Workforce Reshaping: Making it work
By Brian Schlumbohm
FORT WAINWRIGHT, ALASKA -Last week, four Workforce Reshaping town hall meetings were lead by Col. Ronald M. Johnson, garrison commander, providing an update to the progress made towards meeting the criteria of reducing civilian positions on Fort Wainwright as the Army deals with a shrinking budget.
This was the second round of town halls held on Fort Wainwright since the Army announced its planned reduction of roughly 8,700 civilian employees nationwide in July 2011. The cuts were based on resource decisions made by the Department of Defense in order to comply with the Fiscal Year 2012 President’s Budget. The required overall reduction in Army civilian workforce numbers is to be accomplished by Sept. 30 of this year.
“The plan that we’ve had and the work that we’ve been doing; we’re making some good progress.” Johnson said to those gathered in the theater of Building 1555 and to a large screen showing civilians joining the meeting via live video teleconference from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Johnson shared comments he made when meeting with Lt. Gen. Michael Ferriter, commanding general of Installation Management Command. He conveyed to Ferriter that progress was positive and that Fort Wainwright was “on target with meeting our numbers.”
Johnson used a few examples of the tools which have been used to reach the Army’s goal.
First the garrison used the critical hire process to fill critical job needs.
Finding efficiencies throughout the garrison were realized through looking at contracts and saving money, manpower and reworking business processes.
In the first window of Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay and Voluntary Early Retirement Authority programs available to civilian members in February of this year, 11 individuals from Fort Wainwright applied and 10 were approved, Johnson said, and at Fort Richardson three applied and three were approved.
“We weren’t sure if we could get permission to do another one; we felt that we needed it, we pushed that up higher and we got approval from the command general [of IMCOM] to do that,” Johnson said. “So we we’ve done a second window of VERA and VISP applications and we’re actually still in the process of doing that.” At this point eight people have applied from Fort Wainwright with four approved and at Fort Richardson two have applied and one has been approved with one still pending. The window for this process will close June 30.
There was concern about the Soldier Skills Set Utilization program. Johnson pointed out that people may have seen Soldiers doing work around post that was once done by contractors; Soldier support is not meant to replace Department of the Army civilians. This includes using Soldiers at access control points, the dining facility and grounds maintenance such as mowing and trimming.
Presently, garrison command and staff are working on the command plan for 2014, working hard to bring together mission processes and manning needs in order to create the variety of support which meets the needs of the mission, the Soldier and the Army while providing job stability for the civilian workforce.
- For Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay program, visit the VSIP webpage: www.opm.gov/employ/html/vsi.htm
- Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay, VERA website: www.opm.gov/employ/vera/vera01.asp
- For links to local resources and placement program information for IMCOM garrison employees at Fort Wainwright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, visit the civilian news section on the installation home page www.wainwright.army.mil