Today at Berkeley Lab

Help Lab Estimate its Costs Due to Government Shutdown

To assist the Lab in estimating the cost of the recent partial federal government shutdown, employees are asked to spend no more than two minutes to calculate approximately how many hours they spent between Oct. 1 and Oct. 17 responding to the lapse in federal appropriation and on related scenario planning. This includes meetings and phone conferences, responding to or creating data calls for the Lab and DOE, and any other time spent planning for or otherwise responding to the shutdown issue. Click here to fill out the one question survey. Those not logged into their account will be prompted to do so first. Staff already logged in will go directly to the survey. Employees who were not impacted do not need to respond. Survey data will be reported at aggregate levels, not on an individual employee basis.

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  1. Kymba A'Hearn says:

    I missed the survey because I didn’t have time to look at TaBL until today.
    We lost *thousands* in travel costs and I’m not sure how to estimate the non-dollar losses from turning down invitations or being unable to confirm participation in international events. Work hours put in setting things up over the past few months were wasted, as well.

  2. Preston Jordan says:

    The shutdown cost me about two weeks of work. Most of this was time I spent assessing and developing grid inputs for simulating a multi-injection geologic carbon sequestration scenario in the southern portion of the San Joaquin Valley. This simulation was to be run on a beta version of ModFlow from the USGS that incorporates groundwater pumping, ground deformation and surface water conveyance, and so would provide insight into the effects, if any, of industrial-scale geologic carbon sequestration on those processes.

    An initial attempt to run the mesh found the space allocated in the program for some inputs required increasing. Because LBNL has a relationship with the developer at the USGS, it was able to successfully ask him to make this change.

    The next run revealed a bug in the code. The previous version allowed surface water to flow only one direction in a particular conveyance. This did not account for the possibility of flow reversal due to ground deformation, such as along irrigation supply canals. The bug involved implementation of the routine that allowed for flow reversal.

    Before the developer could implement a fix, he was furloughed. Project deadlines necessitated abandoning the grid inputs I developed. Instead I and others spent additional time developing simpler grid inputs and a less realistic injection scenario to run on a previous version of the code. This is resulting in a less ambitious, although still useful, work product for our State agency client.

  3. Many staff had to start planning for the shutdown before Oct 1, and work was put into contingency planning before Oct 1.

  4. Barbara Salisbury says:

    About 20 hrs spent. In addition, note: Lots of time wasted tracking conference details so that folks could hang on to in case gov’t re-opened in time for them to attend; don’t forget Lab costs incurred for each canceeled Air Fare, $200 penalty each RT ticket + each airline if mutliple airlines on one given trip.

  5. Oh, and now we are rebooking a lot of these trips!

  6. This one question does not take into account the 11 trips I canceled. A $200 penalty was incurred for each one of these 11 canceled trips. Since my travelers rarely have changes to their flights, I buy the cheaper non-refundable flights. So I estimated 8 hours spent canceling flights, answering travelers’ questions, attending meetings, logging airline tickets to be used in the future, etc.

  7. I am curious about the purpose and the value of this. It looks potentially partisan.

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