Buyout Incentive Too Good to Pass Up for Many Who Called CCAD Home
by Brigitte Rox, CCAD Public Affairs
Left to Right and Years of Service: Nelda Labbe – 32 years, Jocelyn Heimbigner – 29 years, Deborah Owens – 27 years, Robert Gomez – 36 years, Kyong Comparini – 32 years, Vickie Garcia – 31 years, Ruth Herrera – 9 years. Photo by Ervey Martinez. (RELEASED).
Corpus Christi, TX (February 6, 2014) – Sixty-five CCAD employees ended the year with an early retirement under the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay (VERA/VSIP).
The target date for separation of depot employees receiving VSIP was on or before 18 January. That’s when they would need to be off the CCAD rolls.
The optional retirement incentive was available to employees who were either 55 years old with 30 years of service, 60 years old with 20 years of service, or 62 years old with 5 years of service. Early retirements were also offered for those aged 50 years with 20 years of service, or to employees of any age claiming 25 years of service.
Due to the Department of Army divestitures and the potential for further manpower reductions, U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) began actively pursuing avenues to reduce the size of the AMCOM workforce without involuntary separations.
“We were able to make the adjustments with minimal effect to the workforce because we were prudent in the hiring of permanent civilians and we’ve used contractors where appropriate,” said Annette Cross, CCAD’s Director of Human Capital Management.
The general reception of these early retirements was very positive, said Linda Castellanos, Workforce Management Division Chief. “It is typical that, at the end of any year, employees make the decision to retire. For some, this was just a bonus and they were very excited to receive the incentive.”
That was the case for Oscar Recio, a master scheduler who had been at the depot for 32 years.
“I was planning to retire in twenty months,” he said. “So the VERA/VSIP just expedited the process.”
Oscar and his wife, Bernadette (Bernie), retired together on January 17.
“When the VERA/VSIP came into play, Bernie and I sat down and went through our finances, the cost our son’s college tuition and the potential growth of our family business. After crunching the numbers, we knew we could do it and be comfortable with our decision on both of us retiring.”
According to the Office of Personnel Management, the buyout authority allows agencies that are downsizing or restructuring to offer employees lump-sum payments up to $25,000 as an incentive to voluntarily separate.
Despite the incentive, early retirement meant a lot of mixed emotions for CCADers who considered their co-workers family.
That was the case for Oscar and Bernie.
“We met at CCAD while I was working in the Safety Office in 1983,” said Bernie said of her husband. “Oscar was on the Safety Council and I was a clerk typist. We would talk while he waited for the safety specialists.”
The two were married a year later.
Once they were married and settled down, Bernie Recio’s itch to try new things compelled her to leave the Blade Shop after more than eighteen years. She began working with Quality where she was exposed to all the far-reaching corners of CCAD.
Her husband, Oscar, went to work to make the depot a place where he and his co-workers could excel professionally while fostering friendships that would last a lifetime.
It was Oscar Recio who started a cherished CCAD tradition known as Night at the Ballpark, a special day when CCAD employees and their families could meet outside of work at a special baseball game with the Corpus Christi Hooks team.
It was he and his wife who would throw highly-anticipated Halloween parties where Oscar would dress like a member of the rock band, KISS.
It was Oscar who helped start the Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA) Scholarship Golf Tournament for AAAA’s local chapter. So far, the local chapter has awarded more than $75,000 in scholarships to CCADers and their families.
Bernie Recio wasn’t as ready as her husband to leave CCAD. She was originally planning to leave some time in 2015.
“There is still so much that I have not participated in,” she said. “I still haven’t learned how to metal spray, use the laser, or build a transmission or engine.”
Still, she doesn’t regret leaving earlier than planned.
“I have been talking about retiring for about three years now and hoping for an early out. I became a grandmother four years ago. I can now take care of my granddaughter and pick up my grandson from school.”
The Recios’ tenure at the depot reveals just one of many remarkable stories that make up CCAD’s untold history. This generation of retiring employees has defined our workforce as one of the best in Army aviation and they will not be forgotten.
Husband and wife, Oscar and Bernadette Recio, who met at CCAD retire together in a January ceremony. Photo by Ervey Martinez. (RELEASED)