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UC Representatives Discuss LANL Bid With RCLC

on November 30, 2017 - 5:57am

University of California representatives listen to members of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities during a meeting Wednesday morning in Espanola. Photo by Maire O'Neill/ladailypost.com

Former U.S. Rep. Ellen Tauscher, University of California Regent for National Laboratories and Gary Valle of the UC Federal Government Relations Office at a Wednesday breakfast meeting with the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities. Photo by Maire O'Neill/ladailypost.com 

By MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos Daily Post

Regional Coalition of LANL Communities members met Wednesday morning in Espanola with representatives from the University of California. UC is planning to submit a bid on the management and operations contract for Los Alamos National Laboratory, which begins Oct. 1, 2018.

Attending the meeting at La Cocina Restaurant were UC Regent Ellen Tauscher who is the incoming chair of the Los Alamos National Security/Lawrence Livermore National Security Board, Kimberly Budil, vice president for National Laboratories at UC’s Office of the President and Gary Falle of the University’s Federal Government Relations Program. Los Alamos was represented by County Council Chair David Izraelevitz and Councilor Chris Chandler who is secretary of the Coalition Board.

Tauscher, who served in Congress from 1996 until 2009 when she became Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, also served as special envoy for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense at the State Department until her resignation in 2012. She told the group she did her service to her country in Congress and now she’s doing service in her state.

“It is an extraordinary opportunity to actually have experience doing something and have a real love of the people. I represented Livermore in the Congress so I know what communities need. I also know the difference between Los Alamos and Livermore. Los Alamos is much more of a company region and it is very different demographically. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get this right,” Tauscher said. “From my point of view as a Regent, I just want to reassure you of a very simple thing you can take back with you. The University of California has been in this business for 75 years, not because of the compensation. We actually don’t consider ourselves as a contractor, We’re there to make sure of national security and the quality of everything we’re doing is the best and that the integrity of out reputation and the things we’ve brought to the national security are not only maintained but heightened.”

Tauscher told the group UC knows what it takes to knit together all the various constituencies.

“We know that in the end this has to look like a choir or a symphony. In the end we are responsible for delivering a mission to the American people and our 30 odd something Allies to whom we’ve extended our deterrence – the most reliable, most effective nuclear deterrent in the world,” she said.

She said it has to be done in a way that is safe for the people doing the job, that the people have to feel that not only is this well-paid work but a national security mission where we appreciate everything they are doing, that they understand that they’re part of everything this country stands for and that in many ways they are national security leaders.

“We know who we’re accountable to. We’re not just accountable to the University of California and the people who are our constituents there. We’re really accountable to the people at the Labs who are first and foremost our most important consideration. And that means everything from economic development, well-being, safety, workplace regeneration, the fallout of how many jobs come out of the Labs, ancillaries and adjacents that you can create,” Tauscher said. “It is all interwoven into the community and we are very aware of that. We are honored to be able to have that relationship.”

While admitting that there are many things that can be improved, Tauscher said what UC can guarantee is that they will have “the best bid”.

“We can only hope the process is reflective of what we’re putting in here. We have a lot of lessons learned and that will be reflected in the bid,” she said. “I think you understand that we can’t go into the conditions of the bid, but I’m enormously proud of what our team of teams has put together.”

Tauscher told the Coalition Board members that they can rest assured that UC will have a “very significant relationship” with them because “that’s what we need”.

“This isn’t what we want but it’s necessary to deliver to the American people a safe, reliable and excellent stockpile ... presumably because we’ve done it all for a long time we can actually continue to do it as best as we can and hopefully do it even better,” Tauscher said.

Budil discussed with Coalition Board members what she has learned in the past three years in her current role. In addition she said she has learned a lot about the LANL communities because of her involvement in the LANL Foundation.

“UC is part of the management team at LANL now and we are not stopping, we our just flowing in our process,” she said.

She also mentioned the announcement that the new LANL director will be Terry Wallace.

“A large part of Terry’s selection has centered around his commitment to the Lab. He’s not going anywhere,” she said.

​Both Tauscher and Budil stressed UC's commitment to LANL and that the Board of Regents voted unanimously to bid on the contract. They also told the Coalition they believe there are ways to address the gross receipts tax issue but were not willing to go into specifics.

​Regional Coalition Executive Director Andrea Romero told the UC team at the end of the meeting that when the draft request for proposals for the LANL contract was first released there was a lot of terror about the next wave. She said the Coalition has been writing its own Community Commitment Plan, which is being vetted by everyone who has already been touched by the current CCP. ​

 

Espanola Mayor Alice Lucero addresses University of California representatives Wednesday morning at the meeting in Espanola. Photo by Maire O'Neill/ladailypost.com

Dr. Kimberly S. Budil, ​vice president for National Laboratories at University of California Office of the President, speaks at Wednesday's meeting with the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities. Photo by Maire O'Neill/ladailypost.com

Gov. James Mountain of San Ildefonso Pueblo chats with University of California representatives during Wednesday's meeting. Photo by Maire O'Neill/ladailypost.com


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