January 20, 2006
I want to keep you informed on i) the status of the competition for the contract to manage and operate JLab, ii) the possibility of staff reductions, and iii) safety.
As you may remember, the DOE announced in January 2004 that it would compete the JLab M&O contract, published a draft RFP (request for proposal) in September 2005, and a final RFP on December 13, 2005. Given the deadline for submission of January 25, 2006, a team of SURA/JLab, CSC, and consultant staff was hard at work, including most of the holiday break. The team under the leadership of Mike Dallas completed its work and I am proud of the product: I believe we have put together a compelling proposal. It is now in the production process and will be in the hands of the DOE by January 25, 2006. The final effort for our team will be to prepare for and deliver an oral presentation that we expect to happen early in February. In the near future, we will brief Core Managers and then a broader audience on key aspects of the proposal. I am looking forward to this opportunity to share with you my vision for the Laboratory in the coming years.
We still must face the necessity to perform within a reduced budget for FY 2006, and that puts a number of positions at risk unless we can see that the budget for FY 2007 will be significantly better. There is a possibility for that, but as you know, budget figures are not released until the President's Budget Request is made public, and therefore we will hold off with any decisions regarding a reduction in staffing until early February and the release of the budget request. We will however continue to accept requests for voluntary separation. Decisions regarding these requests will be made after we have a better picture for FY 07. Many of you may have read the recent article in the Daily Press or seen the segment about JLab on Wavy-TV 10. I hope my regular messages ensured that none of this came as a surprise. You could also see from these news releases that JLab has friends working on its behalf. I know that these are trying times and I want to assure you that we will continue to do everything to minimize impacts to our workforce.
Finally, a word about safety: I am proud of your performance in FY 2005, where the Lab exceeded the DOE's goals significantly. There is no room for complacency, however, and there are indications that the turn-around in our safety culture is not yet complete. A Lab employee suffered a severe injury - a broken arm and a sprained ankle - on Jan 11, 2005 when he fell several feet off a fixed vertical ladder in the ARC building. This ladder was in place and used frequently for many years and no worker, no supervisor, and no manager ever stopped its use and replaced it with something better. The Lab will follow up in depth on this event to drive further change. What I want you to accept and internalize is the following: for safety only the best approach is good enough and nothing ever trumps safety. If you see something that does not look or feel safe, stop and have it evaluated and fixed.