March 2000


Letters of offer issued as transition winds way to April 1

ORNL employees received letters of offer from UT-Battelle starting March 3, as the transition of contractors from LMER to UT-Battelle entered its final month.

Most employees were hand-delivered the letters of offer containing each employee’s designated title, salary and supervisor as of April 1, when the change goes into effect. The letter is probably the most immediate effect that the transition activities will have on most employees. Transition to the new contractor is virtually automatic for all but a few “key” personnel—mainly top managers.

Meanwhile, the new leadership team members have been busy familiarizing themselves with the workings of ORNL. They observed an emergency management exercise last month, shuttling from the Lab Shift Superintendent’s Office to the exercise’s incident scene to the Technical Support Center and finally to the bustling Emergency Operations Center located at ETTP.

Kelly Beierschmitt, who will direct ESH&Q, reviewed the applicable programs and noted that ORNL staff he has encountered in ORNL programs are “more competent and experienced” than any he has worked with at other facilities. He did, however, express surprise at the number of Laboratory policies and said that UT-Battelle would work on clarifying the difference between broad Lab policies and items that are more appropriate as procedures.
On April 1, even the swans. . .
Herb Debban, who’ll oversee Lab facilities and operations, took a quick tour of the Swan Pond on March 1. Chemical and Analytical Sciences Division researcher Alicia Compere and the Computing, Information and Networking Division’s Peggy Tinnel, two of a confederation of volunteers who look after ORNL’s swans, introduced Debban to the Lab’s most noted fowl and demonstrated their care and feeding. The old mainstays and last spring’s brood of cygnets now compose a flotilla of big birds, who greeted Debban up close and personal.

UT-Battelle has stressed community outreach—in fact, the company will designate about $6.3 million over five years to those types of activities locally. Of that sum, roughly one-half will be earmarked for economic development activities and one-third will go toward education projects.

Plans to move existing ORNL programs, including about 400 employees, from Y-12 are also being discussed at the transition team’s “Winter Palace” headquarters at Building 2001. Lease options are being explored, as is the opportunity to build new facilities for ORNL programs currently located at Y-12.

Finally, on the subject of building, ESH&Q’s Beierschmitt noted that avoiding hazardous traffic conditions associated with construction of the Spallation Neutron Source and UT-Battelle’s efforts to replace or upgrade several ORNL facilities will require careful planning.

On that last note, no matter who the contractor is, keep safety in mind when going from place to place.—B.C.