Friday, July 22, 2005

"Surprise" meeting

I had a "surprise" meeting with C. Paul Robinson a while back one day when I was at a restaurant in Albuquerque where we were introduced by a mutual acquaintance. We ended up having what turned out to be a longish conversation about, of all things, blogs. At the time, Paul told me that he was concerned about inaccurate information then being presented on LANL, The Real Story regarding Lockheed Martin's pension plan. I extended to him an offer to use the blog to present factual information. I also told him that I had extended the same offer via email to our then brand-new interim Director Kuckuck (whom I never did hear back from, btw.).

As it turned out Paul did not take advantage of my offer, but for a very interesting reason as was explained to me in a recent email that I received from him. In that email. Paul explained that Lockheed Martin actually has an official corporate policy in place that addresses the use of blogs. I will include the paragraphs from his email which explain that policy:

I learned that there is indeed a written policy within Lockheed Martin with
respect to Blogs. It is entitled Release of Information (Personal
Statements.) It begins with a 'freedom of speech' statement that "any
employee may express individual beliefs or convictions with respect to
legislation, government action, public officials, candidates, and other
public interest issues, but that employees must clearly state, however,
that such expressions represent a personal view". These expressions must not
convey, indicate, or imply that such an opinion is or is not the view of
Lockheed Martin management, or that the employee is acting as a spokesperson
for or on behalf of Lockheed Martin or its entities.

The policy points out that this policy "applies in all cases, including but
not limited to interviews with news media, and personal websites, blogs (web
logs), Internet chat rooms, and bulletin boards whether accessed using
personal computing and information resources, or Lockheed Martin's computing
and information resources."

As you can see, Lockheed Martin's official policy regarding freedom of speech issues is very much like LANL's own policy. LM's policy regarding the use of blogs, however, extends beyond the above description regarding an individual employee's use of blogs, as the following excerpt from his email explains:

[...]Lockheed Martin's policy on Blogs is specifically supportive of such a genre as Blogs,
as an important tool for communication of individual views, but it forbids the
Corporation from 'usurping' the Blog for its own, corporate purposes.

This policy, Paul told me, was why he had not used the LANL blog to provide factual information about LM's benefits program. However, he went on later in the email to offer me his own personal views regarding the utility of blogs in the corporate work environment, and he gave me permission pass those personal views on to whomever might find them interesting. Here, extracted and paraphrased from the email is what Paul told me were his own
personal opinions regarding blogs:

So, in summary I was quite impressed by the openness of the interchange, and by Paul's offer to me to pass his views on if I chose to do so.


Well, maybe, but:

1. If he did not want to post on the blog, why didn't he tell you where you (we) could find the accurate information about the pension plan?

2. LM/UT + the 30 dwarfs will be a standalone LLC with a standalone pension plan. So what LM and/or SNL presently have may not be relavent.

3. Sure, Robinson said that he was "supportive of blogs." Have you ever heard of a manager or politician (except maybe for Buttheads like Foley and Nanos) admit that they would prefer to supress freedom of speech at certain times?
There IS NO information about "the" pension plan. If Lockheed wins, they will submit a proposal to DOE. Its details have yet to be decided.

Did you give C.P.R. your resume?

I'm retired.


This information is of interest. Robinson's position and comments seem well considered and appropriate. It seems to serve everyone's interest to learn what we can about the two major contenders.

Sometimes I wonder how you stand all the negative feedback on even such matters as this where the info seems useful.

Keep up the good work.
01:07:51 PM, I guess the benefits that this open forum of discussion provides still outweighs the poor quality of some of the contributions, in my own mind, at least. I must confess, however, that with each passing day I see less benefit in allowing anonymous posting on this blog.

To be fair 12:37, if you intend to characterize the 30 academic institutions that will partner with LM/UT as DWARFS, you must label the two in-state UC/Bechtel partners as fleas, or to be perfectly correct on a comparative basis, as NANITES.
Thanks for the insight. CPR's comments are measured and appropriate. I'm looking forward to working for him and getting out from under the "We're the best because we're from California" mentality. Some of the comments above are just UC jingoism that will eventually pass.

The fact that the details of the proposed pension plan are still secret is because it's part of the proposal. It's not some deep, dark conspiracy - it's business. The proposal is company proprietary information, and the proposed pension plan is subject to negotiation with and approval by NNSA/DOE. Until there is a signed contract, the details of the retirement plan will continue to be proprietary.

LANL employees will be briefed on the pension plan during the transition period and can make the stay or go decision as suits their personal circumstances.
To: Anonymous at 7/22/2005 03:41:08 PM, agreed. Although, I really believe that NMSU is far better than UNM in technical fields. Both stink at football!
Let's not confuse "openness" with "a prospective upper manager deigned to talk to you."
the stand-alone pension plan will stink worse than UNM and NMSU footballs teams put together, on ice.
Paul Robinson is a nice person, pleasant to talk with. He is respectful, open, and honest. Nanos, on the other hand, would "deign".

I can tell the difference.

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