Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Just taking a crap on the toilet costs about $50 per flush

A nugget of truth buried deep among the comments on an old post:


[...] I would guess that around 65% of LANL workers are now living off the various tax rates, overhead charges, LDRD, worker displacement funds, etc. The solution is easy, though. We'll just have to tack on a higher tax rate to all incoming funds. That's been the trend for several years now. It's been LANL management's quick and easy solution. Of course, it also ends up eating the seed corn, but what does management care? Right now, I suspect LANL management is trying desperately to hide the true scope of our poor financial situation.

Too many people want to go for a free ride on the LANL wagon and very few are willing to help pull it by bringing in new funding. I sometimes wonder -- exactly where do many of the people at LANL think the money for their salaries comes from? Do they think the US Government Men-in-Black come by and just dump the cash into LANL's lap. Maybe the NNSA Fairy puts the money under our pillows at night?

With our ultra-high FTE costs, it quickly become an almost hopeless tasks to bring in any new funding. Many TSMs who use to bring in funds are now without funding and are despondent over this situation. In most cases, these are people who don't like being a burden on their fellow staff members. But, with our ultra-high FTE costs, new policy burdens, and lack of meaningful support for the "support" side, these formerly productive TSMs will have only a slight chance of finding any new funding sources. They'll also be the first people to go when the RIF finally hits.

Soon enough, the LANL wagon will slowly grind to a halt. When it does, you can expect many of those who have been riding comfortable in the back of the wagon for a very long time to get mad as hell and demand that something be done about it. Perhaps the only solution at this time is to open the tailgate and begin to lighten the load. The first ones out the tailgate should probably come from the ranks of upper management and their bloated support staffs. Of course, that will never happen. If someone has a better solution, please let us all know about it. I getting mighty embarrassed asking sponsors to fork over $400 K per year to pay for my time. At that rate, just taking a crap on the toilet costs about $50 per flush.

Why are good scientists wasting their time with LANL? Look how you would be treated if you worked for Google. Free gourmet food: morning, noon, and night. What are you people waiting for? A free black limousine with chauffeur? Life is short. Live it well.


At Google, Hours Are Long, But the Consomme Is Free

By Sara Kehaulani Goo
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 24, 2007; Page F01


Foie gras egg rolls. Just-shucked oysters. Bay scallop seviche. This is the lunch menu at Google. And it is free if you work there. That goes for breakfast and dinner, too.

The world's most pampered employees feast on meals prepared by chefs hired from some of the top Bay Area restaurants. Just before noon, workers are e-mailed the daily menus at 11 themed "cafes" scattered across the company's suburban campus.

One cafe (don't call it a cafeteria) features fresh sushi every day; another, fresh-squeezed juice and "raw" food. One serves a rotating menu from each of the seven continents, another, food from different regions of the United States. Depending on which cafe you choose, lunch can transport you -- or at least your stomach -- to an exotic locale far from the bland office park: Will today be Indian tarka dal or Mexican carnitas tacos? Basque tapas or Beijing-style braised ribs?

...For the 10,000 employees of Google, most of whom work at the Mountain View campus, the food has become deeply entwined with the company culture and identity. The search engine, which prides itself as an innovator in technology, takes the same approach with its food: It won't settle for ordinary mashed potatoes. No; Google supports local farming, organic produce, hormone-free meats and healthful eating.

"The quality of the food is almost unbelievably good. You tell people, and they don't believe you," said Charles Haynes, an engineering manager.

Better make it $100 per flush for those days when you're a bit constipated from the food at LANL's cafeteria.
" Why are good scientists wasting their time with LANL?"

Don't look now, many (most?) of the good ones have already left.
NEW LANL POLICY: To save money, toilets in all LANL restrooms can now only be flushed once per day. This new policy does not apply to the toilets in the LANS Executive Suite restrooms.
It did not take a whole lot of foresight to see this coming. When Nanos shut the lab down in July, 2004, it only took a couple of weeks before WFO sponsors started to pull their money back. In the following 7 months, the WFO component of the budget quickly plunged from about 23%, pre-shutdown -- about $560 million, to near zero which is where it now hovers.

Now, exactly how much rocket science was required to observe this trend, and to recognize that LANL's new management has positively no interest nor capability to do whatever was necessary to regain the trust of those WFO sponsors? Not much.

Look around you; how many of your colleagues don't work there any more? The ones who are gone, they are the smart ones. The rest of you are just a bit slow on the uptake.
A question comes to mind, "What are these people charging their time to) Is there a general fund that employees can charge to? I know that I must work on programs that I charge my time to? What"s going on, and how does our management justify so many people charging their time to "Overhead", thats why the overhead cost is skyrocketing...It must be an accounting nightmare....
It depends on what you are working on, there are still small "pockets of wealth" but overall the funding is going down, and the (bloated Overhead) continues to break records. If private enterprize had the type of overhead that we have here at LANL they would, not only go out of business, but would be the laughing stock of the business world. LANL has no business plan, never has had one and doesn't intend to get one. Why should they? They don't have to show a profit. But one thing is clear, "Good Scientists, good engineers'and good technicians, will soon leave" and you know what will be left behind......
I would not even mind paying the ultra-high FTE costs if I actually got the first-class services that I am paying for. Can't buy anyhing, can't get waste picked up, my buidling only gets limited cleaning now, can't get the sidewalks shoveled outside my office when it snows, can't get KSL to repair anything, now I won't get reimbursed for interviewees or visitors ... etc. But we were promised by Mike that LANS would make things better, cheaper, faster. I am not a business expert, but I do not understand how DOE/NNSA thinks this is acceptable performance by the new management team considering the huge salaries these yahoos are taking in. Can someone explain this to me?
Well, let's just see now. $400,000 per year is $192.31 per hour. If it costs $50 to take a crap, then the duration of the crap would be 50/192 or 15.625 minutes. I guess when you account for all the extra paperwork at LANL, that sounds about right.
Saw this whole senario happen at SRS. The workforce went from 22K to 8K. Everyone received a 120 day RIF notice. Looks like those RIF notices could very well be in the mail.....

We need to suck it up, and find our courage and turn this around. Instead of the passive waiting for the bucks to arrive, we need to go after them. We have become complacient and have enjoyed being persued. We are in a new day, we must persue the funding,hard.

We are smarter than to just sit back and whimper.....get up...get out there! We can not let our reputation fade and the Lab tank.

There are so many new exciting technologies we can go after...and they will listen to us right now. Save this ship, as it will take all of us to join together and ride this pony.

We need to make management roll up their sleeves and come out of their ivory towers and commit to the mission of saving this institution! They need to put people in positions that can deliver, not their cronies that do not have a clue!
"Can someone explain this to me?"

Easy. NNSA/DOE dont care about FTE costs! They don't want WFO. They don't want diversified science. They don't want a majority of the staff who currently work here.

They do want a plutonium pit production facility, and for that they are willing to write a blank check to LANL to support those left to run RFS (Rocky Flats, South) after the upcoming RIFS, retirements, and voluntary departures have run their course.
From 1/23/2007 6:51 PM on the "Mitchell, Again" post.

"...They've already promised us we won't have a RIF. What more do you people want?"

Please let me know what you heard or read that you think constitutes that "promise" we won’t have a RIF. Personally, the latest words I recall from the Director are along the lines of we have no plans for a RIF.

So where are we now? LANS management appears to estimate that there will be a NET headcount decrease of 500 LANS employees and 250 contractors at LANL during FY07. LANS employee attrition is assumed to occur through terminations and retirements. Presumably this estimate is based on historical data. I recall the Director stating that some n-hundred of these people would not be replaced, i.e., LANL will absorb the attrition.

So far in FY07, through the end of December, there has been a NET decrease in headcount at LANL of 23 LANS employees and 5 contractors.
My craps cost WAY more than your craps. Try $200 per flush. But then, you'all are paying for them with taxes and overhead charges. I hope you enjoy them immensely!

-- Mikey --
C'Mon Poster 1/25/2007 10:07 AM, don't you realize that the 1/23/2007 6:51 PM -"Mitchell, Again" poster is obviously a high-level manager (Deputy AD or above) at LANS? Nobody thinks these are good people or highly qualified managers with our best interests at heart.
As regards the "crapper" situation: Let it be known that the urinals in the NSSB 4th floor have not flushed for 22 days, at least--some say since before Christmas. LANS, LLC, has managed to get some real value for money here, and we can expect more to come in the next few months. Especially when the pee-in-a-cup program gets underway.
As one of numerous ex-LANL TSMs who left for a much more sane and productive workplace, I concur that yes, indeed, LANL [excuse me, now LANS] management ****loves**** overhead. If they could charge 100 percent of everything to overhead they would. When I was still there my entire division office staff was on overhead, and doing basically nothing all day. These folks have no incentive to go out and bring in outside competitive funding - why bother when you can charge vacations and all sorts of bogus travel, conferences, and other recreational activities to overhead? LANL management has brought all this on themselves, and in the meantime lost a ton a talented staff while getting taken over by Bechtel. Let them lie in their own graves.
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