Air Force to survey some civilian employees on buyouts

Air Force Materiel Command will survey its civilian workforce starting next month to gauge interest in potential buyouts.

Beginning May 1, the command, headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, will ask employees at its 10 bases across the country if they want to apply for a fiscal 2011-2012 voluntary early retirement or separation from their jobs. The survey aims to see how the buyouts can help the command reduce the workforce, and cut costs.

"Given fiscal challenges facing AFMC and the Air Force, it is prudent we take these actions," said John Steenbock, AFMC's director of manpower, personnel and services.

Steenbock said the purpose of exploring the use of buyouts is to avoid a reduction in force, which could occur if the command cannot meet its manpower budget requirements. If there's sufficient interest among the workforce in buyouts, then the command will seek authority to offer the incentive program in September and December. Employees could receive incentive payouts of up to $25,000.

"We will be looking for a way to reduce the workforce while keeping it balanced so we maintain sufficient strength in all our mission areas," said Steenbock.

In addition Steenbock said the command has implemented hiring controls, filling one position for every two slots that become vacant and focusing on hiring only in critical mission areas. The hiring policy does not affect current hiring actions with a selection and/or established entrance-on-duty date.

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