An early retirement and buyout incentive drive at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base drew 537 employees who applied to leave, but only a few dozen will be allowed to take the offer, according to base officials.
The reason: Each employee who leaves under the program must have lined up someone facing a job loss on base to replace them, said Wright-Patterson spokesman Daryl Mayer.
Only 37 were able to meet that standard, according to base figures, meaning 500 people were denied the option to take the incentives and retire early or quit their jobs with a severance payment.
That’s far below the 440 employees who were OK’d for the incentives the last time Wright-Patterson used them in fiscal year 2012, but the state’s largest single-site employer also had far few vacant positions open, Mayer said.
“This time we’ve been in a hiring freeze for a longer period of time, which means we had more vacancies,” he said.
By Oct. 1, the Air Force Materiel Command will cut about 370 positions at Wright-Patterson, but most of those are vacancies, leaving 103 who face actual job losses, the base spokesman said.
But after placing 73 employees who faced termination notices in other jobs at the Miami Valley base, Wright-Patterson has about 30 people facing the prospect of losing their jobs by the end of next month, officials said.
“Our personnel team is still reviewing vacant (positions) to identify placement opportunities for the remaining 30 employees,” Wright-Patterson spokeswoman Marie Vanover said in an email. “We will use every available resource to minimize any adverse impact to employees.”
Under the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program, the federal government pays a departing employee a lump sum payout of up to $25,000 to leave their job.
The Voluntary Early Retirement Authority program lowers the retirement age to 50 with at least 20 years federal service, or any age with at least 25 years in the job, based on Office of Personnel Management eligibility standards.
The job reductions are part of an Air Force-wide elimination of 3,459 positions to save $1.6 billion, according to Air Force figures. The Air Force, like other military branches, is under a Defense Department order to cut headquarters staff by 20 percent.
Messages were left Friday with American Federal of Government Employees union officials, who represent thousands of workers at Wright-Patterson.
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