For U.S. civil servants in Europe confused about the new National Security Personnel System, clarity is arriving.
During the next several months, approximately 55 town hall meetings will be held at various sites to educate Army civilian employees and their managers – including servicemembers and local nationals’ supervisors – on the ins and outs of NSPS.
“We will answer everything we can,” Brig. Gen. Rusty Frutiger, U.S. Army, Europe deputy chief of staff for personnel and the Army in Europe’s NSPS transition manager, said during the initial meeting Oct. 20 at Mannheim. “If we don’t have the answer, we’ll take your questions and e-mail you with a response.”
The full conversion to NSPS – a Department of Defense initiative to replace the current, seniority-based pay system with a performance-based one – by USAREUR and 5th Signal Command civilians is scheduled to begin October 2007, according to Jim Biggs, the assistant deputy chief of staff for USAREUR personnel transformation. And throughout the next six months, other employees in Europe with other Army commands will be converting to NSPS.
The town hall meetings are part of DOD’s plan in flowing NSPS information to its entire workforce, Mr. Biggs said. He added that because most of the sites will be installation movie theaters, space should not be an issue.
At every meeting, a panel of experts will be present to answer questions. For example, the professionals at Mannheim included officials from USAREUR’s Civilian Personnel Directorate, the Heidelberg Civilian Personnel Advisory Center and the Civilian Human Resources Agency-Europe. Their presence proved effective considering the variety of questions posed.
“I wanted to know if I’ll lose my (living quarters allowance),” said Rich Glass, an engineer with Mannheim’s Directorate of Public Works, who added he was relieved to learn that NSPS does not affect overseas housing pay.
Mr. Glass also sought an explanation of the NSPS pay band system, which replaces the General Schedule system of pay grades and step and, according to DOD officials, allows for the flexibility to adjust salaries and compensation to be competitive with private industry.
A military spouse in the audience asked whether the priority of family members in the hiring process would be threatened under the new system. Again, the answer was “no impact” as NSPS will not affect any of the current priority employee standings for family members and veterans.
A final schedule for the town hall meetings will be made available through command information channels and other local avenues when completed. Apart from the opportunity to attend the meetings, Mr. Biggs said, U.S.
civilian employees scheduled to convert to NSPS, and their supervisors, must undergo mandatory training prior to conversion. He encourages all attendees to seek additional information or training through Web-based resources. He recommended the following Web sites for more information on the program: www.per.hqusareur.army.mil/cpd, http://cpol.army.mil/library/general/nsps and www.cpms.osd.mil/nsps.