Saturday, October 01, 2005

Lab Chief Plans to 'Constrain Hiring'

By Mark Oswald
Of The Journal

Los Alamos National Laboratory director Robert Kuckuck has set forth a plan to "constrain hiring" at the lab in the face of an expected budget decline over the next two years.

In an e-mail to all LANL employees this week, Kuckuck announced creation of a Laboratory Hiring Council to review all job postings and hiring requests.

"Our objective is to manage a stable work force and a sound fiscal profile," Kuckuck wrote.

Kuckuck's plan is not a hiring freeze, stressed lab spokesman Jim Fallin.

"Thinking of it that way represents a complete misunderstanding," Fallin said.


Full Story

The memo says "At the direction of the Laboratory Director, HR has been advised to suspend all hiring actions, both internal and external, as well as all supplemental staffing actions."

I believe that is the definition of a hiring freeze.

Bagdad Bob Fallin spins again!
...again, punish the lab because HR is incompetent. Good choice. Let the valauble workers flee the storm of incompetence
What's funny about this is that there are program areas that have more funding than staff. Way to go management!
There is no excuse for this hiring action. Unless we look internally, and realize how much management has failed. Failure seems to be the M.O.
"There is no excuse for this hiring action" -- ah, yet another expert opinion on the blog! When the lab management does not do something, they are do-nothing slugs. When they do something, they are total failures.

The lab faces tremendous stress from the Continuous Resolution, requirements from DoE to pay for the transition to a new contractor, and then even after the budget is passed, a significant decrease in the weapons program. So......the lab decides to examine the hiring practice, assure that there is uniformity across the lab, and then assure that hires do not increase the overhead. But, this obvious management action, is attacked as poor management.

I find this fascinating! There is absolutely nothing the Lab "management" could do except self-immolation that would be greated with kudos by the blog. Why?
As stated by others, most at LANL, including management and non-management employees, seem to have very little connection to fiscal reality. So when fiscal reality intrudes its ugly head, there is bound to be surprise, bewilderment, fear and indecision.
Because, 10:55, too many people who post to this blog relish their passive-aggressive disfunctional relationship with the Lab. As long as they can say "I am powerless.. the lab has all the cards." they can bitch and moan about how everything is a failure around them. They never want to look at themselves and realize that the big failure is that theirselves for not a) trying to make things better or b) leaving. [I tried A, and then I did B.. I took a big pay-cut, and had to move my family etc.. but they and I are a lot happier.].

And now they will post a lot of stuff about how its not their fault.. but the fault of X, Y, Z etc. And they will make names of people because they feel that it gives them power over others.
Two things:

First, if we are going to have a hiring freeze, then we need a program to move people from unfunded to funded programs. A few years ago we had this "Workforce Mobility" program and it actually worked.

Second, if we are going to get better, then circling the wagons will not help. Continuing to hire and having a RIF would allow us to get rid of the poor performes. I know that would be difficult to do right, but it can be done.
1:01, I assume you are talking VERIP as part of any RIF process?

Also, I note that you talk about moving people from unfunded to funded programs. Do you foresee any skills matching problems, or are we indeed, as many suggest, interchangeable pieces?

Similarly, since essentially all overhead/support functions are accounted for off the top of funded programs, it would appear on the face of it that they are funded. Do these employees need to worry about any of this?
NO! From a management point of view, use of a VERIP causes the organization to lose control of the makeup of its workforce. You have no control over who leaves when you have a VERIP. With a RIF, management gets to select those who will depart.The very likely outcome of a VERIP (as we learned the last time) is that senior-level, highly-skilled individuals depart at a time when you have had no opportunity for succession planning.

Yes, I know that this sounds cruel, but there is a constant thread on this blog about putting LANL on a business-like basis. A RIF instead of a VERIP is part of that.

Also, I don't think that you can do a UCRS VERIP at only LANL.

And, yes, it is true that trying to do workforce mobility will run into some skills match problems. That is where the RIF comes in. Regardless, prior to doing a RIF, the organization must try to move unfunded people to funded positions to the extent that there is a decent match.

Indeed, the overhead and support organizations get thiers first. They establish their budgets and then the taxes are applied. If there is going to be any success in this, then there will have to be a very close look taken at the mission, size, and cost of the overhead and support organizations. That also means looking at the Division, Associate Directors', and Program Offices. Clearly, it will be very difficult to justify a Morale Officer in times of financial exigency!
Geez! Can't you guys stop yourselves? RIF, RIF, RIF; that's all I hear. St. Pete says, like he did to Sig's RIF lo these many years ago, "NO! Those are my constituents, and I want them to keep voting straight Republican in 2006, so that we retain the tight-fisted control we enjoy over all of Washington, DC. Wait 'til AFTER the election in 2006 for your goddamn RIF!"

Listen to St. Pete. Take a deep breath.

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