Oddone stresses vital program, promotes positive work culture

Fermilab director Pier Oddone covered a multitude of topics in an all hands meeting on Sept. 21.

Focusing on Fermilab’s strong future programs and fostering a positive work environment were two themes of the presentation that Fermilab Director Pier Oddone gave to employees in all-hands meeting Wednesday. The presentation covered four subject areas, including an overview of the laboratory’s future after the Tevatron, recent Congressional budget actions, results from the Employee Advisory Group survey and changes in health insurance costs.

Life after the Tevatron

Commenting on the Tevatron shutdown event planned for employees and users on Sept. 30, Oddone reminded the laboratory that this is the beginning of a new chapter in Fermilab’s history.

“We have constructed a very exciting program, a very vital program over the last few years,” Oddone said.

Oddone went through that program, highlighting Fermilab’s contributions to the LHC and the shift from the Energy to Intensity Frontier. He explained the science of key neutrino and muon projects and experiments, such as Mu2E and the proposed Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment and Project X.

“What is most important to us is that we contribute to the global picture with facilities that are at Fermilab that are part of the U.S. program,” Oddone said. “We have, because of the work done by all of you and because of my predecessors, very competent machines that remain even after the Tevatron.”

Current Congressional action

Oddone discussed the mark up of the Energy and Water Appropriations bill by the Senate, which removed $17 million for the preliminary engineering design of the Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment. The House of Representatives’ version of the bill included the full funding for LBNE. The U.S. House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee will visit Fermilab and host a roundtable discussion with key stakeholders next Wednesday, Sept. 28, to examine the future of DOE’s underground particle physics program. Staff and users can view a broadcast of the roundtable live from 10 a.m. – noon in Ramsey Auditorium.

EAG survey results

In his talk, Oddone also focused on two more internally focused issues: the results of the Employee Advisory Group survey and upcoming health insurance plan changes.

To create a more positive work culture at the laboratory, Oddone encouraged supervisors and managers to communicate more often and to provide employees with more positive recognition. These were two of several ideas that came from the results of an Employee Advisory Group survey on management effectiveness at the laboratory. An analysis of the results is available in a PowerPoint presentation online. Oddone also encouraged employees to contact the EAG as a way to provide feedback to laboratory senior management. Please contact EAG members with your questions, concerns or with any suggestions for ways that managers and supervisors can recognize their employees.

Changes to health insurance plans, minimizing the pain

Employees also received information about upcoming changes to their health insurance plans. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2012, Fermilab will discontinue the Blue Cross/Blue Shield HMO Illinois plan. The plan is similar to the Blue Advantage plan increase costs will increase for all retiree and employee medial plans.

Also on Jan. 1, the portion of health insurance that Fermilab employees and retirees pay will increase. Fermilab is making this change, Oddone explained, because the laboratory’s costs are increasing and the laboratory cannot continue to absorb the increase. However, the laboratory is trying to minimize the pain of this increase by providing all eligible full-time and part-time employees with a one-time, permanent, $1000 salary adjustment. The adjustment will be pro-rated for part time employees. More information on these changes is available on a Benefits and Compensation webpage.

Rhianna Wisniewski