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Eglin 2007 summer hire program cancelled

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Air Armament Center summer hire program is cancelled this year due to budget cuts.

This decision is necessary because the civilian payroll for Eglin's AFMC units has been funded at roughly 92 percent of civilian authorizations, leaving a $5 million deficit as a result of our civilian pay execution at about 6 percent higher than the funding level. Cancelling the summer hire program is one initiative Eglin officials looked at to offset this funding shortfall.

"Subsequently, tough management decisions are being made to operate within this year's austere fiscal environment to include hiring restrictions and cancellation of the summer hire program," said Ms. Lee McGehee, AAC Manpower and Personnel director.

Last year, the secretary of defense initiated several budget cuts affecting the Air Force. These across-the-board cuts were directed to aid the Air Force in the recapitalization and modernization effort for many of its weapons systems.

Cancelling the summer hire program and imposing hiring restrictions are necessary actions because civilian pay is an issue of necessity and not preference, said Mr. Wes Lassiter, 96th ABW Civilian Personnel Flight chief.

"The civilian pay account is a must-pay account, it leaves no other option," he said. "People who work must be paid. However, non-civilian pay dollars such as temporary duty assignments and office supplies are generally optional."

Currently, Eglin officials are reviewing and implementing various options to reduce the civilian pay account shortfall including the summer hire cancellation, migrating non-civilian pay dollars into civilian pay accounts and reducing overtime and compensatory time for civilian employees.

According to Mr. Lassiter, the summer hire program cancellation only applies to operations and maintenance-funded AAC organizations such as the 96th Air Base Wing.

"Eglin's associate organizations such as the 33rd Fighter Wing and 53rd Wing are not impacted by the cancellation," he said.

The Eglin summer hire program is geared toward providing summer employment to high school and college students beginning at 16 years old. Students are hired to fill general schedule or wage grade positions ranging from office workers to lawn maintenance.

Last summer, Eglin hired approximately 55 summer hire students out of about 800 Air Force Personnel Center applicants, according to Mr. Lassiter.

"The challenges of manpower and budget cutbacks have forced us to make some difficult choices this year, and the summer hire program cancellation was definitely a difficult choice," he said. "However, we're keeping the long-term health of Team Eglin in mind through this difficult time, and are dedicated to saving money and minimizing the impact of these challenges to the fullest extent possible."

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