FORSCOM Civilian employees answer the transfer call
April 9, 2010
- Department of the Army civilian employees meet Transfer of Function deadline
- Vast majority of FORSCOM civilians say they will relocate to Ft. Bragg, N.C.
- Aggressive work force communication effort, information flow key to early success
- Economy and housing market factors in employee relocation decisions
FORT McPHERSON, Ga. (April 7, 2010) - In mid-2005, word came with the recommendations of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission that U.S. Army Forces Command headquarters would relocate to Fort Bragg, N.C.
Nearly five years later, more than 650 U.S. Army Forces Command headquarters Army civilian employees received formal Transfer of Function notices March 1 that their jobs were relocating between 2010 and 2011.
A month of constant communication and information-packed encouragement came to an end April 1 as more than 99 percent of the work force met the deadline to respond with their decision to relocate, seek other federal or outside employment, or retire - if eligible.
"The FORSCOM Civilian corps has known for some time that this decision point was coming," said Ronna Garrett, FORSCOM's director of human resources. "The Civilians in this Command understand a response to the Command's offer to transfer to Fort Bragg is part of the critical path to both the Command's movement plan and the way ahead for employees' careers."
What may have been surprising to many in the Command's leadership and human resources team was the high number of those who responded that they would, in fact, relocate to the N.C. post.
"We had a much higher rate of acceptance than we expected," said Brig. Gen. Rick Porter, deputy chief of staff, G1, for FORSCOM, during an interview with the Fayetteville Observer, a N.C. newspaper. "597 Forces Command civilian workers say they plan to relocate to Fort Bragg, while 72 said they are not moving."
Garrett said there are a number of possible explanations for this exceptional rate of acceptance -- which far exceeds the typical rate of approximately 30-35 percent experienced by other commands during past BRAC relocations.
"Over the last year, the Command has made key financial decisions that provide for incentives to Civilians to accept the offer to move with the Command," she said. "There is no other Command in the Army offering what FORSCOM is offering its workforce."
Garrett and other FORSCOM planners are preparing for the possibility that some who indicated their willingness to move might change their minds due to changing circumstances as the move's serial departure dates approach. "We do believe there will be some who change their mind - life's events sometimes happen unexpectedly," she said. "Some pursuing potential employment in the Atlanta area will be successful and may decide to remain here."
"Our staff of human resources professionals will work closely with every member of our workforce," Garrett continued. "I know for certain that the Army Civilian Corps is made up of dedicated, loyal patriots who will make the right decision for themselves and their families while keeping the Command informed of their intentions."
One Forces Command employee cites several factors behind her choice to relocate, including the reality of the employment market.
"Every day I feel blessed and thankful to have such a good job," said Tina Orberson, an administrative assistant with FORSCOM's Staff Judge Advocate. "There are people in the local area, friends of mine, who have been laid off and can't find work."
Orberson, who is scheduled to relocate next July, is concerned about making the move; but feels it will be worth it in the long run.
"I wonder about learning a new area and how the local people will be," she said. "How expensive will it really be, and how will the taxes in North Carolina be, compared to Georgia'"
She says the Command here has provided plenty of good information and support as the move approaches.
"I like working for the Army, and like hearing Soldiers say 'thank you' when I help them," Orberson said. "Now, I'll get to move to a new place and see new things - it's a new adventure."
Next steps and near-term events
With the Transfer of Function notification process complete, FORSCOM will host events to prepare the workforce and position the Command for success.
A "Housing in the Fort Bragg Area" Town Hall meeting, featuring Mr. Greg Jackson, Chief of the Fort Bragg Housing Division, will be April 15 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. in the G1 Atrium of the FORSCOM Headquarters; and an "Exploring Employment Opportunities with U.S. Army Forces Command" job fair will be April 23 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Fort Bragg Club.
For more information on these events, or other BRAC-related items of interest, contact the FORSCOM Public Affairs Office at (404) 464-6351.