Los Alamos National Laboratory. Courtesy photo
BY ROGER SNODGRASS
Los Alamos Daily Post
With traffic in major contract competitions beginning to thicken in the nuclear weapons complex in general and in Northern New Mexico in particular, Los Alamos National Security, LLC, the managing and operating contractor for Los Alamos National Laboratory, has decided that the rules for proposal-related activities by lab personnel will need some extra attention.
Although LANS’s contract to run the laboratory has been given a grace period that will continue through September 2018, the re-competition of that contract has already been announced; and on May 26, the Department of Energy issued a draft request for proposal for the Los Alamos legacy cleanup contract acquisition, which will be managed separately by the Environmental Management Office.
In an internal LANL memorandum to staff obtained by the Los Alamos Daily Post, LANL Director Charles McMillan described “a unique situation in which LANS must be able to continue to manage the laboratory without disruption, comply with all prime contract requirements, and maintain compliance with the Code of Conduct and LANS policies and procedures, all while allowing individuals to participate in these current and future competitions.”
On behalf of the laboratory leadership, McMillan acknowledges that the management competitions will create employment uncertainties for people in critical positions.
“Particularly, under these circumstances, we respect the interests of our people to explore other career opportunities,” he writes. “Effective immediately, employees must seek express approval from the Laboratory Director,” according to procedures described in the memo, regardless of whether they wish to work on proposals, while they are employed at LANL or to be included among key personnel in a proposal.
The requirements will also apply whether or not they intend to engage in proposal activities on behalf of any of the LANS partners, namely, University of California, Bechtel, Babcock & Wilcox and URS.]
“It is our intention to approval all requests from personnel who are seeking to be offered a position on a government contract,” the memo states, no matter if it is at LANL under a new contract or for some other site or project.
Requests will be evaluated on a case by case basis and specific conditions and requirements may be prescribed. Unless there are impediments, employees may be allowed to work for up to 90 days on outside proposal activities for any given procurement competition.
The memo says, “Any approved proposal work must be performed off LANL premises,” and no use of government equipment like telephones, computers and copying machines is allowed.
McMillan’s main concern is about following proper procedures. “Above all, employees must take care to avoid any personal conflict of interest,” he says.
A sample of activities to avoid includes the following:
- Oversight or review of any work performed by the proposal company at the Laboratory;
- Review of any proposals by the proposal company to perform work at the Laboratory;
- Participation in meetings involving the proposal company representatives in relation to the Laboratory and its work, unless pre-approved by an employee’s immediate supervisor, and Laboratory Counsel or Ethics and Audits;
- Any attempts to influence Laboratory opinions or activities for the purpose of benefiting the proposal company, including any interest on the part of the proposal company in licensing or technology transfer activities at the Laboratory;
- Discussing proposal activities with other Laboratory employees while on Laboratory property or during Laboratory work hours;
- Recruiting other Laboratory employees for proposal activities while on Laboratory property or during Laboratory work hours;
- Sharing or otherwise using LANS proprietary or business sensitive information for proposal activities.