Lamont Weekly Report, February 3, 2012

We got into serious campus budget talks this week. On Monday the associate directors, the division DAs, and senior admin folks gathered in one room to scope out the remainder of this fiscal year and talk about next year's hiring and space plans. We discussed opportunities and constraints as a group, which will give us a more balanced way of
managing new investments next year. For example, as part of the budget workup, we will be phasing in an approach to commodity computer purchases and training and support opportunities for senior technical staff. As I mentioned last week, the Executive Committee and OMG will be heavily involved in these discussions.

On Wednesday in Washington, Richard Seager, Mingfang Ting, Lisa Goddard and I - with support from Kim Martineau and Vilma Gallagher - offered a panel discussion entitled "Spotlight on Weather and Climate Extremes" to about 75 Congressional staff. We focused primarily on the science, and how the public, the private sector, and government can use
it to support decisions. The focus on extremes worked out well - it was anomalously warm in D.C. - and the audience was engaged. Needless to say, these visits to the Hill are important and we will be planning more of them.

This morning's senior staff meeting included a discussion of a new draft of our by-laws.  The Executive Committee has spent a lot of time on this draft in order to streamline how we operate and encode our current practices. The vote on the by-laws was tabled after many staff made comments, and there will be a new draft presented at the next meeting. Kuheli will be sending out a request for comments on the current draft, along with a summary of the changes from previous
versions. Many a Lamont director's ox has been gored by by-laws discussions, and today was no exception. Still, we made progress.

This warm(er) weather is good for our utility budget, by the way. Still, a bit of the white stuff would be a nice reminder that it's February.