SLAC Today logo

From the Chief Operating Officer: SLAC Subcouncils

(Photo - Sandy Merola)
(Photo by Linda Cicero.)

As you probably know, the SLAC Subcouncils have been in existence for about 18 months now and have taken on a significant role in the governance of our lab. For example, the Office of the Chief Finance Officer Subcouncil has been tremendously helpful in the design of the new SLAC financial model; the Facilities Subcouncil has been influential in the prioritization of our infrastructure improvements projects; other Subcouncils have helped the Operations Directorate set service priorities, service models and laboratory policies.

About 75 members of SLAC currently serve on Subcouncils. (A current list of Subcouncil members can be found on the Operations Directorate Web site.) Yet, many SLAC employees wonder about the roles and goals of the Subcouncils.

First of all, the Subcouncils are not a volunteer organization or a committee of good citizens. Rather they are an official body of SLAC governance; members are officially appointed by their respective associate laboratory directors to represent their directorates. In fact, Subcouncil chairpersons are unanimously appointed by all ALDs.

Second, members represent the breadth of the SLAC community. Consequently, they are able to provide critical information and advice to Operations about what the lab needs in current and future infrastructure, services and policies. Members are expected to represent their own organizations' issues, yet balance those needs as champions for "One Lab."

In particular, the Subcouncil members:

  • Provide input on the level of satisfaction with Operations offerings and performance,
  • Serve as the principal communications conduit for user-driven requirements or ideas for current and future services,
  • Interact with the Operations Division/Department regarding opportunities afforded by proposed initiatives, sourcing methodology and developing technologies, and
  • Provide input on the Operations area of the SLAC Agenda, associated business plans and progress.

Most important, the model of the Subcouncil/Operations interaction is one of partnership—with clearly articulated input or formal advice from the Subcouncil to the appropriate line manager, who maintains decision-making authority and accountability. Currently, lab management is working with the various departments to refine the Subcouncil structure and renew the membership of some Subcouncils. We greatly appreciate those members of SLAC who have served on Subcouncils so far, and we hope they will provide orientation and guidance for the next generation of Subcouncil members. I look forward to an upcoming meeting with all of the Subcouncil chairs and the Operations Directors as we discuss ways to improve this process. Successful teamwork between the Subcouncils and Operations underpins our ability to understand and deliver the right level of infrastructure and services to the lab.

—Alexander Merola
SLAC Today, March 26, 2010