Sunday, August 14, 2005

Suggestion for Gary Stradling

I have a suggestion for Gary Stradling. Talk to your co-workers and others
in your building at LANL and take an informal poll. How many agree that
Pete Nanos "was a decisive man of vision and courage," and how many agree
(as I do) that his term as director was disastrous for LANL? Keep track of
responses and report back to the blog. Tell us the number interviewed, the
number responding in either direction, and give us a rough idea of those
interviewed (TSMs, management, technicians, etc.) and the breakdown in
organizations (i.e. support vs. staff). Summarize your findings here.

Some will argue that this is all useless, that Nanos is (thankfully) gone
and we must move on. But I will disagree: we need to know whether lessons
have been learned from the 2004-5 debacle, and where LANL management is
headed in the years to come. If we collectively realize that enormous
mistakes were made, we can begin to repair them. But if we think that the
Nanos approach was basically correct, we are in for many more years of
conflict. So Gary's survey could prove quite instructive for the future.
(By the way, I have already told Gary that in my organization, the poll
numbers are dramatically one-sided.)

-- Bernard Foy

Comments:
Bernard-
You have misunderstood me. My efforts here have been to help you see something that is not obvious to you--on a larger scale than whether people were unhappy with the “stand down.’ Taking a poll of the popularity of the stand down or of Pete Nanos would only demonstrate a distribution of opinions. Whether this distribution was skewed would neither validate nor negate my assertion of Pete Nanos’ vision, courage, and decisiveness nor would it validate or negate the existence of compelling reasons to call a stand down last summer.

This blog has been about mob-‘think’, an emotional, anonymous, geyser of blame. This blog will be of more service to LANL and the nation if it becomes a rational discussion in which understanding is developed from data. There seems to be a sentiment that the fun of a playground free-for-all-in-the-dark trumps the utility of an accountable, rational, debate on a lighted stage. Certainly the enemies of a healthy LANL would rather have an anonymous free-for-all because it makes the Laboratory look bad.

I was personally not happy with the stand down. But to understand the roots and causes of it is critically important for the reasons you allude to. If, as you assert, the decision to stand down was a fluke of unstable and incompetent management, then removing those managers is the solution and “all is well,” as LANL heads off into the future. In that case, the re-bid of the contract should solve the problem. If, as I try to persuade you, the problems were complex, intrinsic to the institution and the environment, and only moderately tractable to the managers, then it would behoove all of us to understand them and pull together to resolve them. I believe this will continue to be an issue, whichever of the bid teams wins.

If a significant part of laboratory’s problem set lies with the attitudes of a modest number of vocal discontents, those with loyalty to the institution will continue to persuade them to come to reason.
Gary
 
Gary's statement that "...those with loyalty to the institution will continue to persuade them to come to reason..." only serves to illustrate the disconnect between people like Gary (managers, or managements' service personnel) and at least a segment of the workforce.

My loyalty to the institution is at least an order of magnitude below my loyalty to the mission and the country.

Gary, do you understand what this means?
 
Gary,
I just read your response to Bernard Foy. I hope you respond to Brad Lee Holian as well.

You told Bernard that he has not been able to see something on, a larger scale, because it is not obvious to him. If Bernard does not understand, it is not surprising that I am confused too.

You represent the Program Office in this blog, so I say that you have to educate us. This is something that has not been done.

You stated that There were problems that were "complex, intrinsic to the institution and the environment, and only moderately tractable to the managers..."

Since Bernard could not understand you, please state to him and me in clear terms (don't use words like intrinsic and tractable)what events occurred before 2003 to July 2004 that caused the Lab to be shut down and caused the terrible year that followed.

I, for one, was taken by complete surprise when the Director shut down the Laboratory. Constant rumors and lack of official information over the next few days caused me and others to retire early to ensure the security of our pensions. We still await an explanation.
 
to Just Another Mushroom : 8/14/2005 04:44
It may mean that you are working at the wrong place. What do you think it means?
Gary
 
Gary,

Wow.

If my loyalty is first to the country, and then to the mission, and lastly to the lab, then I am working at the wrong place?!

If this attitude doesn't raise some eyebrows in DC, then it should. It is just this kind of attitude that has put management in the sights of the general lab staff.

New contractor: I have just identified a target for you. Happy hunting.
 
Another Mushroom said:
"My loyalty to the institution is at least an order of magnitude below my loyalty to the mission and the country.

Gary, do you understand what this means?"

and Gary replied:
" to Just Another Mushroom:
It may mean that you are working at the wrong place. What do you think it means?"

Gary,
Do you realize what you just said? Please retract your statement.
 
What specifically was accomplished by the stand down? Were accidents and bad publicity eliminated? Did morale improve? Was the work force strengthed? Did it help the UC in retaining its management contract? Was science advanced? Did it help our programmatic customers? If you choose to answer, please be very specific.
 
Larry-
I do not represent the program office, the Laboratory, UC, UT, Bechtel, or LM.

I am just a guy who has a strong view and is willing to stand up for it.

BTW, I have posted here several discussions of the events surrounding the stand down. I am willing to sit down with you or Bernard or anyone else and talk thru them. I will sent you an e-mail suggesting lunch, maybe at Bernard's place at TA-35.
Gary
 
"..would neither validate nor negate my assertion of Pete Nanos’ vision, courage, and decisiveness nor would it validate or negate the existence of compelling reasons to call a stand down last summer."

Gary is truly amazing. I just can't
let this pass without comment.
First a gentle reminder: The two
main reasons Nanos gave for the
shutdown, lost CREM and
poor safety record WERE FALSE.
__
And here are my recollections of Nanos: Firsthand from all-hands
meetings he was a lying, impulsive,
incompetent, hypocritical bully.
Second-hand from reliable sources
including a program manager he was
a loud, foul-mouthed, vindictive,
cowardly sociopath.
__
The Lab was and is in bad shape.
This was not the kind of leadership
we needed to fix it. Nanos' main
legacy will be the destruction
of LANL and the death of Todd
Kaupilla.
__
Unfortunately, as Nanos pointed out
on at least one occasion, his
lawyers are paid for.
__
But I guess none of this matters
to Gary.
__
God am I glad to be out of the Lab.
-- Former TSM in DX division.
( I sign anonymously since my
lawyers are not paid for)
 
Gary,
You said to Bernard Foy while trying to explain to him how he misunderstood you:
"But to understand the roots and causes of it is critically important for the reasons you allude to... If, as I try to persuade you, the problems were complex, intrinsic to the institution and the environment, and only moderately tractable to the managers, then it would behoove all of us to understand them and pull together to resolve them."

I asked you:
"Since Bernard could not understand you, please state to him and me in clear terms (don't use words like intrinsic and tractable)what events occurred before 2003 to July 2004 that caused the Lab to be shut down and caused the terrible year that followed."

Now, I ask you again. Please tell me what are the "roots and causes" you referred to. I was there and they were not obvious to me, nor did Lab management point them out to me.


BTW, I'll pass on your offer to meet for lunch at Bernard's place at TA-35. Somehow I don't want to get caught on government property without a badge.
 
Gary- Since you asked, I'll try one last time to detail in a very concise way what (I) want from this forum so please go write these down on your refrigerator for future reference and pseudo-logical rebuttal. (1) Justice for those who have been mistreated, (2) better Leadership for all of us, and (3) an end to lies and excuses. I would never use words like "smooth sailing" to describe Los Alamos before, during or after Nanos so please don't try to put words in my typeset. I've already had lunch with you and found it rather disappointing; you obviously did not want to hear or accept the facts about the CREM fiasco or anthing about the lives that were unnecessarily destroyed. Frankly, it reminded me of a brown bag with Nanos. Frankly both of you need to brush up on your listening skills if you expect to be taken seriously.
-Scott
 
Gary,

You have made it clear for all to read that you assign LANL, as an institution, a higher priority than either the mission (and there are several core missions), or the nation.

That is quite a statement.

I hope other people see it for what it is: the epitomy of what is wrong with some managers at LANL.

Fear not, for you are still useful. How the new contractor deals with people with your attitude will tell me much about them.
 
Mushroom- LANL is important because of the mission and the LANL's service to the nation.
Gary
 
In some respects, Gary is right, but a little long-winded. Nanos was annoited in the middle of a crisis of confidence about the Mustang case and the reports of equipment unaccounted for.

He boasted that he was here to "Drain the swamp." It was UCOP who sought him out (I think in desperation) to annoint a "Kick ass and take names" kind of manager - as opposed to Browne's model of collegiality. UC has always been terribly sensitive about negative publicity, and I think Nanos was a desperate attempt to show NNSA/DOE that they were really in charge of the situation. In that respect, Nanos is a monster of Dynes' and Foley's creation.

Nanos is a sociopath - as befits many strong leaders - and tackled this job with a vengeance. Unfortunately, his motives seem to have been to polish his resume as the tough SOB who whipped those prima-donnas, cowboys, and buttheads into line before he moved off to bigger and better things. Don't be surprised if he lusts for Bodman's job.

UC has demonstrated repeatedly that they cannot run LANL in an effective, or even civil, manner. They should have saved their money for the bid, because there's no realistic way they're going to win.

-Dawn-
 
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?