Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Who's "George"? And What Dastardly Deed Did He Do?

Letters to the Editor, Los Alamos Monitor, Wednesday, March 7, 2007

LANL unfair to longtime employee

Dear Editor,

Recently, a 23-year veteran employee at LANL was terminated for an absurdly minor security infraction. The employee had an impeccable performance record. "George" was only two years from retirement.

The majority of LANL employees and residents of Los Alamos take security matters seriously, and are dismayed at the recent security breaches. However, it seems that LANS is concerned only with appearances.

"The lab is getting rid of the low-hanging fruit," said a low-level manager recently. LANS does not want to do the difficult job of ferreting out the real security problems; they just care about their bottom line.

A younger, less experienced and cheaper subcontractor, trained by "George," has replaced him. Mid-level management did not fight for this employee, apparently because it, too, is afraid of being caught up in the witch-hunt. The phrase "there but for the grace of God goes I" comes to mind.

On the bright side, "George" can now sell his over-priced Los Alamos home for an obscene profit before the real estate market is flooded as a mass exodus out of Los Alamos begins.

J. Jacobson

Los Alamos

Who's "J. Jacobson"? What does he think HE'S doing? And where does HE live?

-M. Anastasio
[Not for one moment does this blogmeister think that Mike Anastasio is REALLY the author of the above post. -Pat.]
It would appear that LANS is priming the pump, so to speak, for when June 1 rolls around. They are testing the at-will firing procedures to make sure they are ready to put that system into full production three months from now.
Now *that*, ladies and gentlemen, tells us about all we need to know about the quality of the work environment at the new, improved LANL.

Thanks, but no thanks. There are plenty better places to work, and I'm going to get me a new job at one of them.
Might want to keep a close eye on J Jacobson....he may also have "experienced lack of good judgment" and could be retaliated our "Secret Police, who monitor the local newspapers, blogs, and any other source of outside information to make sure that the people stay in line....
"... make sure that the people stay in line" and keep on moving. C'mon now. Just keep moving ... OK ... Good ... YOU! Jacobson! I don't care if you're retired. MOVE it! (Crusty old fart! Hah! Kneecapped him!)
The Rise and Fall of LANL, as in Rome, the final end came about through the internal struggles, and the overreaching of the few overly ambitious leaders. The time-line or span of LANL: from about 1947 through 2008, has about run it's course. After LANS, and then the loss of RRW (which represents the lack of trust) from DOE and the Congress, the continued lack of managemnt, the new Threats List (being pawned off as a new policy) and now with our cheif funding source in deep ethic's trouble (R-N.M.)Sen. Pete V Domenici, if his support is lost LANL will be in a free-fall, and will not be ever regain it's prior place in history. It was fun while it lasted but take a good hard look at the new Manager's....then ask your self "Is this going to work, is this type of structure going to make us competive, or is this the "Bottom Line" corp.? That will rif it's self of 2000 plus people, only to use the remaning funds to perform support work for the other Real National Laboratory's...I hope someond can created/fabricated a Bronze Plaque, with both the names of the founding Directors such as Norriss Bradbury, and another plaque with the names of our current management's names for the RIP marker that will stand atop of the mesa's for all to remember....
That worthless group IRM-CAS, formerly IM-1, has been firing limited-term employees even after posting job ads for those same jobs. The question is why they bothered posting job ads when limited-term employees (as opposed to contractors) supposedly could just be converted since they were already UC/LANS employees. Also why is HR allowing people to submit cover letters and application materials after the job posting has closed? Interesting, best business practice, huh?

And what became of the program for "dispossessed" LANS employees? Why weren't the fired employees "warehoused" in this publicized program until other jobs could be found for them?
Good luck, selling "his over-priced Los Alamos home for an obscene profit." The only houses selling now are those where the prices have been reduced significantly. It is already an buyers market.
For any of you house-sellers up there on the hill, we are looking to buy a house in Los Alamos. Anyone want to offer me their house at a reasonable price? Sellers there still haven't realized what the market is doing in LA and, from the sound of this blog, things will only get worse in a few short months.
The housing market is stocked with houses for sale or on -stand-by a new term coined by a local Realator, for people inquireing about (just in case) I need to sell my house. This is very telling, but for all of you waiting to "move up" just hold on a few months there are going to be some very very good deals, on some very classy rock bottom prices....JR your Home-Town -Realator...
This comment of waiting six months to sell your home must be a joke. The only people that are going to buy a house up on the hill at LA are those that work there. If the bottom of the housing market continues to drop out as it has across the country, you'd still need an annual income of ~ $200K a year after taxes to afford a home on the hill, where there will be fewer and fewer good paying job. Now, if there is a RIF, those homes that are not paid in full will simply go back to the bank and wallah, there you have it. No jobs, no sale, bank lose. This is just a reality check for all to come, even at LLNL. The only difference is that the people who work there have many places to go where the pay is better and the perks are great. So with the pension plan and benefits soon be to gone, my question to all would be; why stay?
There are some people who work at LANL, plan to stay, don't currently live on the hill, but would like to. I don't think it would require $200K annually after taxes to afford a house up there. But houses in LA have historically been overpriced (we all know that). And if a lot of LANL people are choosing to leave in a few months (or being "forced" to choose to leave), then it seems that the housing prices up there should come down, drastically, no?
Making about $80K a year can get you a house at about $300K.
Legal probably... Ethical? you be the judge....

I started working at LANL as a contractor employee in September 1999. At that time I was employed by Comforce Technical, a sub-contractor to LANL, which was then managed by the University of California.

In April 2004 the Lab began a highly publicized program called the Contingent Worker Project
to convert (so it said) the majority of contractor employees to regular UC employment. At this point I had already worked at the Lab as a contractor employee for nearly 5 years. But because the CWP was not really a conversion project, I had to apply for my own job in order to get UC employment. But "conversion" was still the casual word used for this hiring action because the jobs were posted as "external," meaning they were advertised to the general public.

The group (IM-1) I worked for was organized as a "recharge" organization that places designers or writers into a "central" or deployed position, and then receives payment for that persons' work. The worker charges time to various cost codes and the money filters back to IM-1. Deployed workers charge at a rate 100% as per a memo of understanding and since they are physically placed in another work group or division at LANL, while those in "central" charge per
project and probably average 80-90% recharge since there was usually "down time" between projects. The specific recharge rates vary, depending on the type of work being done and whether the worker is deployed or in central. Most groups at the lab are not recharge organizations; they operate on 100% funded monies.

At the time of my "conversion" in September 2004, I was on assignment to the Weapons Directorate and was earning 100% recharge for IM-1. I began that assignment April 2002. I was offered the opportunity to apply for a UC regular position via a job ad posted through HR. I applied for the position, was interviewed and several weeks later offered the job, but as a limited term not a regular employee!

I objected to this limited-term status and pointed out that I had applied for a regular status job and that I was one of very few employees on a deployed assignment and was earning 100% recharge money for IM-1. I was assured by the group and team leader (Ruminer and Sandford) that it was merely a matter of their renewing my term for an additional 1 or 2 years and that this was a common practice so there was nothing to worry about.

In early February 07 the new acting group leader of IRM-CAS (Prono) announced that only one full-time regular designer position would be offered but that it required me to apply for it as a new job and that I would have to compete against 4 other limited-term designers as well as anyone at the Lab who is qualified.

I decided that enough was enough and told my team leader that I was going to retire even though I was 19 months short of receiving my full social security benefits. I had been told by the deputy group leader (Wangen) that my limited term would expire on March 31 however, a week later he decreed that my limited term status would expire on March 1 instead of March 31, there by causing me to lose 2 paychecks for March and messing up my carefully made retirement plans.

There are other people within IRM-CAS that are, or will be, affected by this decision, and I am told that Lab-wide there are 450 or more limited term employees.

Welcome to LANS...or in my case, adios.
Richard Summers
Anonymous said...
Making about $80K a year can get you a house at about $300K.
3/07/2007 7:57 PM

Only if you want to live for your home? Again, as the jobs disappear so will the homes. I am sure there will be many vultures circling in hope to gain by others loss. I only hope that the house they buy be eaten by termites, has a radioactive water supply and mold.
The real estate agents in Los Alamos have a sorid history of acting like vultures when RIFs hit the lab. There is already a bunch of unsold housing on the market, and it will only get worse as the summer approaches. Lots of staff are getting their resumes ready to leave the lab. Those who live off the Hill will have a much easier time of it.

Those people who get laid off and don't own their houses in LA are going to be financially wiped out. Saw this happen during the '94 RIF and it was very painful to watch.

Stress like this always causes lots of divorces, spouse abuse, drinking problems, etc. Very, very sad, but I don't think that LANS, NNSA, or Congress give a shit. Most of them seem to want to see us severely punished in one way or another.

Also, expect to soon see many of your fellow staff members panic and do just about anything to hold on to their jobs over the next few years. The fear factor at LANL is going to get very high. You ain't seen nothing yet.
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