Thursday, January 19, 2006

Press Release

Source: Los Alamos National Security, LLC

Los Alamos National Security, LLC Briefs Lab Employees on Transition Plans, Leadership Team
Thursday January 19, 4:00 pm ET

LANS Approach Focuses on Scientific Excellence, Safety, Security, Best Business Practice

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- In one of a series of transition meetings being held with employees of Los Alamos National Laboratory, designated Laboratory Director Michael Anastasio today gave an update on the transition and provided additional details about Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) and its skilled management team of nuclear experts and industry leaders. LANS was selected in December 2005 by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage and operate the Laboratory.

Our management team and approach will foster, with your support, an environment of continued scientific excellence that also emphasizes program accomplishments, effective safety and security, best business practices, and efficient processes to free up resources for research and development," said Anastasio, who, in addition to being the incoming director, is president of LANS.

[...]

Full Story



Comments:
Take a gander at the key personnel and ask if the Lab's commitment to equal opportunity and diversity just means a pair of white women to offset the nineteen white men. Sends a disturbing message, it does.
 
I think the entire smoke screen speech missed the most vital part of which all of us are concerned about. That would be who retires under the UCRP system and when do we have to be out the door in order to remain on the UCRP that has the 200,000 people in it. We are not interested in that measly little UCRP-LANL offer that you laid on the table yesterday in San Diego. So the next time Mike, focus on what is important to the people. I can assure you that you have taken a back seat to our livelihood and retirement benefits. This time it is you that is the expendable commodity.
 
jim hill:

I think you meant LANS LLC's, i.e., Mike's, commitment to equal opportunity and diversity. And I could not agree with you more. What was the selection board thinking on this? Obviously nada.
 
Understand our new deputy-director-to-be (VP, Second-in-command, or whatever) had Nanos as an understudy. Sheesh!

Quite a rogues' line-up today with some of these guys that have other interests than their staff as they have demonstrated at their present home bases...Pantex, Oak Ridge, Y-12, etc. They have been in the papers before.
 
B-ohica, what are you talking about? The vote today was to move all inactive and retirees to the UCRP-LANL plan. There is no option to remain in the UCRP primary plan. "when do we have to be out the door in order to remain on the UCRP" is meaningless now. There is no such option, short of the regents undoing what was done today.
 
That says we are screwed in a nut shell? I continue to hear that if you retire before the contactor takes over you will retire on the primary UCRP plan. That's the one wiht the most people in it. That is the word al LLNL as of 1:00 , but here I see that there is no such option. More reason then ever to seek legal counsel.
 
It looks to me like the best option is to take the lump sum in lieu of the annuity if at all possible. I intend to start the paperwork soon.
 
Mike made no mention of LANS being comprised of very large corporations and UC is actually a "small business" chartered in the State of Delaware and eligible for federal preferential treatment for a five year period. Five years does not make it to the end of the seven year contract. What happens to five-year vesting if cut off early.

Mike made no mention of promises previously made by Tyler P. with respect to UC pensioners staying in UCRS.

All appears lost.
 
MICHAEL MALLORY
Associate Director for Stockpile Manufacturing

wow!! "Manufacturing"??? Sounds as if DOE is going to model your site after “Los Arzamas” :)
 
For those of us who couldn' hear Kuckuck's comments about the retirement/pension issue could someone please post the promises made about some kind of DOE guarantees? Will this be in writing, or will it be "we told you that you could retire under UC before June 1, but then we reneged. But you can trust us now."
 
A question for anyone at LANL who attended Mike's talk or who might know the answers to...

1. From an organizational structure standpoint, are LANS LLC and LANL interchangeable names?

2. Mike is both the President of LANS LLC and Director of LANL, so are there non-LANL staff that work just for the LLC and Mike?

3. Mike only reports to the Board of Governance, so it appears that both Foley and Dynes are superfluous when it comes to decision making at LANS LLC and how it runs LANL. Is the correct?

If I read the press releases right, this structure seems to give total power, authority, and autonomy to the "leadership team" at LANL - given that they are also LANS LLC's leadership team and most governance boards only meet a few times a year.
 
LANL will still be LANL but rather than managed by the University of California it will be LANL, managed by LANS, LLC. Now profit making rather than non-profit. Board of directors, etc. Over a 7 year contract there is over $.5B at stake for the 4 partners so big changes are coming. Some good. Some bad. Lots of inefficiencies will be gotten rid of. Employees will be expendable if they are not performing. Managers are fully expendable as I see it. If you can't manage you'll be replaced. Upward appraisals have always showed that, overall, LANL did not deal with poor performers well. That will now change. And we always said get rid of poor managers.

I do think that the big UC will be mainly out of the picture. No Foley or Dynes as we now know them.

The inactive vested option is there but why even take it. Three viable options left are fully retire and take lump sum (fully realizing that you are giving up all benefits from UCRP-LANL like medical, dental, etc), fully retire with annuity, and rolling over to the new LLC with most everything you have now (for at least a short time frame).

As I understood Anastasio the UCRP-LANL pot would slowly get smaller because there would be no contributions to it. People will retire and retirees will die and 50 or so years from now the pot will be zero. But the "new" retirement plan that is now at zero will grow bigger due to contributions from employer and employee and will then become "the" plan.

I guess I'm getting complacent about the whole thing. I probably tend to be more idealist than most. I hired into LASL and was leery when we became LANL, but nothing changed. This will probably not be any different.

We may not be able to change any of this so might as well make a decision that you are happy with and move on. If we all dwell on this too much quality of life goes away. Better off to just get a life back on track. If things start to get really bad then make a decision to leave. Given what has been layed out all the same options will be there. Age/years multipliers may stay the same (for a while). Lump sum cashout will probably still be there. You will probably give up the sick leave to service conversion. So take a sick day every week or so.

I'm sure I'll get blasted for this opinion, but for me I now have better things to do than think and worry about all this. I have a life to live.
 
butthead's post gives good advice.
However, for those who are in the declining UCRP-LANL plan and will be for probably a few decades may feel differently, since their retirement may be at risk compared to them staying in the whole UCRP plan. For current employees not intending to retire in the next few months, it is a moot point.
 
For clarification, I am in the plan... I am 55 with 28 yrs. I've worked in 8 divisions at the Lab. I've been a tech all the way up to Group Mgmt. I've had good managers and bad. I've been a good manager and got the crap beat out of me. I've fallen on swords and no one cared. I'm just ready to finish up 5 or so years and wrap a career up. Maybe new management will start to implement some of the processes I believe in. I've tried to remove poor performers and now I am no longer mgmt because of my work ethic.

I guess I'm just tired and want everything to move on and stabilize. I'm a believer in the story about change. You pull your hand out of a bucket of water and there are waves and turmoil. But it all smooths out. Put a hand back in and the process repeats. All this will come to pass. Everyone will survive. Some will be unhappy. Some will be happy. We will all be fine. This is life.
I don't think anyone is out there to do any of us in. I do think this is just doing good business. We will all do fine. People come. People go. Programs come. Programs go. In light of the economy enjoy that we all have jobs, we all have a mission, we all live in a great part of the country. Things could be very much worse.
 
Butthead, I think you missed one point in your analysis. If you roll
over into LANS Pension One (the "rich" one for current staff), you
will, like URCP-LANL, also be in a die-ing pension. The only pension
that will grow its pool with time will be LANS Pension Two (for new
hires). Of course, this pension will be set by contract law to be only
104% of market rates, so it will be far less "rich" than the benefits
offered in LANS Pension Two. And to get into the "poorer" Pension Two,
you'll have to either (1) retire now, and try to get re-hired, or (2) go
inactive into UCRP-LANL and accept a mandatory job offer, but at a
possible reduction in salary. Also, there may be a vesting period to
get into LANS Pension Two. The vesting period for the current LANL
pension is five years. Thus, if you are 50+ and thinking of getting
into Pension Two as a back-up plan, it doesn't look like you'll
have any time left in your work-life to make it worthwhile. You'll
also lose the accumulative build-up in pension cash that comes during
the last 10 years of a continuous 30 year work-life at LANL.

For many employees, the logical plan will probably be a roll-over
into the new LANS Pension One and just hope for the best. Since LANL
employee trust in both UC and DOE is now at all time lows, it's
going to be a gut-wrenching choice. It appears that UC and DOE have
already lied to us in their promise that current retirees would be
unaffected by the RFP. Bigger lies may be awaiting us in the future.
But that is life in America these days, and there isn't much we can
do about it, unless the public decides to make a change in Congress.
Most of our Congress now works on a blatant "cash-and-carry" basis,
and they no longer have the best interest of America's middle class
at heart.
 
Opps, made a typo:

"it will be far less rich than the benefits offered in LANS Pension Two"

was suppose to say: "less rich than the benefits in LANS Pension One."


WIth this huge mess of UCRP, UCRP-LANL, LANS Pension One, LANS Pension Two,
inactive employees, etc, etc, etc, it getting harder and harder to keep
clear on the terminology.
 
Here come the beltway bandits.
 
Do we really need 10 Associate Directors? It would appear that Anastasio is invoking the Livermore model that has been so successful in managing the NIF Project.

And, why were none of the new AD positions advertised?

With the large amount of money at stake, I can see a lot of motivation to show short-term successes, often contrived.
 
I count 16 ADs.
 
16 ADs, plus their associated staff, and not one of them will give
a damn about the huge overhead burden they will be placing on lab
staff costs. TSM FTE costs for FY '07 are going to rise from already
ridiculous levels. And note well what Kuckuck said when answering
the last question on Thursday. We are $100 million in the hole.
Add in the fact that DOE has made it clear they will not be giving
LANL extra money for the transition, plus add in $80 million for the
management fee, GRT taxes, and coverage of pension shortfalls. What
does it all spell? A probable RIF in late FY '07. They'll call it
a fancy new name, but if the money is not there, it's only a matter
of time before the head count must be reduced. Cover your bases for
FY' 07 funding. Your going to need every dollar you can locate to
protect your job (that is, unless you are an AD or you work within
one of the bloated AD's staff). If you were hoping that things
would calm down a bit after the new contract takes place, you may
be very disappointed in the next few years.
 
I was watching the telecast with a good friend of mine (both of us femals TSMs). We both of us looked at each other and commented: "I wonder if LANL still values diversity because I sure don't see it in the new management team." I almost called in and asked the same question but then decided not to.
 
Unless of course, diversity is defined as management representatives from Pantex, Y-12, INEL, SRS, LLNL ;-)
 
Well LLNL's AD run Directorates are somewhat lined up into...

Program Directorates that get the research work/$$$ into the Lab;
- Defense & Nuclear Technologies
- NIF
- Nonproliferation, Arms Control & International Security
- Homeland Security
- Energy & Environment
- Physics & Advance Technologies
- Biosciences

Support Directorates that support these directorates with people & facilities;
- Chemistry & Materials Science
- Engineering
- Computations

and Institutional Directorates that support the whole lab;
- Safety & Environmental Protection
- Administration & HR
- Laboratory Services

It looks like Mike is going with a similar model for LANL...

... also, 3 of LLNL ADs and the Deputy Director for Science & Technology (soon to be acting Lab Director) are female... so maybe UC's partners had a big hand in picking the new LANS LLC/LANL senior leadership.
 
David:

I notice that you don't sound quite so pro-UC after this latest disclosure regarding their desire to split off all LANL retirees from the UC program.

Accurate observation?

-Doug
 
good2go, what makes you think LANS is finished appointing ADs? Those were just the ones that were bid.
 
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