at this
point is to serve as a doormat for the oil lobby. I hope Senator Domenici
accomplishes one last task before he leaves the Capitol: Sponsor a bill
to end this agency once and for all. The country will be far better off
when it is gone.
 
Reality Check:

Before leaving a long career with the Laboratory, I had the good fortune to work with a number of excellent people at Savannah River, Oak Ridge, Argonne West, and Mound. Over the years I watched, rather uncomfortably, as the original GOCO for each of these facilties found itself crosswise with DOE, and the subject of what can best be described as a "hostile" rebid process. And note that many of these "greedy" corporations were running these facilities for a feee of $1 per year. In every case there was an increasing media drumbeat of every single misstep taken by the GOCO up to the day the contract was awarded to a new operator. And then, for the most part silence. Oh, I forgot, in almost every case DOE allowed the new operator to ransack the treasury to fix all of the "sins" associated with the previous management --- in the case of Savannah River, the new operator required nearly 30,000 FTEs (their own + contractors) to manage a site with no operating reactors, as opposed to DuPont which had managed to safely operate five reactors with something like 6,000 FTEs.

So former colleagues I ask you:

- why do you expect to be treated differently? Every one of these other sites had good people doing valuable work for the country. In some cases the work stopped, and people retired or were reassigned. Life went on. The sun continued to rise and set. And don't tell me about the importance of the mission --- for better or worse, our country has a long history of misplaced priorities .... remember that at the beginning of WWII we had people training with fake rifles because congress hadn't allocated sufficient budget to provide the army with enough real ones.
 
6/20 5:00 pm -

And if you park in Los Alamos with a Kerry sticker on your car you get bombarded by right-wing-gun-nut-jesusfreakorama literature and preaching. What a wacked-out town this place has become.
 
Like LANL's managers, DOE's so-called leaders are all about survival too. Bottom line. I wish that Congress would eliminate DOE and NNSA as they are both useless.
 
The first priority of most politicians is to get $ and power to get reelected, not save taxpayers $. UC saves the taxpayer $, but does not contribute $ to politicians. Contractors do. We have the best government that $ can buy. UC is toast.
 
Getting back to Terry's original post:
> If UC were to behave in a "business-like" fashion, it
> would demand this fee in
> return for accepting the contract extension or
> threaten to drop the contract
> on Sept. 1 and leave NNSA (and us, unfortunately) > in the lurch.
Is the contract available somewhere? Is it really signed, sealed and delivered, i.e. *all* contract provisions transparently extended, or is
there still a possibility that we'll get left in the lurch come Oct. 1 (presumably Terry meant Oct 1, i.e. end of current contract)? As a matter of curiosity it would be interesting to know the fee for the transition
period, but I'm more concerend about us and not whether or not UC gets relatively
more money during the transition.
 
"our country has a long history of misplaced priorities .... remember that at the beginning of WWII we had people training with fake rifles because congress hadn't allocated sufficient budget to provide the army with enough real ones."
# posted by Anonymous : 6/21/2005 08:51:35 AM
---------------------
Ha! remember 1941 when the entire Navy fleet (with few exceptions) was docked in Hawaii?????
 
> If UC were to behave in a "business-like" fashion, it
> would demand this fee in
> return for accepting the contract extension or
> threaten to drop the contract
> on Sept. 1 and leave NNSA (and us, unfortunately) > in the lurch.
UC cannot behave like a business because it isn't and doesn't know how anyway. You can bet UC begged for the extension it wants the new contact badly and will stand on its head if it thinks it will help get it.
 
Any business that would operate as you propose would go under in a matter of months. You obviously have not clue when it comes to business operations.
 
2:55- UC wants LLNL's contract, not LANLs. I'm sure Bechtel will be its partner for that endeavor also.

Want to bet 2 cents that LLNL employees remain in UCRP?
 
I see we have reverted to the favorite sport on this blog: bashing everyone in sight and seeing conspiracies all around us. No, the world isn’t perfect. It wasn’t perfect under UC and it won’t be perfect under the successor contractor. Get over it! No, there are no grand right-wing conspiracies in the recompetition, just the normal give and take of politics and business, same as has been going on for thousands of years all over the world. Get over it! No, for-profit businesses are no more or less evil than non-profit universities, despite the rose-colored glasses some people wear. Get over it!

LANL would be a lot more impressive if there were more concern voiced about science in these posts and less about pensions, politics, anti-business polemics, and individual managers that people don’t like.
 
So write about science, 5:16. No one is stopping you.
 
He gets a dollar every time he says "Get over it!"
 
5:16, LANL might not be doing as much science in the future. If that comes to pass, you will of course, have to get over it.
 
re mayor richard j. daily post (6/21/05 1:25 pm) -give us a break and correct the record!
He says: "UC saves taxpayer $, but does not contribute to politicians",
Just ask who was the #1 contributor to the John Kerry Presidential Campaign in 2004, none other than the University of California ?
Please see the link:
http://www.opensecrets.org/presidential/contrib.asp?id=N00000245&cycle=2004
 
Mr. Get Over It:

You may be able to work here for free, but I can't afford it. I give the Lab my best- I try to work hard despite their constant changing policies. (And, yes, I could take my skills elsewhere- and make about the same paycheck.)

What I want in return is a decent salary and a decent pension. I don't think I should give up benefits because DOE is changing contractors. It is not like they are saving the public any money- in case you didn't notice, this is costing unnecessary millions. So I am going to fight for benefits now. Get over it. If the science starts to slip, we can fight that battle after the contractor is established.
 
Has the contract really been extended? Brooks said so. The papers reported it. Has UC said anything about it, and how much it gets paid, and if there's the possiblity that, if necessary, if could be extended from May 31 to September 30, 2006?
 
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