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Posted: April 20, 2018 3:11 p.m.
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RIF mechanics explained

Pat Young/

Fort Stewart Deputy to the Garrison Commander, Paul Stuart, addresses community members Arpil 13 regarding the installation's recent mock RIF held in March.

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Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Civilian Personnel Assistance Center conducted briefings at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield on April 13 and 17, respectively, to inform the garrison workforce on the procedures used in a Reduction in Force, should one be approved by the Department of the Army.  Furthermore, they spoke about the Voluntary Early Retirement and Voluntary Separation Incentive Programs.

The gathering was part of an initiative to educate the garrison workforce regarding the ongoing civilian employee drawdown initiated almost seven years ago and discussed most recently by the Garrison Commander Aug. 22, 2017 at an employee town hall.

During the Aug. 22, 2017 town hall the Fort Stewart Deputy to the Garrison Commander, Paul Stuart, explained personnel in positions that are no longer authorized on the Table of Distribution and Allowances would be considered over hires.  He noted that the Installation Management Command expects the garrison to eliminate all over hires by Sept. 30, 2018. This would bring the garrison appropriated fund work force to 800 employees.  

One of the consideration's was a request made by IMCOM Commanding General Lt. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl to the Department of the Army asking for authority to conduct a Reduction in Force at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield -- along with Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Bragg, North Carolina and Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland -- to enable these installations to reach the mandate of zero over hires.  

While Stuart noted at the April 13 event that the RIF request has not been approved; they would continue to try and reach the installation's TDA goal through attrition, reassignments, and VERA/VSIP.  

During the Aug. 22 town hall Wolter and Stuart had said that the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield CPAC planned to conduct a mock RIF to identify “at risk” employees should a RIF be authorized, thus enabling the garrison and these employees to make plans and decisions for the future. 

Stuart said the garrison conducted the mock RIF in March and was conducting these April 13 and 17 briefings to discuss RIF mechanics and the DOD Priority Placement Program.

One of the employees attending the April 13 briefing, Gennal Brown, a staff member in the garrison's Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, said she wanted to get more information in case the requested RIF is approved. 

“I wanted to learn about the process," Brown said. “How it may affect me and others, and to make sure it would be fair." 

Helping answer that question was Civilian Branch Chief Jackie Johnson-Brunson, a member of the installation's Civilian Personnel Advisory Center staff, who walked through RIF procedures.    

“The purpose of this briefing is to provide a general RIF overview, and explain the basic mechanics of how it is run,” said Johnson-Brunson. She continued, “Our hope is to inform the workforce on recent changes to the RIF process and give a better understanding of how it would be run.”

Mary Walker, a CPAC employee, explained that on Jan. 18, 2017, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a directive that makes performance the primary retention factor in any RIF.  

She said each person would be placed on the retention register using five factors, in order:  Rating of Record, Tenure, Average Rating, Veteran's preference, and Service Computation date.  She said individuals with the highest Rating of Record would receive the highest retention consideration.  When two individuals have the same rating, then consideration would go using the subsequent categories until one is identified as the next level.  If two individuals are rated 4, then they look at tenure, if both have two years, then they look at the average score - if both have 3.6, then they look at veterans preference and so on down to service computation date.  

Individuals should contact installation CPAC Human Resources Specialists for applicability of these factors to personal situations.  

Other matters discussed at the April 13 briefing included the VERA/VSIP’s window of opportunity started April 4 and closes April 23, with those approved under either of these being off the rolls by June 30, 2018. Elizabeth Miller, the Human Resources Specialist that discussed VERA/VSIP, said if one had received severance pay previously, they would not be eligible to receive it again. 

William Jeffers, the garrison director of Resource Management, said the installation should know who was approved for VERA/VSIP around May 15. 

Stuart reminded employees that as of April 13, the actual RIF was unapproved, but noted the installation would continue to move toward the mandate of zero over hires by Sept. 30 by using attrition, reassignments, and separation incentives such as the VERA/VSIP.  To support a RIF, he said the garrison planned to initiate a hiring freeze for selected series and grades.  

During this and other personnel town halls, Stuart said employees can prepare by keeping their resumes up to date and ensuring they reflect current education, training, work experience, qualifications, and veterans' preference in them.

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