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March 2007

An interview with Katy Schmoll

katy schmoll

Katy Schmoll.

This is the second in a series of Staff Notes Monthly updates to keep staff apprised of the competition for the management of NCAR. As most people are probably aware, NSF has issued a request for proposals, and UCAR is in the process of preparing its submission. In this column, Katy Schmoll, vice president for finance and administration, talks to Lucy Warner about the process and how it might affect staff. They also welcome individual questions, which can be emailed to Katy.

Lucy: Tell us a little about what’s going on. Who is preparing the response and what will it say?
Katy: There is a small group—including the President’s Council and a handful of key staff members—drafting a preliminary proposal in response to the NSF request for proposals. For those who are curious, the solicitation is posted on the NSF Web site (see “On the Web”). Our response is due on April 13.
Lucy: Will staff be able to see the ­proposal?
Katy: No. Because there may be competitors, our proposal will be confidential and proprietary.
Lucy: I know you’ve already sent a memo to staff about this, but explain again how competitors get their ­information and how staff should respond if they are contacted.
Katy: All requests for information about UCAR and NCAR operations should be directed to Kristin Spencer at NSF (kspencer@nsf.gov). She’s in the Division of Acquisition and Cooperative Support, and it’s her job to relay questions to me if she needs UCAR support in developing answers. There are strict rules governing this kind of bidding and it is important to follow the protocols. The answers to any questions received are provided to all potential bidders.
Lucy: So what are staff supposed to do if they get a call they suspect is related to the competition?
Katy: It’s possible that staff might be contacted directly for information about things like our salary ranges or our policies. Those questions should be directed to NSF and staff should absolutely not answer them.
Lucy: So are you saying staff can’t help with any competing bids?
Katy: No. Staff are free to help with a competing proposal under certain conditions. They can’t disclose proprietary information like indirect rates or salary ranges. However, they can work on the other aspects of management proposals. Since we are all UCAR employees, working on a proposal that competes with UCAR’s falls under the Conflict of Interest Policy (1-1-4). In accordance with policy, anyone in this situation has to notify me by submitting a written disclosure through his or her supervisor up the chain of command to the relevant member of the President’s Council. Any work done with a competitor must be done on the employee’s own time, either outside of work hours or using PTO or vacation time. Any activity of this kind cannot involve the use of UCAR or government resources, including computers.
Lucy: Doesn’t that give UCAR an unfair advantage?
Katy: It shouldn’t. Those of us who are working on the UCAR proposal can’t use government funds either.
Lucy: So have you been notified of anyone other than UCAR preparing a proposal?
Katy: No.
Lucy: Will we know?
Katy: Actually we may never officially know unless the competition comes down to a contest between official finalists.
Lucy: And when would that be?
Katy: Well, as I said, the preliminary proposals are due April 13. A full proposal will be due August 31. At that point, only submitters who have successfully completed the first phase will be considered.
Lucy: And when will we know the outcome?
Katy: Probably in late spring of 2008. The new management period starts October 1, 2008.
Lucy: Rick [UCAR president Rick Anthes] has said he’s taking this process seriously but that staff shouldn’t be worried. Would you agree with that?
Katy: Absolutely. We’ve laid a lot of groundwork for this proposal in the last year and we’ve got a strong record on which to base our plans for the coming five years. We’re in a very strong position. But, as Rick said, we are not taking this for granted.•

On the Web

Competition for the Management and Operation of the National Center for Atmospheric Research

In this issue...

International Polar Year kicks off this month

Project BudBurst to debut
GLOBE at Night

Short Takes

Denise Stephenson Hawk joins SERE

An interview with Katy Schmoll

Mesa Lab a medieval castle?

Just One Look


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