Sunday, July 17, 2005

"T Division: The Real Story"

The following comments to the post about psychopathic bosses should be
entitled "T Division: The Real Story".

They are not an exaggeration. The last two years has seen the morale in
T Division drop lower and lower. Group leaders no longer are allowed to
lead and make decision about hiring, promotions, etc. The halls abound
with rumors about the sysadmin who left, the ISSO who is leaving and not
being replaced because the COS does not think it's important to ensure
that secure computing in the Division is done correctly (after all, it's
only the DOE, the NY Times, CNN and FoxNews who care about it), the
sysadmin who might leave, the group admin staff who are thinking about
leaving, etc.

1. Most people agree that Pete Nanos was an abusive director. His
departure was certainly a welcome turn at LANL. However, it did not
automatically eliminate some of the like-minded individuals who were put
in positions of authority and continue to act in this tyrannical manner.

This is the situation with the Chief of Staff in our division. This
person behaves very much like Nanos though on a smaller scale. Of
course, she can do so only with the acquiescence of the division leader,
so he can be considered complicit. She has become increasingly bold in
her meanness, as nothing has been done to curb her arrogant behavior.
Her actions seem to be largely designed to satisfy an insatiable
personal thirst for power and control, certainly not with the well being
of the division in mind.

As a mid-career staff member, my knowledge of many of these actions is
second hand, but I have seen and heard enough to know there is a real
problem and it is getting worse. Though many of her actions may appear
administrative in nature, they are affecting the scientific output as
well as the spirit in the division. As is often the case with people of
this ilk, her sycophantish behavior toward her superiors is in stark
contrast to her vituperative behavior toward her inferiors. My group
leader tells me that even group leaders fall in the latter category.

However, the greatest injustices are done to those least able to push
back, namely the support staff and contractors. She treats secretaries
with condescension. Those most favored (generally the most obsequious)
have been rewarded at the expense of those less favored. All are afraid
to make any decision without first getting her approval and don’t dare
point out any error on her part; i.e., they can’t do their jobs effectively.

Another serious repercussion is our loss of computer support. For a
number of years, some groups have used contractors for this purpose.
These people, mainly Lab retirees, are very capable and dependable, as
well as willing to work whenever needed. Her justification for their
elimination is ostensibly the Contingent Worker Plan, though the
fluctuating work load would seem to make this task well-suited for
contingent workers. Unlike many other contingent workers, these people
are retired and have no desire to become regular UC employees again. The
real purpose of the present course of action seems to be to get more
employees reporting to the CoS, who is close-minded and has no computer
competence. These dedicated workers have suffered indignities that no
regular employee would tolerate. In the interim, Lab programs and
science will be the inadvertent casualties as computer systems fail and
there is no one available to fix them.

All of these support people live in constant fear for their livelihoods.
This CoS makes arbitrary and unreasonable demands, often based either on
animosity toward the unfortunate worker or poor understanding of the job
to be performed. The people who know the job requirements best have been
disempowered. Her threats are not idle, and retaliation for anything
less than blind obedience is sure. A number of highly competent people
have departed to other organizations where they hope to be appreciated
and humanely treated.

Can anything be done about situations like this? Though it took a long
time and great damage was done in the meantime, the consensus of LANL
employees, though largely anonymous, did eventually prevail over Nanos.
Hopefully the stated Lab policy of fair treatment in a nonthreatening
environment is more than idle words.
# posted by Anonymous : 7/08/2005 10:40:39 PM


2. To the 7/8/05 10:40 poster,

Yes, T Division s____ because Alan and Paul have turned management over
to Audrey. Actually it's not management but more a series of hatchet
jobs. Of course they have done what she does, ingratiated themselves
with their managers, in this case Paul with Alan and Alan with Terry
Wallace. Either Terry does not know about the hatchet wielding COS or
also sanctions her behavior.

Maybe a new blog is necessary. Call it
T Division: The Real Story!

Anybody in T Division brave enough to stand up and take charge?

PS: If you look through the archives, this problem was described back in
January or February, and there have been other postings that have
alluded to an out-of-control COS. So there are other T Division folks
who are unhappy, but they are probably voting with their feet!
# posted by Anonymous : 7/10/2005 08:27:39 AM

3. I know the Chief of Staff described in the 7/08/2005 10:40:39 PM
post, and she scores high on all of Hare’s Factor 1 personality
characteristics: “glibness and superficial charm; grandiose sense of
self-worth; pathological lying; cunning and manipulativeness; lack of
remorse or guilt; shallow affect (i.e., a coldness covered up by
dramatic emotional displays that are actually playacting); callousness
and lack of empathy; and the failure to accept responsibility for one's
own actions.” She has no empathy whatsoever with others, but can tear up
in the presence of her superiors when her judgment seems to be
challenged -- all the while plotting her next step.
# posted by Anonymous : 7/10/2005 09:11:00 AM

4. It was first brought up on the blog some months ago, but it’s now
high time that the problem with the T Division Chief of Staff be
redressed. This person used the stand-down as an opportunity to seize
power and has been out of control ever since. For God’s sake, this ain’t
the Lab Director and solution should be easy.
# posted by Anonymous : 7/11/2005 09:20:22 PM

5. I have also witnessed the injustice the T-Division Chief of Staff
has perpetrated on the computer support in the Division. She has driven
out dedicated, hard-working, competent people who served T-Division well
in order to establish herself as someone to be feared and has the
arrogance to think she is an expert on computer needs and issues. Won't
someone in Management take a look at what this Chief of Staff is doing
to T-Division?
# posted by Anonymous : 7/11/2005 09:28:27 PM

6. Why doesn't the appropriate LANL manager check out what it happening
in T Division with the CoS? This bully is running people out of the
Division and continues to exercise complete and willful control over
people too afraid to stand up for themselves for fear of being
retaliated against. Don't turn a blind eye to this Nanos graduate!
# posted by Anonymous : 7/12/2005 09:40:24 PM

7. wow -- so many complaints about T division! Has a single one of you complained to Bishop? To Wallace? Guess what -- posting to the Blog is not the same as taking action. I wonder why so many posters seem to think that an anonymous posting to the blog will result in someone being fired.

There really are many mechanisms for filing a complaint, and although everyone seems to have a story about why this might not work, it really does make a difference most of the time.
# posted by Anonymous : 7/12/2005 09:55:48 PM

8. Having worked with the T-Div COS in a previous position, I am not surprised that her nasty disposition and attitude of "get to the top any way you can" has continued. This woman is a disgrace to all and a fraud. She barely has a high school education and her previous position of supervising a very small group ended in utmost failure. Can we say "blackmail". If she doesn't get what she wants, suddenly she is a victimized employee, sexual harrassment, racial or sex discrimination....oh many things to chose from. I pity T division and I encourage you to speak out where it counts, I wish I had, because maybe, just maybe she would not have made it any further.
# posted by Anonymous : 7/13/2005 12:11:51 AM

9. The comment at 7/12/2005 09:55:48 PM suggested that those who are dissatisfied file a complaint. Get real. That is not going to work. And, furthermore, the problem does not lie with the COS. It is the manager who appointed this COS and has failed to provide suprvision and to check up on results that is at fault.
# posted by Anonymous : 7/13/2005 04:37:02 PM

10. The Chief of Staff in T Division makes $112K? That’s more than the average scientific PhD staff member. She has no scientific training, but that doesn’t stop her from arbitrarily making decisions that directly and indirectly affect (often hurt) science.
# posted by Anonymous : 7/13/2005 08:11:36 PM

11. The T-Division Chief of Staff, Audrey Archuleta, is a mean-spirited person with a veneer of sweetness. The tough medicine, which the division leader and his deputy apparently thing she is providing, is really poison. Audrey‘s ambition goes beyond all bounds of decency. It would be difficult for anyone to believe such behavior without witnessing it. Even for LANL, which is not known for good managers, she is a disgrace. Like Nanos, it would be a good deal to be rid of her even if she continued to receive her specious salary.
# posted by Anonymous : 7/13/2005 09:27:44 PM

12. Hey, there must be someone who thinks the T Division Chief of Staff is doing a good job. Let’s hear from them.
# posted by Anonymous : 7/13/2005 09:47:35 PM

13. To: 7/12/2005 09:40:24 PM "Don't turn a blind eye to this Nanos graduate!" I found that an interesting remark so did a bit of digging to find out what this meant. So the T COS graduated from the Nanos DDP and worked for J "no morals/integrity" Kaye (Nanos' COS). What a piece of work Kaye is. I have heard that she is still prowling the 4th floor and is very closely aligned to several folks up there.
# posted by Anonymous : 7/13/2005 10:16:22 PM

14. Apparently there are a lot of people who have many issues with the T division Chief of Staff. Personally I just know of what she has done with computer system administration in the division. It is a looming disaster with the groups prohibited from making relevant personnel decisions. Of course, this couldn’t have happened if the division leader and deputy hadn’t allowed her to take over the process, so they share the blame. One example of her asinine decision making was assignment of basically janitorial duties to one of the overworked computer administrators. Shortly afterwards, he left the division.
# posted by Anonymous : 7/14/2005 08:27:32 AM

15. To: Terry Wallace
Serious allegations have been made regarding the T Division Chief of Staff. Could you investigate?
# posted by Anonymous : 7/14/2005 05:39:19 PM

16. Tell me why you all do not think the many posts in this thread about the T-Div COS are not made by one person with a personal issue? Your standards for providence are zero, yet you are willing to facilitate the destruction of a person's career in public. What will you do when the baleful eye of envy or malice turn to you?
# posted by Anonymous : 7/15/2005 11:27:34 AM

The criticisms of the T-Division COS are not the postings of a single individusl.

BUT, in fact they are evidence that communication between the T Division Director and his TSMs has totally broken down!
# posted by Anonymous : 7/15/2005 04:58:19 PM

17. One of the most important people in a division that does classified computing, as T Division does, is the ISSO. T Division has sailed through all the DOE audits because we have had a very meticulous ISSO who dotted every i and crossed every t. That person is leaving T Division, in part because of the micromanaging, nontechnical CSO, and this nontechnical CSO has decided not to replace the ISSO but let nontechnical group admins assume most of the responsibilities.

I am not posting this because I have a personal issue with the COS. I am posting this as an example of a very poor decision made by someone who has no business making this decision. And I wish that everyone in the division who does classified computing would discuss this with the division management. However, as the previous poster wrote, "communication between the T Division Director and his TSMs has totally broken down". Wallace needs to get involved quickly, or he's going to have egg on his face if there's a serious problem with T Division classified computing.
# posted by Anonymous : 7/15/2005 05:47:21 PM

18. The big problems in T Division are due to the lack of effective and responsible leadership. Alan Bishop is basically a nice man, certainly not a psychopath. However, he is apparently in over his head and not prepared to deal with difficult personnel and programmatic issues. The authority of the groups to deal directly with their concerns has been usurped by the division office, but the division office has not done the job, resulting in the loss of both good people and programs.
# posted by Anonymous : 7/16/2005 12:46:58 PM

19. Is Bishop a nice man who can't deal with the complexities of his position, or is he a clever man who encourages another (the COS) to be his hatchet person (good cop - bad cop)?

He is certainly aware of issues within the Division and is afraid to address them headon with the staff without the COS at his side or in a very controlled situation with time constraints that limit real discussion.

It doesn't help to have Bishop gone to Bechtel for weeks helping Bechtel write the science side of Bechtel's contract bid and leaving the running of the division to Dotson. This has left a vacuum which the COS has used to her advantage. She has such a control over the division that a group leader may not even reclassify his group office admin without her permission.

Since the COS position can be abused, it is one that must be tightly defined and rigorously supervised or it becomes the tail wagging the dog. A COS should never be permitted to have any authority over any techincal aspects of a division, including computer support. A COS should never be allowed the power of dictating to groups which admins they may and may not promote. The COS works for the division; the division staff do not work for the COS. Except in T Division.
# posted by Anonymous : 7/17/2005 10:19:53 AM

Comments:
That is a long winded post.. but a couple of things.

0) I have no idea about the CSO and so wont comment about her.

1) The support people in T-div are top-notch. I have worked with several of them, been at the losing end of arguments with them (hi Pat), and learned a lot from them. However, NNSA has requested that all computer support be centralized and the rumour is that NNSA quietly slowed funds for any directorate that doesnt do that because non-centralized cant be cost effective.

2) The division will need to have an ISSO if it wants to stay off the DOE auditor radar. That is a major flag for sending extra auditors or just giving a finding. [And divisions without ISSO's can find their access to other networks terminated.]
 
Please don’t think that T division has a lock on bad apples. IM-9 has one that has been doing her dirty deeds for years and years. She is responsible for “running off” over a dozen employees.

All the personality traits listed in the posts are a perfect match with the ones displayed by this person. The qualifications are dead on also…..
 
I know who you are talking about in IM-9 and agree 100%! Here are the traits posted again.

“glibness and superficial charm; grandiose sense of
self-worth; pathological lying; cunning and manipulativeness; lack of
remorse or guilt; shallow affect (i.e., a coldness covered up by
dramatic emotional displays that are actually playacting); callousness
and lack of empathy; and the failure to accept responsibility for one's
own actions.” She has no empathy whatsoever with others, but can tear up
in the presence of her superiors when her judgment seems to be
challenged -- all the while plotting her next step.
 
MST does not have a division COS but they have a Dep. Grp. Ldr. for Administration (MST-6) who probably could give the COS for T-Division a few pointers. She is mean-spirited, vindictive and has ingratiated herself with the group leader to such an extent that it is impossible to tell him any of the problems that exist. She lies to get staff and then doesn't carry out the lie leaving them to go elsewhere because there is no alternative. Follensbee won't even try to intervene. She has a BA in some kind of business discipline and is busy building her nest not taking care of the group or the lab. I sincerely hope that one of the first things the new contractor does is look at this worthless position throughout the Lab and do away with it.
 
Seems the atmosphere of fear and loathing still persists in T Division, in the hands of a little Nanos (Nanite?). I heard a rumor that she polished her skills by attending his training class.
 
The T Division Leader credits the Chief of Staff Audrey Archuleta with getting us through the stand-down and claims that this justifies her rough demeanor. I contend that there is a big difference between effectiveness and plain old meanness. I have never seen anyone enjoy a crisis so much, indeed a crisis that equaled opportunity for her. A double standard was created, e.g. she took vacation when no one else was allowed to (“because her job was so stressful”). An example of her kissing up is getting monetary awards for the division leader and deputy, who were just doing the job that managers are well paid to do. Actually she did and continues to do very little, except to boss others around in a condescending fashion. It amazes me that the Division Leader cannot see that this is making the division (including the division office) less productive, to say nothing of less happy. Oh well, we have a division picnic coming up that is supposed to fix everything.
 
This whole COS business is crap. The COSs may be the most over-compenstated job classification at LANL. Most of what they do could be better done by a competent Group Office Administrator. In the few instances where the COSs are given line authority, they are unprepared from both technical and supervisory points of view to deal with it.

The COS business needs compentent review and audit. A similar problem exists with the Administrative DGLs.
 
I think that it is time for a change in management in T-Division. Either:
1. The COS is the second coming of Attila the Hen and T-Division management is totally out of touch with the T-Division staff.
or
2. T-Division Management has directed the COS to do all of these awefull things and should be accoutable.
 
T-Division, one of the places at LANL where the great science is done. I truly enjoy hearing about all these great scientists being pushed around by a COS who is not even a line manager. You people must really be important if that is the case.
 
T Division, one of the most venerable organizations of the Laboratory, is in crisis. The Division Leader is out of touch with the staff members (and group leaders), a Chief of Staff is running roughshod over the group administrators (and disrespecting the scientists), and morale has hardly improved since the stand-down. Scientific achievement is now secondary and mediocrity is just around the corner unless something is done in a hurry. We have a new Associate Director for Supporting Research, who seems to have real empathy for the people in his Directorate (if we take his newsletters at face value). He is our best hope, but it remains to be seen if he has the guts to deal with the problems.
 
Hey 11:00pm poster.

As you say T-Division does have great people and does do great science. You are preceptive.
And no one is pushing them around. I do not know what the whole COS thing is about but
it has nothing to do with the TSM's

As for you comment about enjoying the great scientists being pushed around. Well that says alot about you.

I am ashamed that LANL has people as naive and small minded as you. LANL is a science lab.
The great scientists are the best thing this place
has. If you do not strive to have the best scientists than we should shut LANL down. By the way someone as stupid as you will have a very hard time finding another job. I do not
know who some idiot like you got into LANL but we need to get rid of the mediocre and worthless people like you. You are are
a true waste of the tax-payers money. The scientists
in T-division are some of the best and hardest working
people at LANL. They are helping make the lab and the country great. You should be grateful that LANl has T-division.
 
Hell, 7:53, why get yourself worked up over 11pm? You just keep working hard and doing the important work you do and it will speak for itself. If the budget gets really tight at LANL it sounds like you'll have a university position all lined up. You'll go there and 11pm will be stuck at LANL. Maybe they'll even get RIFed.
 
I knew the T Division COS before she rose to her current position. Even back then, she would step on folks to get where she wanted to go. That said, however, I think this "free-for-all" bashing going on against her represents a sad state of affairs for the Lab. It means our current management system does not allow for truthful feedback to upper-level managers about such problems. It means we don't have an effective system to remove such toxic folks from influential positions. Frankly, it is an embarrassment to me to have such comments posted on the blog for all the world to see.

Audrey is obviously a big problem that should be addressed and obviously folks are angry about it and using this venue to make their statements. It's just too bad that we have to resort to this method.

Does anyone know if Audrey is seeing this input? Has her manager seen it? Is anyone doing anything about it?
 
To the 7:18 poster:

The blog was started in part because "the current management system does not allow for truthful feedback to upper-level managers about such problems." How long did it take after the blog started for Nanos' management (UC and DOE) to react to what was posted? Do you suppose some were embarrassed because of comments made about Nanos? The problem is indicative of poor management which ultimately hampers the division.
 
7:39:

I'm not sure that UC management ever reacted to the information being posted on the blog. They just don't seem capable of reacting in an appropriate way to problems at LANL.
 
7:53, I'm grateful that T-Division has people like you.
 
Poster 06:44:26 PM if you are writing about Ross Lemons as the new Deputy you should talk with people in MST about what kind of a leader he really is.
 
While on the subject, what is the status of Lisa Gutierrez at "Morale Director" for ADTR? 163,500
 
She's arranging lunches for people in the Directorate with Cliff and Doug. Sounds like a $163.5k a year job to me. I can only dream about achieving such a position and salary.
 
But she's doing *terrific* things for morale!
 
I agree 9:42 pm. Even though many of my coworkers and I have PhDs, we're a pretty realistic bunch and realize that we will never achieve the current position and salary that Lisa has at LANL.

And you're right 9:44 pm, we all consider that realization a morale booster.
 
...or was that "morale buster".
 
10:36 pm, I can say that many of my coworkers no longer care. They have come to the conclusion there is simply nothing at LANL worth getting annoyed about anymore. If people think sniping, bad-mouthing and bashing employees is bad news, they need to see some apathetic and disenfranchised workers.
 
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