Robins accepts more than 400 buyouts

wcrenshaw@macon.comMarch 13, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- A voluntary buyout offer will reduce civilian employment at Robins Air Force Base by about 400.

According to a release sent Wednesday, out of 880 applications received, offers were made to 593 workers, and 403 accepted. Those accepted will leave by the end of April and will get up to $25,000.

The base announced the early retirement and separation incentives in February. The number of buyouts accepted exceeded the goal of 300 that previously was announced.

Base officials said the buyouts were unrelated to the automatic cuts known as sequestration and other Air Force cost-cutting initiatives. They said the move was made to reduce excess personnel in certain areas, particularly in the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex. Most of the buyouts accepted came from the complex, which does aircraft maintenance and is the largest unit at Robins.

The initiative is referred to as Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment, or VERA/VSIP.

“The main reason for this round of VERA/VSIP was to better align the complex workforce with the incoming workload,” Stacy Wood, a base human resources specialist, said in the release.

“As our workload has decreased, the workforce needed to be shaped, so it is the right size to match the workload.”

The news comes on the heels of the announcement that sequestration will mean 22 days of furlough for the 15,000 civilian employees at the base. That has been estimated to have a negative economic impact of $150 million.

Wood emphasized that the buyout offers are not related.

“They are two distinct and unrelated efforts,” Wood said. “VERA/VSIP is about shaping the workforce to align with future requirements, while sequestration is a budget-driven exercise.”

In an economic impact statement released in February, total employment at the base was put at 24,700, including civilian, military and contracted employees.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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