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AcqDemo coming to SMDC

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama - -- More than 700 U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command civilian employees will transition to the Department of Defense pay system, Acquisition Workforce Personnel Demonstration project, by summer.

USASMDC/ARSTRAT and the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1858 reached a mutual agreement March 29 that allows the command's workforce to enter into AcqDemo.

"This is the first AcqDemo that has been successfully negotiated at Redstone Arsenal," said Abner Merriweather, AFGE Local 1858 president. "This win for both parties no doubt will be beneficial to all SMDC employees."

AcqDemo is designed to improve the local acquisition and acquisition support workforce through streamlined hiring processes, broadbanding, simplified job classification, and revised reduction-in-force procedures. The system also promotes an encouraging environment in the growth of employees through a contribution-based compensation and appraisal system, expanded training opportunities, and sabbaticals. The command will convert all eligible employees by June 26.

"A major benefit of this system is that it allows us to recognize those employees who are working above and beyond," said Julie Schumacher, SMDC Deputy to the Commander. "The AcqDemo system promotes fairness and consistency in the appraisal process and allows leaders to reward employees commensurate with their contribution to the organization. It will support employee personal and professional growth, and for supervisors, it will give them more control and flexibility, enhancing management of the SMDC workforce."

One SMDC employee said he was looking forward to the change.

"I am excited the command has the opportunity to switch all employees to AcqDemo," said Todd Buckhouse, SMDC aviation officer in Colorado Springs, Colorado. "I participated in another pay for performance system as a federal employee and liked the ability to explain in detail the work I accomplished over a rating period. I think being compensated for excellence achieved during a rating period is motivating. My morale has improved based on the fact that Lt. Gen. Mann and Ms. Schumacher continued to press forward and ultimately achieved their goal."

According to the DoD Civilian Acquisition Workforce Personnel Demonstration Project website, the inflexibility of many personnel processes and the diffused authority in the current system result in a workforce that cannot posture itself for the rapidly changing technological and business environment. AcqDemo is designed to provide a personnel management system that increases leaders' ability to attract, retain, and motivate a highly qualified workforce.

Buckhouse said he expects to see these benefits from AcqDemo as well.

"I expect to see the opportunity to be rewarded for exceptional work in a manner in which TAPES (Total Army Performance Evaluation System) could not provide," he said. "I also expect detailed training and a challenging implementation of AcqDemo over the next several months. Transitioning to new rating systems takes education, perseverance, and an understanding on both the employee and leadership that transitioning to a new pay system will be worth the effort in the end."

Redstone Arsenal employee Christian Reyes is also happy AcqDemo will be implemented.

"I am looking forward to the implementation of AcqDemo, because I think our SMDC team will be more motivated to work even harder because our performance and contributions will be directly related to our pay, instead of just time," said Reyes, a computer scientist. "I'm also looking forward to having pay-bands, which will allow more room for salary growth than the GS system, which with its current implementation, would require competing for almost any promotion. Lastly, I'm looking forward to the implementation of LabDemo for the Technical Center, since it also allows for tools management can use to bring in talent and keep it in a lab environment.

Reyes said he would also like to know more about the implementation and what is expected in order for employees to plan their goals.

Schumacher said the SMDC workforce should expect to receive further information from G-1 on the timeline and transition training in the near future.

"We want eligible employees transitioned by the end of June so that they can receive an AcqDemo appraisal at the end of the fiscal year 2016 rating cycle," Schumacher said. "While change can be difficult, this change will result in a better qualified, more effective and efficient workforce."

Schumacher said that while the timeline is challenging, it will take a team effort to get AcqDemo implemented, and it was also a team effort that got the command to this point.

"I'd like to recognize and thank everyone on the negotiating team for all of their hard work," she continued. "I look forward to working together on future enhancements to our workforce."

AcqDemo website

DoD Civilian Acquisition Workforce Personnel Demonstration Project

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