Monday, August 01, 2005

Waste, Fraud, Abuse at LANL

From Anonymous:

Why is it that the lab commits the same crimes over and over and over and no one wants to deal with it? I've been a tech all the way up through line management. I've confronted division management and suffered their wrath. I've done division management dirty work and been pushed off to the side afterwards. And watched their advancement.
Examples:
A DL single handedly destroyed DX Division. What was his punishment? A 2 year change of station to Headquarters and then back to the lab as a Program Manager. I always thought change of station and being a Program Mgr was what you got for doing something good for the institution and a reward.
The above DL's Deputy, didn't get the DL job and just disappeared. After much searching where did he turn up. Yep - at headquarters on a change of station. But he just packed up and went. No appointment. Now - Program Manager. If it had been you and me we would have been fired. He got his hand slapped and then promoted.
A former DDL from above moves into a deputy AD slot and is still just as mean and nasty as when she was a DDL. She is rewarded beyond your imagination - see below.
The lab contact who manages the KSL taxi announces that the lab is significantly cutting back on the taxi service to save a million plus and recommends expanding LA Bus service across the lab. Coincidence that he is also a part owner of LA Bus? And lab management lets it happen.
Upper lab managers come in from the outside. They know absolutely nothing about LANL but suddenly they start making sweeping changes. And things don't get better but worse. Plus they all come here from the outside and then hire their admins and support staff external from Bechtel NV, etc. At high salaries. Like Northern NM doesn't have a pool of people to do admin type work.
Ineffective managers are promoted into positions and they bring equally ineffective managers along with them. Do you see SUP as a better division lately? It's not only who you know, but who you blow. You don't have to know supply chain management to run supply chain management right? And of course, anyone who knows performance surety and AB must know supply chain mgmt also.
Managers across the lab continue to manage through belittlement, harassment, intimidation, meanness, spitefulness, micromanagement, ... and they are allowed to get away with it. Rewarded even. The job may get done but at a huge HR price.
A DL of a facilities division is removed and made a DL of a new waste division. This move fails and he is then moved to a Special Projects position at an AD level so he could keep his salary. His deputies were all put into DL slots and they all manage as above. And the lab allows it.
Divisions are destroyed. Groups are destroyed. By managers that are not in it take to take care of the people, but to advance themselves at all costs because they know they can fail and still win. By employees that poison everyone around them and even if they have a good manager bring them down because they don't want change and accountability. Employees not held accountable. They get to work, go eat breakfast at the cafeteria, go for an early lunch and get back late, leave early. And no one says anything. Eat on your own time. Work when you are here. Employees that have absolutely no respect for fellow workers. Noise. Music. Grab-ass'ng. No accountability. Poor team leaders that can't control their people. Employees that abuse overtime.. 30 hrs/week or more in OT. At time and a half. Managers let it happen. No one cares.
No career development. No career paths. Employees allowed to lanquish in obscurity for an entire career when they could bring so much to light. They have so much insight into what has worked, what hasn't worked, and what may work.
Isn't this all waste, fraud, and abuse? I could go on and on and on. Of course, I only have 25+ years of observation of LASL and LANL to base my thoughts on.

Comments:
Why don't you leave like I did?
Why waste your time?
-- Recently resigned TSM.
 
10:39: So why you post it anonymously? Perhaps you think to come back and do not want to burn this opportunity.

Excellent post, indeed many managers destroying LANL go out without any consequences.
 
Wow -- what a perfectly bitter post (and responder 10:45 also -- "excellent post", LOL). This is nothing but drivel, and attacks managers, employees, and claims that everyone but the poster is bad. Doug, you elevated this to a top post? This could be from Chuck M. and Tommy H. -- it sounds exactly like what they were saying....but of course, since this is on the Blog, it reflects the evil management that to the person is just sick....yeah, right.

A new low for the blog. Well, that, and the fact that every time someone mentions Doug in a new article he immediately posts to the blog. No ego though.
 
I've seen 90% of what has been described. I hardly consider it "drivel". It is sad and we should change our ways. Thank you, Doug, for opening our eyes again.
 
Driven by envy supplemented by ignorance, senior leadership at Los Alamos cannot avoid the temptation to experiment with and destroy successful organizations. Any successful manager that is appreciated by his or her line/program organization and customer community is viewed as an heir contender to be brutally stamped out at the first opportunity. In the absence thus created, senior leadership compound their inane mistakes and lack of managerial prowess by creating weird and convoluted organizational structures that are devised not for efficiency or to encourage communication but to reward compliant and often guilty sycophants who sat in the shadows and nodded their approvals on cue.
 
Until Congress gets involved or LM decides to clean the stables when they take over, there isn't much you can do. I left this year, and believe me there is a whole big world of opportunities out there if you have talent. And you're right about change of station being a hold-out for bad managers.
 
A brief note to 8/02/2005 05:30:58 AM:

Any submission to the blog is considered for posting, and if the submission meets the posting guidelines it will be posted. This was not a comment which I chose to elevate, but a post submission. I am sorry it did not meet with your approval.

--Doug
 
Please tell us why you stayed?
 
I can sympathize with the original post. I have seen the same. I am sure management doesn't want it to get out how bad things are at LANL.
I don't think leaving is the only option, though a valid one. It is also important to resist to whatever degree possible the corruption that exists at LANL.
I once reported an ongoing case of theft to my group leader who did nothing. Everyone knew who the culprit was, yet my division leader who referred me to the HR person for the division, who gave me the phone number of Audits and Assessments. None of them were willing to deal with it. Luckily, I telephoned AA and they took care of the problem, though it took a while.
I know of another case where someone reported fraudulent use of overtime. He reported the problem to AA and nothing happened except that the people who were getting unneeded overtime were allowed to harass the person who reported it until he had to leave LANL.
I completely support lancing the boil at LANL. I do not expect to see Lockheed Martin improve the situtation, though. Look at the situation where the employee was illegally buying electronics on a Sandia credit card for a year before he was caught. If this is an example of LM management, then things will not improve when LM takes over.
LANL is managed for the egos of its management and not the efficient use of tax payer funding. But I hate to say that, because everytime there is a waste, fraud and abuse claim, they take away kleenex, or some other such "luxury" from ordinary employees while continuing to fund rampant abuse by managers.
I admire those who stay and LANL and keep on saying "the emperor(s) have no clothes".
 
Part, by no means all, of this problem relates to LANL personnel policy; AM202.28 prevents the reduction in pay of TSMs leaving management positions. Coupled with the practice of giving large promotional increases (even before and performance has been observed) this makes ex managers hard to place. Too expensive for research, they drift into overhead and back into management. A beginning to address this is to modify AM202. Yeah right, because the managers like it just the way it is! A rachet (racket) upward.
This is not UC policy, not on the campuses, not at the other UC Labs. Only at LANL, which does not use UC policy, does this absurdity exist. I hope this helps to explain why ex managers keep getting recycled, and how hard it is to change. The LANL personnel policies are the root of good bit of the LANL dysfunction. No approved by UC, which doesn't care, the current polices reflect mostly the destructive whims of Jim Jackson and Menlove.
Problem with keeping UC; is how do you get them to address these past failings?
 
This might be drivel, per the 5:30:58 post, but I know for a fact that the admin who followed the mentioned upper manager from Bechtel Nevada was hired on at $65,000.00/year and has already been reclassed to a SSM-2 at $71,500.00/year and she hasn’t work at the Laboratory a year. What are her qualifications? I understand she has no college. This same upper manager hired his Chief-of-Staff from the outside, who is the son of one of his cronies, and he is making $115,000.00/year. I can not believe that there was no one here at the Laboratory who was qualified or who would have liked the opportunity to make that kind of money. How many of you have worked at the Laboratory for many years and have had reclasses tuned down because our illustrious HR Division determined you didn’t deserve it, yet HR has allowed this particular upper manager to rewrite the rules. HR makes up the rules as they go. We can only hope that the new contractor cleans house and starts with HR.
 
The activities and purchases on taxpayer dollars that happen at LANL are a disgrace. And 8:31 was right: most of the managers exist to cover all this up.
 
I disagree with the comment made by 8/02/2005 09:46:51 AM. Most managers (group leaders, at least) are so busy jumping through their collective asses trying to satisfy the reporting requirements layered on them by the incredible bureaucratic nightmare that is Nanos' legacy, that they wouldn't have time to participate in a cover-up. What is sad is how many group leaders just say "Yes, Sir!" to each new mandated requirement in the continuing avalanche of downright stupid UC-inspired bean-counting exercises. Like STOP training, to just name one.
 
HR is a big joke. For those of us in the support series there is no career advancement. It is downright discrminatory. Promotions, reclass's are a joke. If you are not someones buddy, relative or ass kisser you can just forget it. The system is not based on work ethic and someones capabilities. Then these same idiots wonder why there is a morale problem at the lab.
 
I concur with the original poster's comments. To the critic, who said they sounded like Tommy or chuck, you sound like Bagdad Bob Fallin, "the Lab is good and if you don't like it leave". You are either blissfully ignorant or one of the beneficiaries of the malfeasance that is rampant at LANL!
 
Please tell us why you wasted 25 years in such a place?
 
Please, please, Paul Robinson, save us from UC!
 
The new energy bill has a provision that removes the reimbursement for legal fees that currently allows UC and others to fight lawsuits for years and have the government pay for it. Now, anyone with a case has a fighting chance, whether it be for reporting fraud, waste, abuse (as required by the contract and DOE regs), or reporting bogus technical work passed off as "world class".
 
Yeah, it's always the fault of the manager. It's never the worker who likes to ask "have you stopped beating your wife" questions at open meetings just for grins, or the one who hides in her cubicle all day long just surfing the web because she finished her assignment yesterday and hasn't gotten around to asking what's next. Why does she not have a list of tasks? Because the manager has learned that she just loses the list anyway.

What about the tech who just smiles and says "this stuff is complicated" while he takes 10 times as long to do the same task the manager did five years ago, and then acts surprised when the manager dings him on performance. Other tech in the same group are highly productive and cooperating with each other, but this loner is better than all the others.

What about the TSM who simply ignores the direct order of her group leader to do something she doesn't want to do? She knows the fact that she has a series of "good" performance appraisals in her history enables her to file a grievance if the GL fails to reward her consistently with past appraisals, and both parties know there's nothing the GL can do to enforce her order. This is where retaliation starts, but that seems to be a sanctioned activity. If disobedience to orders were an actionable offense, there would be a lot less retaliatory activity going on here.

I could go on and on, but the fact of the matter is, LANL is a collection of individuals, caught up in an ancient culture. The "independent fiefdoms connected by a common janitorial service" model has given us what we have today by encouraging turf defense and empire building at every level. This is what happens when you try to scale up the academic model.

Moving to the industrial model is already traumatic. The wailing and gnashing of teeth here and in the hallways has already reached deafining proportions with pushback against IWDs, project milestones, and other half-baked, prematurely rushed into practice ideas. Either way, with LM or Bechtel, they'll be bringing some fully-baked practices along with them. The crescendo of wailing will rise to a truly impressive level at that point.

So get ready. Either way, it's coming.
 
I hope 06:34:12 PM wasn't looking for an argument on the subject of LANL needing a good wildfire to clean out some of the deadwood that exists below the level of line manager.

Because he's not going to get one from me.
 
Amazing how sooooo many of the problems at los alamos are due to really poor managers, and the few really good people (that always post to the blog!) have had to sit by while the managers robbed the tax payer blind. I am from SNL, and I gotta tell you, you guys must really suck. All this time I have been jealous of the work coming to los alamos, but now the blog has enlighted me! Nothing is being done on the Hill! Managers are paying themselves overtime!

I also really love how the critics of UC can shout down any postive comments, and their posts are pissed all over. Only Douggie's dudes are really allowed to yell about how they have been treated.

I can't wait until you join our family. You are not going to last a week.
 
"Douggie's dudes" includes anybody who posts to the blog. That includes you, my anonymous dude.

You're welcome to stay at Sandia, btw.

--Doug
 
Please, please tell us why you
stayed 25 years in this hell hole??
 
Thanks to the original poster for enlightening us on the Facilities DL. No management acumen whatsoever. Lots of careers ruined by that character and his cronies. The DO-staff and his GLs were hand-picked pucker-mouths to be sure everything went his way.
 
6:34 has it exactly right. The "gnashing of teeth" and "crescendo of wailing" (great images, btw) will in fact start on Dec. 1 when the contract winner begins announcing the changes that have been in planning stages for months now. Regardless of which corporation wins, UC will be gone, and watch out if you eat from the UC rice bowl. No more tolerance of the "academic campus" mentality. Guess what kiddies, you're not graduate students any more. To those whose greying of the (scraggly) beard is the only thing that has changed about them in 25 years, watch out.
 
First the latest DL of FM div destroyed NMT-8,now he is well on his way to destroying all of the FMUs and ruining the careers of some very dedicated competant folks. I am embarrassed to work for the man. And before anyone say good riddance to the FMU's the reason we have such a hard time getting work done is because of the crap from above. We used to be allowed to work-not just fill out paperwork,do stop training, Atomics and answere audits.
 
I do not consider this post to be drivel. But I will say from experience, if you really want to 'stick it' to a LANL employee, report them to the Whistleblower Hot Line. Just fabricate some example of Waste Fraud and Abuse. I guarantee their life will be made a living Hell.
 
In the future I look gratefully for LockMart to combine at least ENG, FM, S, EMO, FIRE, and KSL into a leaner and more responsive organization. There is an amazing amount of duplication and dead-wood bloat.

With LockMart, you can kiss SUP and HR goodbye.

Gotta unload that overburden.
 
What amazes me is that LANL job ads will have REQUIRED SKILLS that say things like "Extensive knowledge of LANL policies and procedures", "Extensive knowledge of LANL organization", etc and then they post it as "open to all" and then hire someone from the outside with absolutely no idea of what we are about.

You can apply for a job... respond in detail to each required and desired and have 20 years of LANL experience and not even get an interview. And get a canned HR letter that says you didn't meet the job requirements. Or even get an interview and then realize you were just a data point in the HR matrix. It's like the job is already wired. Or they don't know who they want but they know who they don't want. HR - why not just get rid of you and let the hiring official do what he wants anyway..HR is totally ineffective-but really good this time of year establishing ORC limits, pay raise limits, enforcing salary management, and working managers through the grievance process, etc.

LANL won't reclass someone to the next higher level but they will hire someone from the outside at the higher level. And no career growth.. once you claw your way to a position you better settle in for a long haul because that's it for you unless you know or blow someone.

I have 3 decades of years here but just not quite old enough for leaving to be survivable. I certainly hope someone pays attention to what goes on and makes changes. I just can't pack in all in yet like some.

Add up all the salaries of Barb Stine, Bob Day, Tony Stanford, Fred Tarantino and his hired admin, Mitch Harris, Ray Wallace, Al Jiron, Carolyn Mangeng, Scott Gibbs, Vann Bynum, Dave Beck, Rich Mah, Rich Marquez, Don Cobb (I could keep going) and every other ineffective manager or former manager out there, etc and see what you come up with for numbers. Divide it all in half, run some job ads, and we could get people in here who actually can work and could could really whoop some ass and get something done. And save money. Some of the worst here are the Rocky Flats hand me downs. They came here like roaches escaping a flood and we end up with all of them spreading the Rocky Flats poison around. No wonder Rocky went away. We'll soon be the Los Alamos Environmental Research Park.

This lab is rampant with waste, fraud, and abuse. You don't have to steal or cheat the system. Just stay long enough and know someone and you can be one of them.

Just another $.02 from a DRIVELER and bitter poster.

Doug - thanks for NOT being a Jim "Baghdad Bob" Fallon and suppressing the voices of LANL.
 
We could be dealing with Aleene Jenkins (PM) on this committee. There does not exist a more unscrupulous liar within LANL. Count small blessings. You see she 'blows' to get what she wants or wherever she wants.
 
Now now now....Jenkins is not too far behind the 'Hoover Twins." Seen what is happening lately???
 
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