At a town hall meeting at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB) last month, senior military and civilian leaders presented an overview of a federal workforce reduction plan that is set to impact hundreds of positions at military installations throughout the National Capital Region (NCR).
“This was information giving people an update on where Naval District Washington (NDW) region is [in the process]. So we constantly update and stay engaged with the employees and show them the impact regarding what management is doing, what they have done and what is still expected of us,” NDW Human Resource Office Director Felix Petersen said at the March 25 meeting at JBAB’s Bolling Club.
Implementation of the reduction in force (RIF), which had previously been delayed, goes into effect Aug. 23. It will eliminate 31 specific billets on that date and impact hundreds of positions throughout the NCR, according to NDW.
“Three things can occur: involuntary separation, involuntary demotion, and reassignment resulting from a displaced or another employee. Those are the three things that can occur in a RIF,” Petersen said.
In calculating who goes and who stays the RIF applies a retention registration tool to determine the retention status of the federal employees in the region, Petersen explained.
That tool looks at key categories such as length of service and veteran’s preference to establish whether an employee will be retained, reassigned or separated, he said.
Employees should receive notices May 9 about their retention status indicating whether they are in fact affected, retained, reassigned or separated, Petersen said.
According to district commandant Rear Adm. Mark Rich, the majority of the funding at Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) is spent on people and labor costs. And the RIF is a way to reduce those expenses by shrinking operations in the face of one the harshest economic climates he has witnessed over the past three decades.
The elimination of 31 billets does not translate into the loss of only 31 jobs, Rich said. It will, rather, impact approximately 124 positions throughout the region, he said.
Rich projects one in four employees will be impacted by the RIF. He urged all workers to be informed of their protections and rights concerning the RIF in order to minimize the likelihood of an unfavorable shift in their career paths.
NDW Regional Executive Director Tom McGuire believes many are starting to get a clearer picture what is taking place and how they can better position themselves for success.
“I think now people are starting to understand fully well. Our main focus is [asking], are we doing everything we can to help people get a good outcome,” McGuire said.
Employees affected by the RIF have strong protections available to them and informational sessions like this one are an excellent starting point.
“It is good for us to get out and have this discussion. It is also good to get out and field questions about absolutely anything whether its RIF related or something else,” McGuire said.
The next and final town hall meeting will take place on the same RIF implementation date, according to Petersen.