The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

October 1, 2010

Flight simulator instructor jobs at Vance shift over to government

ENID — The conversion of flight simulator instructor jobs at Vance Air Force Base from contract to government service went ahead as scheduled Friday morning.

Shortly after 8 a.m., 75 employees — 73 simulator instructors and two support clerks — were sworn in as government service employees, said Bob Farrell, chief of community relations at Vance.

“Once they signed the paperwork, they are government service employees,” he said.

The move had been expected, despite a last-minute offer by URS Federal Support Services Inc. to match the savings the Air Force said it would achieve through in-sourcing the jobs.

Lear Siegler Services, a division of URS that employs some 400 simulator instructors throughout Air Education and Training Command, including at Vance, was informed in December the company’s three-year contract, which expired at midnight Thursday, would not be renewed and the jobs converted to government service.

Garry Richey, AETC director of logistics, installations and mission support, said during a recent visit to Enid the decision was the result of orders the Air Force was given to cut costs.

The decision to in-source simulator instructor positions was driven strictly by economics, not because of any complaints with the contract instructors, who have been teaching students in simulators for the past 20 years at Vance and other pilot training bases.

State Sen. Patrick Anderson, R-Enid, who worked to keep the jobs with Lear Siegler, said Richey told him the Air Force would realize a total savings of $6.9 million over the next five years, $5.6 million of which would come from Sheppard AFB, Texas, $1.3 million from Vance and Columbus AFB, Miss., as well as two Texas bases, Laughlin and Randolph.

Some 10 percent of the 85 instructors and support personnel under the Lear Siegler contract were not re-hired. Those who were hired will take an average pay cut of $18,000, according to Vance simulator instructors, which will have an estimated negative economic impact on Enid of $1.5 million to $2 million annually.

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