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From the Chief Operations Officer: Stanford Board of Overseers Briefing

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

The Stanford Board of Overseers for mission support provided their formal briefing late last week. This was based on three days of reviews by the BoO concerning overall operations, finance and audit, and human resources. Let me take the opportunity to relate some insights that management learned from their review and report, which will help us provide better services for all of SLAC.

There were continued compliments for areas in which the Operations Directorate is serving SLAC. The new financial model was complimented, as was the concept of SubCouncils, with recognition that some were working better than others. Improvement in some services was noted, including procurement, space management, succession planning, and emergency management. Overall, the staffing changes that we have made in Operations were seen as foundation setting for future improved services and infrastructure.

While the BoO members were pleased to see the investments that we are making in improving infrastructure and services, concern was also expressed that the financial burden of those improvements might not be sustainable unless the lab were to grow. They encouraged us to move forward in ways that might result in cost savings, such as evaluating the use of Stanford business systems and moving forward with the centrally-managed field-deployed staffing model.

Across the board, the BoO members felt that Operations staff were trying to enact too many improvements at the same time, with some small but visible missteps. They encouraged us to accelerate our strategic planning process and, with critical input from the laboratory via the SubCouncils and Executive Council, to integrate priorities across Operations with fewer initiatives and increased quality.

We in Operations management appreciate this advice and we intend to act on it.

—Alexander Merola
SLAC Today, May 28, 2010