Filling the jobs of firefighters, police officers and child care workers are among the Defense Department civilian workers exempt from a federal hiring freeze, the Pentagon said Thursday.
President Donald J. Trump imposed the temporary hiring freeze under a Jan. 23 executive order, which includes the state’s largest single-site employer at Wright-Patterson. The sprawling workplace has more than 27,000 military and civilian personnel, of which more than 13,000 represent civil service workers.
Wright-Patterson has more than 1,050 job vacancies, although an exact number for all agencies was not available, according to base figures.
The hiring freeze was to stay in place for 90 days while the Trump administration works on a plan to reduce the size of the federal workforce through attrition. The temporary ban prevents agencies bringing contractors on board “to circumvent” restrictions.
A Defense Department memorandum released Thursday outlined exemptions attributed to national security or public safety.
“This adds more pieces to the puzzle but it still does not answer all the questions,” said Michael Gessel, Dayton Development Coalition vice president of federal programs in Washington, D.C. “It establishes a clearer path for how exemptions are going to be determined in the future.”
At Wright-Patterson, the hiring waivers could have an impact at the base hospital, the Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Center foreign military sales, child care centers, and positions supporting the prevention of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence and suicide, among other categories.
Other exemptions may be on a case-by-case basis based on national security and public safety needs, but must be reported and the reason justified, according to the Feb. 1 directive signed by Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work.
The exemption for firefighters could have an immediate impact at Wright-Patterson.
Brian Grubb, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local F88, said the installation’s fire department has three new firefighters joining soon and the department anticipated hiring more with upcoming retirements in 2017.
An extended hiring freeze could have caused work-time issues, he said.
“Basically, we would be working overtime more so than what we are now and it would be just thinning us out even further than what we are,” he said. ‘The typically broad brush approaches to hiring freezes doesn’t take into consideration mandatory positions that must be filled.”
Last Friday, the Department of Veteran Affairs exempted a wide range of health care occupations, emergency first responders, national cemetery workers, and construction managers and engineers from the temporary hiring ban.
The Dayton VA has about 2,000 employees and provides health care to nearly 40,000 people at its main campus and four outpatient clinics.
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