KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — U.S. Army Installation Management Command will continue to hire workers deemed critical to support services, including child and youth services staff, firefighters, security guards and civilian police, in spite of an Army-wide civilian hiring freeze.

The Army last week announced a halt to all new civilian hires as well as the termination of all temporary and term employees, with the latter allowed to remain until their current appointments lapse. The Pentagon in January authorized civilian hiring freezes to avert deeper automatic military cuts if Congress and President Barack Obama fail to agree on an alternative deficit-reduction plan by March.

The Army civilian hiring-freeze guidance gave certain commanders the authority to approve exceptions to the freeze, an IMCOM news release said.

“I am authorizing the hiring to continue in the following program areas to ensure we continue to provide programs and services in support of critical missions, national security, safety of human life and the protection of private property,” Lt. Gen. Mike Ferriter, IMCOM’s commander, was quoted in the release as saying.

Ferriter said he was giving garrisons the approval to hire firefighters, security guards, civilian police, air traffic controllers, lifeguards, Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program staff, alcohol and substance abuse counselors and Child, Youth and School Services staff.

Officials with U.S. Army Garrison-Kaiserslautern are hopeful the hiring freeze exception for child care workers will help alleviate current staffing pressures at their child development centers. Recently, Army child development centers at Landstuhl, Kleber Kaserne and Miesau Army Depot had to limit hourly care programs to a same-day, space-available basis. Parents had previously been able to reserve hourly slots up to 30 days in advance. The centers have had to scale back other extra programs such as evening hours and child care during Army chapel services, said Mark Heeter, a USAG-Kaiserslautern spokesman.

In December, the Pentagon ordered a review of hiring practices at defense day care facilities worldwide after the Army said it was investigating about two dozen employees at one of its stateside facilities.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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