November 25, 2015

Civilian workforce updated at 412th TW commander’s calls

Rebecca Amber
Staff writer

Brig. Gen. Carl Schaefer, 412th Test Wing commander, addresses civilian employees at a civilian call held at the base theater Nov. 19. Schaefer held three sessions to ensure all civilian employees had the opportunity to attend.

Three commander’s calls were held Nov. 19 at the base theater to give updates to Edwards AFB’s civilian workforce and to address any questions or concerns that civilian employees may have.
Three sessions were held to ensure all civilians who wanted to attend got the chance. They all had one recurring theme: “Everyone is of value and deserves to be treated that way.”
Those words were spoken by Brig. Gen. Carl Schaefer, 412th Test Wing commander, which came in the midst of questions about AcqDemo salary control points during the first session.
David Wheaton, 412th Test Wing technical director, joined Schaefer on the stage to answer some of the questions surrounding the control points, which went into effect Oct. 1 for employees on the Acquisition Demonstration pay program.
“It should be your favorite subject, it’s a good thing,” said Wheaton adding that the control points are here to stay.
All compensation management systems control salaries, said Wheaton. There are always rules that are developed to have a graduated series of compensation levels. In AcqDemo, there are additional capabilities such as expedited hiring.
According to Michelle Lovato, 412th Force Support Squadron Civilian Personnel office, roughly two-thirds of the test wing population is paid in the Contribution-based Compensation and Appraisal System (CCAS), also known as AcqDemo. The remaining personnel fall under the federal wage system and general schedule.
The Air Force Test Center plans to convert approximately an additional 13,000 people to AcqDemo next year according to Wheaton.
He emphasized two main topics within the salary control points. First, they give visibility into how compensation is managed. They offer a new ability to know how pay pool managers and supervisors are assessing personnel contributions. The other is that this will ensure that all pay pools have the same established rules for salary control points.
If an individual is at or near their salary control point, Wheaton hopes it will motivate personnel to talk to their supervisors about the next step in their career.
“Salary control point is not about the person, it’s about the job that you hold. What we do as supervisors and pay pool managers, we analyze the position and the contribution potential for that position,” said Wheaton. “That salary control point is a salary that’s commensurate with the maximum level that you can expect to contribute to the test wing, test center and the Air Force in that position. That’s what it really represents. It does not represent the person that’s in that position.”
Schaefer add that he “loves AcqDemo. I love the way it communicates to our workforce and I love being able to be transparent with folks.”
One thing employees don’t need to worry about according to Schaefer is a government shutdown or furlough this year. The current continuing resolution expires Dec. 11 and there are several appropriation bills that need to be signed before that date including the National Defense Authorization Act. Schaefer is confident going into the holidays that the bills will either be passed or another continuing resolution will be enacted. President Barack Obama also signed a bipartisan budget bill providing two years of stable funding.
In fact, Schaefer believes that Edwards will see population growth because the Air Force has plans to spend $200 billion to modernize the Air Force over the next 10-15 years.
F-15s, F16s and A-10s are all old and hard to sustain. KC-135s, B-52s, have not undergone any sort of big modernization in years, but that’s coming.
“There’s no better place to be in the Air Force than at Edwards, our business is going to be booming because the Air Force is counting on us to modernize,” said the test wing commander.
The F-35 is already at Edwards and the KC-46 will head here after further testing in Seattle.
Meanwhile, civilians are encouraged to take advantage of education and mentoring programs such as MyVector. Another program on the horizon is phased retirement. This would allow civilian employees to partially retire and continue working as a mentor.
“Instead of all that gigantic, amazing experience walking out the door, never to be seen again, there’s potential to partially retire and come back and consult,” said Schaefer.
It will also be easier for civilians to be approved to attend conferences. Supervisors with temporary duty authority have been tasked with approving conferences that are less than $3,000 overall and less than $600 a day.
Fiscal Year 2015 Strategic Action Plan Goals and Objects were met with the acquisition of the ground-based system avoidance system for unmanned aerial systems. DUI’s were reduced from 14 the year before to only five this year. The Rosburg Fitness Center was made CAC-enabled for 24/7 access. Speckled Trout stood down, and Test Operations and the 416th Flight Test Squadron were consolidated to make space on the ramp for new programs.
Another one of those goals is to increase educational opportunities for civilian workers. Beth Hodge, 412th FSS, Education Services specialist, shared some of those opportunities available through the Education Office. Those interested are encouraged to drop by the office or call 661-277-6731.
The climate assessment that was conducted over the summer left some room for improvement. The assessment looked at awareness of helping agencies on base, tolerance of offensive comments and materials in the workplace and improvement of the overall health of the unit. On the military side, Edwards is doing well. On the civilian side however, Edwards has some room to improve. Schaefer read every comment in the 400-page report and will address the issues that came up in the assessment.
Schaefer used the last portion of the commander’s call to review the test center’s vision to be agile, ready and right. He reminded everyone that the vision should drive all decision making. The Air Force’s vision is “powered by Airmen, fueled by innovation.”
To bring that vision to Edwards, Schaefer is committed to creating a culture of innovation on the base.
“The thing that’s kept this nation great is staying two steps ahead of the enemy in technology. That’s what allows our decision makers to make decisions that affect us every day,” said Schaefer.
He closed with the message he opened with – “everyone is of value.”
“You just need to know one final thing. You may have not heard this from a commander but, I love you. I do, I am so proud of what you do day in and day out for our country. I care deeply about what you contribute, about your ideas, about where you’re going in life, about getting you things you need to do your job — I just do.”

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