Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Are the "substantial costs of transition" due to new managers?

Submitted by Anonymous:


Upper Lab management summary of the hiring freeze--no, wait, let's not
call it a freeze; let's call it a...constipation.

Since last October the Lab has hired 118 external UCpeople plus a
number of postdoc conversions.
Given a best guess at attrition (retirees, etc.) and the FY06budget,
management projected that the Lab might be able to hire about 300
external (UC) in FY06.

* Since then, the FY06 budget has gone down (e.g., just 3-4 weeks
agothe weapons RTBF budget was hit by an $80M reduction).
* Contrary to whatNNSA told LANL earlier, it looks like there will be
substantial costs of the
transition to LANS that will now come out of LANL's FY06 budget.
* Attrition may be less than anticipated--fewer planned retirementsare
in the queue now than this time last year.

Institutionally, Lab management is very concerned about the FTE level
for the rest of FY06. General priorities for hiring external people:
* Must be truly exceptional
* Early career
* In the best long-term interest of the Lab, rather than hired
primarily todo a very specific job that may be too narrowly focused
* Good indication why the person's skills can't be found within the Lab
(i.e., shift an existing personto do the job).

Question: Do these hiring criteria apply to new managers, too, or are
they so important as to be exempt?
Question: Are the "substantial costs of transition" due to new managers
and their increased salaries?
Question: Is a lower rate of attrition due to the lull before the
storm, namely, the release of details about retirement and benefits to
be disclosed in March?

Of course the transition will cost a lot. The discouraging part is that so far the plan is to keep all the AD's. So we get an expensive transistion because all the letter heads will how have to be changed, but not doing any substantial good.
And yes, this is the quiet before the storm. The younger retirees are simply waiting to get in the last few months of longevity and service before announcing their retirement. If they announce now, they will lose travel assignments, interesting projects. Most prefer to stay busy until they leave.
The problem in the past was that UC would not clean out bad management. Apparently that will not change. But what did UC ever know about management? I had hoped that Bechtel would help, but early indications are not good.
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