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Fort Bliss To Cut Nearly 200 Civilian Jobs

Nearly 200 people will lose their job at Fort Bliss by September 2012, post officials confirmed Friday. Fort Bliss’ commander, Maj Gen Dana Pittard said the job cuts are a result of federal spending cuts nationwide.

The Department of Defense is cutting about 8,700 civilian positions at military installations across the country, said Pittard. Fort Bliss has been directed to cut 192 civilian positions. “Most of those positions are temporary or term positions, so the majority of the workers in those positions knew at some point, the terms would end,” said Maj Gen Pittard.

The cut positions are secretarial and administrative, with salaries ranging from $30,000 a year to $90,000, said Pittard. “It’s not about positions, it’s about people. It’s about people with families, with lives, with faces,” he said.

Fort Bliss will try to help the affected workers find another job. With more than 100 vacancies on post, Pittard said some of them may be back at Fort Bliss. “We have vacancies open and actually higher positions that we hope that we can move people to and or they can apply for those positions,” he said.

The post is still expanding. With construction of a William Beaumont Army Medical Center campus and El Paso Community College satellite campus, the general said there is an economic cushion foreign to other posts. “The 192 positions we are losing, we think we’ll more than make up for that by the growth of jobs in other sectors,” he said on Friday.

When asked if he expected more cuts at a later time, Pittard said the future is uncertain. “We don’t know what the future holds but we do know that our country has a 14-trillion dollar debt and that there are budgetary and fiscal pressures on the department of defense.”

He added that 95 of the 192 affected employees are eligible for retirement, and ‘more than half’ of the eligible workers have opted for that. Pittard said Fort Bliss was ordered to eliminate fewer jobs than other posts, which were ordered to eliminate between 300 and 500 positions. “In some ways, it was a pleasant surprise because it wasn’t as high as we thought it was going to be,” he said.

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