Watchdogs assail LANS pay plans

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Recovery act data reveals how much lab managers are making

By The Staff

Nuclear watchdogs in New Mexico have seized on compensation data in federal recovery act records to call attention to the total compensation packages paid to top managers in the nuclear weapons complex.

“That LANS pays Michel Anastasio $800,000 a year, double President Obama’s salary and that two other LANS executives make more than $520,000 shows a priority for exorbitant salaries over good management and environmental cleanup,” said Don Hancock of Southwestern Research and Information Center in a press release Thursday. Hancock first found the information on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Web site, recovery.gov, which became available recently.

Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, which immediately followed up with further information, also comparing Anastasio’s salary with Obama’s.

“It is peculiar that the director of the laboratory who has supported new design nuclear weapons and resumed industrial-scale expanded nuclear weapons production is making twice as much as the man who won the Nobel Prize for trying to rid the world of them,” Coghlan said this morning.

The data, which shows Los Alamos National Security as having received 13 prime-recipient and subcontract awards that require quarterly reports under the ARRA, lists the top five officers for Los Alamos National Security and their “compensations.”

Speaking for the laboratory, Communications Director Jeff Berger said the on-line postings are not salary figures, but rather “total compensation, which includes salary and can include such things as bonuses, contributions to 401k, and allowances for housing and vehicle expenses.”

“It is also important to note that much of that compensation isn’t from taxpayers,” Berger said.

NNSA is limited in the amount it can reimburse a corporate executive to $684,181 a year, according to Jennifer Wagner,  deputy director of public affairs for the National Nuclear Security AdministrationIn, In the case of Anastasio, NNSA reimburses LANS $397,341 per year. she said. Tthe contractor must pay any additional compensation from its own corporate funds.

Also, Berger added, compensation must be commensurate to the job at hand.

In Anastasio’s case, that includes managing, “Two billion dollars worth of budget,

10 thousand employees, 40 square miles of facility; and not least, the nature of the work we do, which is national security science and weapons work,” he said.

Michael Anastasio is listed at $800,348 per year; Jeffrey Blair of the University of California, $264,233; Glen McCoy Kizer, chief financial officer, $522,440; Roland B. Knapp, head of contractor assurance, $522,440; and Isaac E. Richardson III, deputy lab director, $555,515.

By comparison, Thomas Hunter, president of Sandia Corporation, which manages Sandia National Laboratories, is listed at $1,726,000 per year, followed by Vice President Al Romig with $926,700 and Executive Vice President Joan Woodard at $857,000.

Nuclear Watch noted that LANL received the “tenth largest single contract in the nation,” under the recovery act, for approximately $212 million for legacy cleanup efforts.

An Associated Press story Thursday reported that Idaho National Laboratory had received over $412 million of stimulus funding for a cleanup job. The most recent federal report indicates 2,103 Idaho jobs were created or saved by the spending so far. LANL’s contract is projected to save or create about 300 jobs.