Final Exam

Final Exam
November 30, 2008

In the contract between Jefferson Science Associates and the Department of Energy, there are a number of aspects of the performance of the laboratory that are designated as part of our Performance Evaluation and Measurement Program, PEMP for short.

Some of the performance measures, certainly some of those which get the most attention, concern safety. There are goals for what numbers constitute - A+, A, A-, and B+. The B+ is an important grade, as we shall see later. There are similar measures that apply to our management of property and of the site, how quickly we settle our bills, and how well we do in closing our books monthly and at the end of the year.

Our owner organizations, Southeastern Universities Research Association and Computer Sciences Corporation also get to respond in one section. When JSA won the operating contract, promises were made about the provision of support in certain areas. The JSA Initiatives are the subject of proposals and judgment by the JSA Program Committee; the funds for celebrations of success or employee morale, such as events like the Fall Festival organized by JAG, are also supported by non-program funds provided by SURA/CSC.

Of course, a very big part of the performance concerns the operation of the accelerator and the progress made with the science. The numbers of hours, weighted by the number of halls in operation at any one time are convoluted into a precise mathematical formula that is complemented by other more subjective measurements. As you know, we are visited each year by the Office of Nuclear Physics and their consultants, our colleagues from other laboratories and universities. That ritual, the S&T (Science and Technology) Review, provides vital input.

The final judgment is passed by the Department of Energy, but we get to develop and present our own opinion; a self-assessment. When done properly this may well be the most important aspect of the whole process. We know the rules, we know what we did, we have read the S&T Report, we know whether we made progress and achieved CD-3 for the 12 GeV Upgrade, we know how many publications of what importance came out of our theory group, and we also know whether the lattice gauge computing is good value for money. This work was completed and submitted in a document to the DOE a few weeks ago; a little more than 100 pages, a little dry to read, but a thorough written exam.

To finish out the process, we had an oral exam. We made presentations of our self-assessment to the DOE. It was not a year in which the laboratory was showered with excess money, rather the opposite, but everyone responded well. The marks we gave ourselves were high, but honest. For me, it was an opportunity to be proud of what the staff and the user community achieved during the 2008 financial year, and I hope that I can contribute my share for 2009.

Earlier, I mentioned that B+ is an important grade. On the one hand, it is that grade that is usually treated by the DOE as acceptable. More precisely for an automatic extension of the operating contract, none of the major areas should be graded less than B+. Our self-assessment put us well above that with an overall grade of A for Science and Technology and A- for Maintenance and Operations. Since this is the third evaluation of JSA performance, this would make us eligible for an automatic extension of the contract from five to eight years.

DOE is now working on its digestion of all the input. Nevertheless, we are confident that DOE will make some adjustments, but in the main, the agency will concur with our own view of the results for the 2008 financial year - our final exam. Good job!