Sunday, June 12, 2005

One interpretation of Brooks' Message of Last Week

From Anonymous:

Ambassadar Brooks appeared candid and reaching out to the LANL communitywithin the constraints of the discussion. He even acknowledged that the language he used "culture problems" was extreme and thought a more appropriate word would be a minority. He announced that the UC contract has been extended to 31 May 2006, to allow more time for the tranistion. He encouraged people to wait and not rush into retirement, and utilize this transition time to do what is best for them. Overall a positive meeting, he reached out to LANL, both he and Secretary Bodmann consider LANL a crown jewel.

So within the constraints, it is important for us at LANL to focus and build upon the positive for us all and not harp on the past wrongs or rights. Bad news for science is that LDRD could be reduced, but he acknowledged its value at the core and we hope he is more effective in communicating this. I hope more people who value the LANL quasi-academic culture and want to continue to do great science here take a leadership role in the future of lab, voice their opinions.

One of the problems clearly is that it makes fiduciary sense for the older folks to retire, but this should not be confused with LANL not being a good place to do science. Personally optimism is the best path forward and having folks like Brooks reaching out to LANL is good and we should try to create synergy with this rather than just fight it. I think UC has this strategy honed for the proposal and the staff should help, and of course critically assess it in a balanced manner. I misse dall the RFP stuff because that is a separate matter of concern to people who are older, wiser, and have more financial issues at stake, and I hope respectfully that they can collect their favorable UC pension, and come back to work at the lab as fellows/consultants to transfer the 60 years of institutional inteligence to the younger and very capable newgeneration...

This is the best for LANL science, national security and the world.

You have omitted one important fact. Even if you are the last employee to retire, the fund has its collected revenue from all the years that everyone has put into it. In principle ("theory"), if it is managed identically to UCRP, and the funds that UCRP currently has, are split proportionally (including actuarial factors) between the new LLC fund and UCRS, it should remain just as solvent as UCRS.

Also, DOE has committed to keeping it solvent while it keeps its equivalency with UCRS (contributions + payout).
I am not sure if I am at all comfortable yet with DOE and NNSA promising anything.
Plain and simple: I just don't trust them.
With resepct to trusting the DOE/NNSA, or any other part of the U.S. government: just ask the Indians.
Where in writing has DOE committed to keeping the pension fund solvent? Even if they put it in writing it would not be worth anything because they could not keep that promise. It would require Congress to bail it out.
Former Navy Captain Brooks should have apologized for his Navy buddy using the "culture" word repeatedly too. Brooks backed Nanos to the end and should follow him to DTRA.
How can you tell when a lawyer is lying? When his lips are moving. If it ain't in writing, it ain't a contract, and all the happy talk in the world from Linton and Tyler will not change the fact. Look how long it took them (and how much goading) to do a simple contract extension.
Brooks could choose to follow Nanos to DTRA, but he wouldn't get nearly the sweetheart deal that Nanos is getting. Nanos is there on IPA from LANL. A not-unrelatistic guess is that Nanos becomes a LLNL employee on IPA to DTRA if UC loses the contract - he needs to vest before he "retires" again.
Did anyone notice that the person who will decide if the new benefits package is "substantially equivalent" is the same person who pushed for the shutdown, delayed the restart, and declared that a quarter of this town will be gone in the next couple of years?
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