Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wilmot: Contract will be on time?



DARRYL NEWMAN, Monitor Staff Writer

Although the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Administration site manager could not comment too much on the contract for the rebidding of Los Alamos National Laboratory management, he did share with the county council the progress that has been made as part of a Tuesday night council meeting.

DOE/NNSA Site Manager Ed Wilmot expressed his certainty that the lab contract will be awarded by the Dec. 1 date that was set.

"The source evaluation official, the person involved in making the selection, was in town last week working with the board," he said. "They are very close to making very strong recommendations. I was very impressed with the source selection official."

Wilmot included comments made by DOE Secretary Linton Brooks stemming from a visit last week.

[...]

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Comments:
While the contract award may be announced on December 1, the hot rumor is that the actual transition to the new LLC will come October 1, as the property accounting and bookkeeping problems argue for an end-of-fiscal year turnover. Don't burn any bridges yet.
 
I admit, I'm confused by the following:

"The source evaluation official, the person involved in making the selection, was in town last week working with the board," he said. "They are very close to making very strong recommendations. I was very impressed with the source selection official."

Wilmot included comments made by DOE Secretary Linton Brooks stemming from a visit last week. "He said we can't go wrong with either proposal and he was very interested," Wilmot said. "He felt exceptionally good about what he has seen."

So on one hand we have the source selection official ready to make "strong" recommendations, which sounds like someone has a clear edge. On the other hand, Administrator Brooks says NNSA can't go wrong with either proposal, which sounds like there is no clear leader. What's wrong with this picture?
 
What is confusing you, Educated, is a simple CYA maneuver by NNSA. They can't claim to have a clear winner yet, so for public consumption it is stated that they have two good, strong candidates. When in fact they don't, they have only one good candidate. But they can't say that. Yet.
 
The open question here is the gorilla in the closet, Pete Domenici. If he stays out of it, look for LM to win. DOE folks have a real belly full of UC arrogance and incompetence. The LANL/UC folks are depending on Pete to save their lousy skins. Will he? Has even Pete had enough? This would make an interesting, one episode, soap opera, with Pete singing "God Bless America" as the curtain descends.
 
Dominici to UC: "Just get over it!"
 
Hey! Get it straight: his identity, as he sings "God Bless America" while the curtain descends, is

St. "Just-Get-Over-It" Pete.
 
Supposing the outcome of the NNSA competition for the O&M for Los Alamos based on statements like poster “lucky” are ridiculous. First, neither LM nor UC bid for LANL. Although both are principle partners in their respective LLCs, they must operate within that LLC. We have seen nothing about how LANS or LAA will actually operate. The RFP was pretty specific about expectations, and you can be reasonably sure that both LLCs wrote good proposals. Second, the scoring on the proposals is very specific, and past performance of the various partners only plays a small role. Both UC and LM have pretty mixed track records (doubt this? See LM in Idaho). Third, the complaint that the only way UC wins (who did not bid) is if Domenici weighs in – this is just plain ignorant. Domenici has two labs he stewards: LANL and SNL. In fact, in recent years he has porked more money to SNL than LANL. Domenici does not favor UC over LM. Walk into the Washington office of Domenici, and go to his chief of staff. In the middle of the office is a huge LM picture.

I suspect that the proposals were/are evaluated fairly. The criteria are the key personnel (the Lab Director is the most important, so compare Anasatasio and Robinson), the business systems (you can bet that the UC business systems were not bid by LANS), and plans for operations. Domenici will not be the deciding factor – besides, who would he back?
 
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