Robins looking to accept 300 buyouts

wcrenshaw@macon.comJanuary 31, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- Robins Air Force Base on Thursday announced another round of voluntary buyouts aimed at cutting 300 jobs.

According to a release, the offer is unrelated to current Air Force budget uncertainties, including automatic cuts set to take place March 1.

“It’s been in the works for some time,” Debra Singleton, Robins’ director of personnel, said in the release.

The base will begin accepting applications Monday. Those accepted will get up to $25,000 and leave by April 30. Most of the buyouts are expected to come from the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, which makes up the bulk of operations at the base.

“This will help the complex ‘right size’ to its budgeted end strength for FY13,” Donna Frazier, the complex’s director of business, said in the release. “But it’s also an opportunity for us to shape our workforce to meet the requirements of the future.”

Applications will be accepted from general schedule, wage grade, wage lead and wage supervisor positions in a number of specialities. Among those are painters, electricians and engine mechanics. Applications also will be accepted from tenant units on base, if commanders in those units choose to participate.

There are about 15,000 civilian workers on base.

As a part of the reorganization of Air Force Materiel Command and Air Force cost-cutting, the base accepted 681 voluntary buyouts last year. Nearly all were early retirements.

Retired Maj. Gen. Robert McMahon, who commanded what was then called the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at the time of last year’s buyouts, said the base has more personnel than it needs in certain areas, in part due to a reduction in workload.

“We made the decision we were going to carry more people than we probably needed,” said McMahon, who now leads the 21st Century Partnership, which works to support the base. “We didn’t get as many people as we had hoped. This in many ways is continuing in what we were doing last year to right-size the force.”

The primary mission of the 21st Century Partnership is to protect the base in the event of a Base Realignment and Closure Commission. McMahon said reducing the number of workers in excess of what is needed actually will be a benefit because it makes the base more efficient and cost effective.

It took three rounds of buyout offers over several months for the base to reach the figure it did last year, but McMahon said he believes the goal of 300 can be achieved.

“The economy is doing better than last year,” he said. “A lot of factors have changed that make it realistic that the numbers they have set can be reached.”

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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