Scores of garrison civilian employees attended a town hall style meeting at Howze Auditorium on Thursday hosted by Fort Hood garrison comander Col. Hank Perry.
The meeting was designed to provide guidance regarding the impending Installation Management Command ordered reductions in force that will also impact six other installations through the remainder of the fiscal year 2018 to bring employee levels in line with Department of the Army appropriations for fiscal year 2019.
Human resource specialist Judy Potaczek, of the Fort Hood Civilian Personnel Advisory Center, also addressed the audience regarding policies and procedures that provide information for employees affected by the cuts.
“This is our second town hall of four that we will be conducting,” Perry said. “The purpose of this meeting is that we want to convey the way forward.”
Perry explained that the process originated in fiscal year 2016, when the garrison had more than 190 extra hires. Various remedies have been implemented to reduce the impact of the RIF through internal moves, the options provided by the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and the Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments programs, the priority placement program to IMCOM positions at other installations, and placement outside of IMCOM — while making use of normal attrition resulting from transfers and retirement.
“We want to be transparent as possible for people to understand what we are doing and why we are doing it,” Perry said. “I want to protect the process and take care of people.”
The levels authorized by the FY 2016 budget was 1,221 and the authorization for FY 2019 is 1,108. Of the 190 extra hires, there remains 29 positions to be reduced, according to officials.
The reductions will affect those in the grades of GS-11 and below. Moreover, five retention factors utilized for the RIF were outlined: Rating of record, tenure, average rating score, veteran’s preference and the employee’s service computation date, according to Potaczek.
The rating of record will consist of an average of the two most recent performance appraisals received during the last four years. However, as Potaczek indicated, if the most recent employee evaluation was deemed “unacceptable performance,” that appraisal would be the only one considered for the RIF.
Considering tenure, employees will be classified into one of three categories. Category I consists of career employees. Category II are career conditional employees while Category III are employees not in career status. The Category I employees are the highest priority employees while those in Category III are the lowest.
The rating of record is the average score factor — the average of the employee’s performance appraisals.
Veteran’s preference also has three categories. They consist of, from top to bottom, Category AD, which is those who have at least a 30 percent disability. Category A consists of all other eligible veterans while category B will include employees with no veterans preference.
Finally, there is the employee’s service computation date. This is the date the employee began federal service. Veterans who served in combat or with expeditionary forces will have computation periods changed to add that time as well.
Moreover, hiring actions not completed by June 25 will be placed on hold until the RIF is complete.
Options for those facing separation due to the reduction include: Being reassigned to another position in the same grade, being reassigned to another position to fill a vacancy, or changed to a lower grade to fill a vacancy. Also, employees will be registered to the Priority Placement Program, which may reassign affected employees to positions at other installations.
The separated employees must be off the rolls by Sept. 30.
In attendance for the meeting was LeVetrice Jefferson of Work Force Solutions of Central Texas. Jefferson explained that the organization has a plethora of resources and opportunities available to separated employees: Job training, educational opportunities, child care assistance and help with job searches.
Mark Phillips, with the Fort Hood Soldier for Life–Transition Assistance Program, explained other resources available to those impacted by the reductions.
For more information regarding assistance for those affected by the cuts, contact Workforce Solutions of Central Texas representative Levitrice Jackson at 254-200-2228 or Mary Urratia at 254-200-2232. Their office is located at 300 Cheyenne Drive in Killeen and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To reach representative of the Fort Hood Soldier for Life–Transition Assistance Program, call 254-288-2227. SFL-TAP is located at the Copeland Soldier Service Center, Building 18010, and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.