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AIR FORCE TO TEST NEW HIRING PROCESS; EDWARDS AIMS TO SIMPLIFY CIVILIAN EMPLOYMENT PROCESS.

Byline: Jim Skeen Staff Writer

Edwards will be a test location for a new program intended to make it easier for the Air Force to hire and retain civilian Defense Department workers.

The Acquisition Personnel Demonstration Project will look at new ways of hiring and filling job vacancies as well as explore the possibility of grouping civilian defense worker pay grades into broad pay bands, increasing the flexibility in assigning work and pay, according to Air Force officials.

The existing system is often criticized for taking too long to fill jobs and not always having the right candidates for the positions. The system has too many procedural requirements, officials said.

The project also will examine the creation of a ``contribution-based compensation and appraisal'' system.

``Civilian appraisal changes will give workers an increased opportunity to receive more money based on their contributions to the mission,'' said Lynn Matsler Brod, Acquisition Career Management and Resources Division, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force.

The Air Force Flight Test Center and the Secretary of the Air Force Acquisition Office have committed 2,150 General Schedule positions to the project.

The way the Defense Department does business with its civilian work force is in flux. Prompted by tight budgets, the Defense Department is conducting a series of studies referred to as A-76, named after an Office of Management and Budget circular requiring open competitions for work that has traditionally been done by government employees.

Last year, Edwards awarded a contract for supply operations to a private contractor, eliminating 121 government civilian jobs and 215 military positions. The base has other A-76 studies in the works.

These competitions have resulted in savings of 20 percent to 25 percent, base officials say.

``The job will still get done,'' said Maj. Gen. Richard Reynolds, the Flight Test Center commander. ``Hopefully it will get done better. Our objective is that it will get done cheaper.''

In about half the cases, the Air Force retains the existing government workers for the work, according to Air Force officials.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 27, 1999
Words:340
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