Status Report

NASA GRC Memo: Application for Voluntary Separation Incentive (Buyout) and Early Out Authority

By SpaceRef Editor
November 8, 2005
Filed under ,

NASA Glenn Research Center
Cleveland, Ohio

November 4, 2005

TO: Glenn Civil Service Employees

FROM: CF/Acting Chief, Office of Human Resources and Workforce Planning

SUBJECT: Application for Voluntary Separation Incentive (Buyout) and Early Out Authority

The Voluntary Separation Incentive (Buyout)/Voluntary Early Retirement (VERA) Plan submitted to Headquarters on October 21, 2005, has been approved. As a result, the Glenn Research Center is now authorized to conduct a buyout with the primary objective being to facilitate the rightsizing and rebalancing of skills in order to better position the Center to be more competitive and play a significant role in support of the President’s Exploration Vision.

Two VSIP/VERAs were conducted during FY 2005. The first was conducted in the December 2004-January 2005 timeframe. This VSIP/VERA was offered to 148 employees and resulted in 78 separations from the Center. The second was conducted in March 2005, offering 243 buyouts that resulted in 41 separations from the Center. Neither of the buyouts yielded the anticipated numbers. It was determined that, in order to meet identified programmatic, budgetary, and staffing changes, the Center needed to reopen the buyout window.

As a result of the reassessment, we requested approval to offer 208 buyouts. The competencies identified and the numbers of buyouts within the competency are as follows:

  • Engineering and Science Support (45)
  • Electrical and Electronic Systems (12)
  • Electron Device Technology (4)
  • Mechanical Systems (7)
  • Communication Networks and Engineering (10)
  • Structural Dynamics (2)
  • Structural Systems (5)
  • Advanced Materials and Processing Science (5)
  • Propulsion Systems and Testing (9)
  • Combustion Science (4)
  • Power Systems (4)
  • Software Engineering (11)
  • Optical Systems (3)
  • Aerodynamics (1)
  • Thermal Systems (1)
  • Fluid Systems (6)
  • Advanced Experimentation and Testing Technologies (5)
  • Business Management (10)
  • Professional Administrative Operations (8)
  • Program/Project Management (15)
  • Acquisition and Contract Management (CH only) (4)
  • Acquisition and Contract Management (all other) (1)
  • Business IT Systems (5)
  • Education Programs and Technologies (2)
  • Program/Project Analysis (2)
  • Research, Development or Flight Facility Planning (2)
  • Technical Work and Team Management (12)
  • Business Work and Team Management (10)
  • Project Work and Team Management (3)

Our plan for separation incentives (buyout amounts) will, as in the past, be the maximum allowable by law (i.e., up to $25,000).

In order to be eligible for the buyout, you must be included in the above listed competencies, either as a primary or secondary competency. Questions pertaining to your listed competency should be addressed, through your supervisor, to Mr. Scott R. Thomas at 3-2502 or Ms. Traci L. Savage at 3-2499.

The initial buyout application window will open November 28 and continue through December 9, 2005. Employees to which the buyout will be offered will be notified no later than the week of December 19, 2005. Separations could begin as early as December 31, 2005, but not later than January 3, 2006. Requests for extensions will be sent through the Office of Human Resources and Workforce Planning to Headquarters for approval of the Chief Human Capital Officer. Employees approved for an extension will be notified and must separate not later than March 31, 2006. If the number of eligible applicants exceeds the allowable number for any category, priority will be given to those employees with the earliest Federal service computation dates within the category.

The buyout legislation excludes from eligibility, re-employed annuitants, employees in receipt of a specific notice of involuntary separation for misconduct or unacceptable performance, and employees who previously received a buyout under any authority. Employees applying for disability retirement are also ineligible.

You will be asked to sign an agreement that says that, in exchange for an incentive payment, you agree voluntarily to resign or retire on a specific date. Although the separation is voluntary and generally can be withdrawn by the employee at any time prior to separation, in some cases, the Agency may require an employee to honor his or her agreement and separate the employee with a buyout on the agreed upon date, if harm or disruption would occur as a result of the employee’s retention. For example, management may have made a commitment to place another employee in the position, or abolish the position.

Employees are urged to take the application for an incentive seriously and be prepared to separate on the agreed date in the event that NASA has a valid reason to deny the employee’s request to withdraw the buyout agreement.

Application forms are available on the Office of Human Resources and Workforce Planning Web site at You will need to choose the appropriate forms based on your retirement system, either CSRS or FERS. Please download the form packages, complete the forms included in this package and turn them in no later than 4:30 p.m., December 9, 2005, to the Employee Benefits Office, Building 500, Room 1201. Employees requesting an extension must submit an appropriate justification signed by their supervisor in addition to the complete package of buyout/retirement application forms. 3

Employees accepted for the Buyout/Early Out are expected to report to Building 500, Room 3102 for an Exit Clearance Processing on December 29, 2005. You will be given the time at a later date. Representatives from the offices identified on the Employee Separation Clearance Record, NASA C-432a, will be available in the DEB Cafeteria, December 29, 2005, to finalize completion of that form.

Employees not immediately accepted for the Buyout will be held on a waiting list. As eligible applicants withdraw or decline, those on the waiting list will be notified as they become eligible. In fairness to your fellow employees, we request that if you are not seriously intending to separate with the buyout that you refrain from submitting an application.

An individual who has received a voluntary separation incentive payment under this authority and accepts any employment for compensation with the Government of the United States within 5 years after the date of the separation on which the payment is based shall be required to pay the entire amount of the incentive payment. In this context, “employment” includes working for a contractor in a way that creates a personal services relationship to the Government. To preclude the creation of such a personal service relationships, in previous buyouts the Center has not permitted employees who have taken a buyout and gone to work for a Center contractor to have a duty station on the Center. While the commitment to avoid creating personal service relationships still remain the same, the Center will no longer preclude employees who accept a buyout from working for a Center contractor on site.

The Office of Personnel Management has approved a blanket waiver allowing employees who do not meet the minimum 5 years of Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) to continue their coverage upon retirement. OPM will grant pre-approved waivers to employees who have been:

  • Covered under the FEHB Program continuously since the beginning date of the Agency’s latest statutory VSIP authority, or OPM approved VSIP or VERA authority; and
  • Retire during the statutory VSIP or OPM approved VSIP/VERA period; and
  • Receive a VSIP; or
  • Take early optional retirement; or
  • Take discontinued service retirement based on an involuntary separation due to reduction-in-force, directed reassignment, reclassification to a lower grade, or abolishment of position.

All information and application forms are available on the Office of Human Resources and Workforce Planning Web site at: Questions regarding application for buyout and retirement should be directed to Ms. M. Susan Kiley or Ms. Therease C. Ross in the Employee Benefits Office at extension 3-2848 or 3-8550 respectively.


Rick J. Bailer

SpaceRef staff editor.