Robins Reserve cuts may not mean pink slips

The Air Force Reserve Command Headquarters at Robins will lose 258 positions, but that doesn't mean 258 pink slips.

The Secretary of the Air Force announced a new round of budget-cutting Monday.

Some say that may not hit Robins Air Force Base as hard as it sounds.

Chrissy Miner, Interim CEO of the 21st Century Partnership, echoed comments from an Air Force Reserve spokesman.

She said many of the cuts there, may not mean actual workers losing jobs.

While still a loss to the community, many could come from unfilled vacancies.

Miner said, "If there is somebody in that job they might offer them some early retirement incentives, or separation incentives, or they might move them to another job. But bottom line, 258 jobs that could have been there, won't be there anymore."

Local economist from Middle Georgia State College, Greg George, says if the positions come from unfilled jobs, it will minimize the economic impact.

He explained why so many of those vacancies often exist in government agencies. George said, "It allows some flexibility in budgeting, and when things get tight, they have to go back and reassess whether they really need those positions hanging around or not, and they'll just let them go."

George said savings from unfilled positions can often be rolled over into the agencies' budget the following year. With the elimination of positions, as in this case, that money often goes away, as well.

Commander of the Air Force Reserve, Lt. General James Jackson, said Tuesday that they are in the process of determining which positions to cut. He said they will likely include active-duty military, civilians, and reservists in headquarters positions.

Jackson said in a statement, "We recognize the effect that reductions of this magnitude will have on our employees and our community."

The cuts are Air Force wide totaling about 3,500 jobs. The losses were divided among installations across the nation. In comparison, Robins will see fewer losses than eight other bases.

U.S. Rep. for the 8th Congressional District, which covers Robins, Austin Scott said in a statement, "This proposal may be viewed as a cost-saving measure on the surface, but it would likely lead to higher costs in the future if it results in a less ready force. Not only does the impact on workers concern me, but we must also ensure that the Air Force Reserve Command is not forced to compromise on its mission or take cuts disproportionate to other commands."


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