Monday, October 03, 2005

ADSR Emailgram - October 3, 2005

Submitted by Anonymous:


> From: Nancy Kurnath
> Date: 2005 October 03 09:53:05 MDT
> To:
> Subject: ADSR Emailgram - October 3, 2005
>> ADSR Emailgram
>> October 3, 2005
>> This week, the Director set up a hiring council to review all
>> personnel transactions: hires, conversions, internal transfers and
>> promotions. The purpose of the council is to assure that there is an
>> institutional rationale for hiring given the fiscal constraints of a
>> continuing resolution and projected decline in Defense Programs (DP)
>> funding. Unfortunately, shortly before the Director's announcement,
>> there was an internal communique in HR that announced a "hiring
>> suspension, effective immediately." This message was widely
>> circulated and interpreted as a "hiring freeze." To be honest, the
>> HR message caught me by surprise. Although the EB has been
>> discussing the need for a hiring policy and hiring council, there has
>> been no discussion of a hiring freeze. In fact, within the last
>> couple of weeks I have met with a number of groups regarding the
>> question of a freeze, in particular a freeze of post-conversions, and
>> I have stated that ADSR would continue to hire TSMs (including
>> post-doc conversions) until May 2006. The reason I was (and I still
>> am) confident that we will need to continue to fill the technical
>> ranks of the laboratory is reflected by the work force profile:
>> Directorate 2001 FTE 2005 FTE Total Change
>> ADSR 1754 1478 -276
>> ADA 1279 1367 +88
>> ADO/SFO/TS 1244 1713 +469
>> ADTR 1108 1283 +175
>> ADWEM 1483 1770 +287
>> ADWP 1924 2093 +169
>> The total number of employees in ADSR is down 276 in the last 5
>> years, and this decline is most significant in the TSMs. The table
>> does not include students, which has remained constant at about 350
>> in ADSR. In short, the lab has grown in the last five years, but the
>> science divisions have seen significant declines in numbers of TSMs.
>> The largest growth in employees has been in the ranks of SSMs. The
>> SSM series includes administrative and managerial jobs in
>> non-technical professional and administrative staff occupations. SSM
>> jobs are in general recognized professional or administrative
>> occupations that require specialized knowledge normally gained
>> through the combination of a bachelor's degree (or higher) and
>> relevant, progressively responsible experience. Since 2001 there has
>> been an increase of 873 SSMs (compared to an increase of 264 TSMs Lab
>> wide).
>> The hiring council is reviewing the present job searches and
>> advertisements. This amounts to more than 1,000 job actions, which
>> is clearly not sustainable in the present environment of a
>> constrained budget. Further, in my opinion, the job mix that is
>> presently being advertised is not in the best interest of the
>> Laboratory if it is to remain the preeminent national security
>> science center. LANL has a strategic hiring plan and it states:
>> "In the implementation of the Laboratory's primary core mission, a
>> vigorous science-based stockpile stewardship program will be
>> conducted to maintain confidence in the safety, reliability, and
>> performance of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile. This program
>> requires the development and utilization of a revolutionary new suite
>> of computational and experimental facilities coupled with a creative
>> program of theoretical science. A second core national security
>> mission will be pursued in threat reduction. The programs embodied in
>> this component of our mission are designed to prevent the
>> proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, provide technical
>> underpinnings for arms control initiatives, develop non-nuclear
>> military technologies, and provide analyses and advanced technologies
>> to protect our nation's critical infrastructure. As a third
>> component of the Laboratory's mission, a set of programs will be
>> developed and implemented to provide technical solutions to other
>> strategic problems affecting global security, including those related
>> to energy and environmental security, and the application of
>> bioscience to strategic national needs. The programs carrying out
>> these mission elements will be designed and managed to assure that
>> they are synergistic and mutually supportive. Further, to be
>> effective, these programs must call upon strong scientific and
>> engineering capabilities that are of high quality and of the
>> appropriate size and breadth to meet present and future programmatic
>> needs."
>> Clearly, "programmatic needs" is the engine for staffing plans. The
>> TSM rank carries much of burden for science and program, although the
>> support for the science through the TECH, OS, AS and SSM series are
>> essential. Within ADSR the balance between TSM and SUPPORT appears
>> to be near optimal for the most part. Retirements, transfers, or
>> personnel leaving ADSR (any job classification) must be addressed or
>> the program will suffer.
>> I believe that the hiring council will bring some much needed fiscal
>> reality and a reimplementation of the LANL strategic plan. It will
>> cause a delay in some hiring actions and cancel others. However, I
>> believe that the focus on revitalizing the science base will be great
>> for ADSR, and consequently, for maintaining the science base. We
>> will move forward in hiring the best and brightest. I know that many
>> of you, especially those of you that are post-docs, are quite
>> concerned about your future potential for employment at LANL. Within
>> ADSR, we have had to manage to budget and budget risk for a decade.
>> These same constraints will now be applied to the entire laboratory.
>> Consequently, I expect that the hiring council will not have a
>> significant impact on ADSR hiring practices.

"I believe that the hiring council will bring some much needed fiscal reality and a reimplementation of the LANL strategic plan."

the fiscal reality is that the hiring council will cost about $1750/hour, burdened.
So, in spite of the hiring frenzy due to the Contingent Worker Project (converting all of the contract personnel to UC/Regular), ADSR has had a 15% reduction in personnel since 2001. Of course, it's actually worse than that when the number of added SSMs, ASMs, and OS are taken into account.

What does this mean? Well, as I see it, the ADSR is where the SCIENCE is done. So, a lot less science is being done since 2001.
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