Friday, February 02, 2007
Thanks, Sam (Seriously, this time)
Stay tuned, some of the ugly underbelly of LANL and DOE management is about to hit the presses, literally. Stay tuned.
-Pat, the Pit Bull
----- And from an Anonymous contributor: -----
Pat, I hope you bite Bodman right in the crotch and rip his... oh, wait, he doesn't have any, does he?
If he did, he'd have said, "Organizational culture is a product of management, regulations, organizational structure, and individual behavior, and the Laboratory has really struggled with the first three while its staff have taken the blame for management problems over which they have little control. Here's a list of what we're fixing, why we think these fixes are important, and milestones for demonstrating success in improving our management practices."
He'd have followed this with, "I'm proud to say that Los Alamos is a national treasure and a DOE laboratory peopled by talented secretaries, scientists, technicians, engineers, and other dedicated staff. Individual arrogance is the least of LANL's problems."
Oh, and the crowning statement would have been, "I personally apologize to every employee at Los Alamos for the upheaval and stress of the past few years. I will personally work with Congress and with LANL staff to identify and implement changes that make management of this very complicated institution more effective."
Maybe I should nominate myself as Energy Secretary.
[Dear Anon: Your sensible nature and the lack of a recognizable name preclude your being considered for DOE Sec'y. Sorry.
Bodman is not going to like it.
Remember how glad we were when, 9 months after Nanos' misbegotten Shutdown, UC finally--finally!--handed Pete his Golden Parachute and floated him down to a spot in DC?
Well, now we hear Nanos' words coming out of the mouth of Bodman ... Jesus wept.
LANL is no longer a fun place to work.
LANL is no longer a safe place to work.
LANL is no longer a place to do science.
LANL is no longer a place to do much of anything.
LANL is no longer a place to make your career.
LANL is no longer respected by Congress.
LANL is no longer respected by the public.
LANL is no longer respected by your future employer.
LANL is not going to get better.
LANL is no longer LANL.
If you think a deep-seated culture of arrogance at LANL exists among the scientists, then don't pussy-foot around with half-hearted measures any longer. Those half-hearted measures have been going on now for over six years. Shut it down. I know of no other way in which to purge deep-seated cultural problems at an institution other than to close the doors and start over from scratch.
But, then, we both know that what you just said in Congress was simply a means to deflect criticism from the piss-poor management coming down from you, your staff in DOE, and the people running NNSA. Right? And the fact that 22 year old Jessica Quintana was NOT a LANL scientist went right above the heads of those you just hood-winked with your comments. Right? And dumping the full blame for problems back on LANL is a long standing tradition within DOE. Right?
Do you have any idea of the hatred and loathing you've just generated among the LANL staff with your comments? Couldn't you have done a better job in phrasing the situation?
As another poster stated, praise is best done in public, punishment is best done in private. That's a basic tenet of all good managers. You blew it, Sam!
1. The practice of publicizing accusations of political disloyalty or subversion with insufficient regard to evidence.
2. The use of unfair investigatory or accusatory methods in order to suppress opposition.
[After Joseph Raymond MCCARTHY.]
I'm writing to make a global comment on the most recent events, in particular, the Bodman remarks. If you choose to publish these comments, I would prefer that you do so in such a way to allow me to be anonymous, like most everyone else seems to be doing. I have less to lose, to be sure, but at the same time I also have no particular reason to make enemies of anyone.
For background: I left LANL at the beginning of September, 2005 (and have been following the previous blog and this one with some interest) for a position in a university. I'd come to LANL from a university at the beginning of the John Browne directorship, attracted by the fact that TSMs were, at the time, University of California employees and by John's well-publicized attempts to move LANL toward a future in the environmental sciences. When John stepped down, that went away, and when it became obvious to me that the UC employment would go away, too, I found an opportunity to jump on.
And here's my global comment, in the form of a question: Why is everyone so defensive about Bodman's remark that LANL scientists are arrogant? For one thing, it's pretty obvious to anyone on the outside who reads these blogs that it's the truth. But, more to the point, I think that LANL scientists deserve to be proud of their arrogance.
You bet they're arrogant, Sam, and well they deserve to be. Their distant predecessors won WWII; their more immediate predecessors were responsible for winning the Cold War; and even since then LANL people have been doing things that the nation desperately needs, things that no one else can do, some of which things are pretty damned onerous. Very recently, they've been doing this in the face of truly absurd management screw-ups by DOE, scapegoating by the media and by the Congress, and, with the change in M&O contractors, a hugely threatening devolution of the employment culture of the Laboratory. So go pound sand, Sam.
And since I'm on a roll, here are two other comments:
-- I'm surprised how little notice (one comment, I believe) was given to the POGO lady's strong suggestion to end at-will employment at LANL in order to encourage employee candor. That's a big deal, folks. Don't lose track of it.
-- And although it's had more comments, the overall topic of how LANL isn't the only place with these security issues should, it seems to me, be emphasized more. It won't do to go in front of a Congressional committee and say "Well, yeah, that happened at LANL but it also happens everywhere else." But there are other approaches to outing the security problems elsewhere, and that might help with some of the scapegoating.
So hang in there y'all, and good luck.
I have not seen the entire testimony, but the article does not indicate discussion of any way he proposed to address issues or concerns. I do not take that as a positive sign.
While NM's Congressional contingent downplayed statements by members of the subcommittee, I have not seen any comments regarding Secretary Bodman's statements.
His admin, while doing property, realized a laptop was at his house, that it contained classified information, and bravely (and correctly) notified SIT.
Mitchell is described as a computer idiot, who did not even do his own email. Why did he bring a laptop home? To look like he was working? Who knows.
Or so the story goes.
"Sam, close it down! If you really believe what you just said in Congress, then why bother trying to fix the problems at LANL any longer? It's time to call your bluff."
Maybe you'll get your wish, just don't come to LLNL and look for a job when he does. We don't want you neither.
Points very well taken, particularly an appropriate yet effective way to point out that the LANL safety/security culture isn't demonstrably different (certainly not worse; arguably better) than that of others labs and organizations which handle hazardous operations and classified media.
Stay tuned, as the Pit Bull has said, there's something in the works along these lines...
Do not worry LLNL, will be the next
to go. Why do you think you are safe?
Think about this. To show LANL that
Bodman and Congress mean business they will shut down LLNL. Think it can not happen, that such a suggestion is madness? Well, by know you must realize that truth, reason, facts, and rational decisions have no relevance. In such a world no one is safe and anything can happen.