Friday, March 09, 2007
More on the current work environment at LANL
We got an email from our division leader today, that all travel now needs justification to, and approval by an AD! So now we know why LANS tripled the number of managers. They must be totally nuts to require three levels in the chain of approval - they don't trust group leaders, they don't trust division leaders, so why not eliminate them and move all functions to the AD office, saving a bundle in the process.
Of all the unnecessary waste, fraud and abuse, this is the worst, because it is initiated from the top!
Yeah! That'll fix it!
You may not like management, and they may be doing a bad job, but that does not have anything to do with putting appropriate financial controls in place.
It is unlikely that the glory days of infinite free funding are coming back, so it incumbent on everyone to try to optimize the systems that will be in place in the future. I assume you care enough to try making life better rather than sniping, or you would not be even posting on a blog.
In fact upon reflection, I begin to suspect that you are a member of one of those three unnecessary layers of LANL management.
Or else you would have seen the obvious long before this unfortunate conversation took place.
If your GL/DL did not do this, then I am sorry to hear it. Mine always did.
Unless you want the haves to do what they want while the - temporary because of programmatic budget fluctuations - have nots get laid off, then you need decisions made above a parochial level.
Maybe (probably) these management levels are unnecessary in general. A management level to allocate resources between two competing needs, and which is not beholden to either need, is necessary, in particular.
Look, there is a lot of BS happening, such as the radio ban. This is not one of those situations.
BTW, I am not a LANL manager, but this is irrelevant. Ad hominem attacks are not reason to accept or reject an argument.
I do contend that this is a line management issue that needs to be fixed. I contend for the same reason that cross-organizational resource allocation issues - hiring, travel, and any other contentious issues which require a non-parochial approach, require a high-level line management solution. I have been in several of these, and I suspect that many LANL staff have also been in several of these. My experience is that LANL managers historically either run from these issues or fight for "their people" regardless of the merits of the case.
You contend that management is not needed for these issues. I would like to hear your reasoning.
You guys ought to agree that the problem is accountability. The only reason that three levels of management signature are required is that, as 5:27 contends, there is no trust of lower management by upper management. Why is this? Well, in my experience, it is because Group Leaders have in general not considered themselves accountable to upper management - they haven't considered it important to be effective stewards of taxpayer money, only to dole out travel perks to their employees based on programmatic accomplishments or favoritism, which amounts to the same thing.
This from a 13-year Group-level manager.
Do you folks really think this is going to do you all any good? Are you really that naive?
You've got one of your own, Harold Agnew, deploring the language used on this blog w.r.t. RRW.
You are doing yourselves nothing but harm.
Sorry about that, you are clearly not a moron.
The "solution" of requiring AD-level of approval for travel is moronic, however, and all too typical of present day LANL operations under LANS. With such a bureaucratic entrenched mentality it is only a matter of time before all work effectively comes to a complete standstill.
You are correct, in that this particular issue is not a central one. Rather, it is merely symptomatic of how badly broken LANL is.
Auditors? We don't need no more stinking auditors! We've got that worthless bunch Rich Marquez (DOE-guy) assembled over there in the Lab's ethics group. Ethics...now that's a joke!
If group leaders are not trusted by upper management, then that is what needs fixing. Why pay someone the group leader's salary if you do not trust the person? And what is upper management - the division leaders who picked the group leaders, the AD's who picked the division leaders, etc.?
Sounds like there is a total lack of trust among all management which is then communicated to the staff.
The beauty of the approval-in-triplicate method is that it allows a certain fraction of the travel requests to "time out" - sort of like a pocket veto.
"If group leaders are not trusted by upper management, then that is what needs fixing."
Upper management shares in the LANS contract award fee - Group Leaders don't. Simple enough?