About 30 percent of the civilian jobs within the 5th Signal Command would be eliminated in the next 18 months under a restructuring plan announced Wednesday.

The plan calls for 330 of the command’s 1,113 civilian positions to be eliminated, including 173 General Schedule jobs and 157 slotted for local-national employees. Some of the positions are currently unfilled.

The plan affects 27 units in Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Italy. Some would lose a small percentage of their civilian work force; others would experience large cuts or a total removal of civilians. A few locations would receive more job slots.

Employees and soldiers of the 5th Signal Command, based in Mannheim, Germany, service the computer, telephone and video systems at installations within U.S. Army Europe.

U.S. civilian employees affected by the plan would be laid off or moved to new jobs by Nov. 30, according to William Cole, a 5th Signal Command human resources specialist. Local-national employees would be laid off by June 30, 2007.

The biggest impact would be felt in Heidelberg, Germany, where 82 of the 124 civilian job slots in the 43rd Signal Battalion would be eliminated. All 24 of the battalion’s civilian jobs in Mann- heim would also be cut, as well as the majority of its 48 job slots in Kaiserslautern, Landstuhl and Pirmasens.

The 102nd Signal Battalion, located in Wiesbaden and other nearby communities, would lose 84 of its 128 jobs.

The downsizing parallels the Army’s ongoing reduction of forces in Europe, which calls for its population of 62,000 soldiers to be reduced to 24,000 by around 2010.

The number of soldiers in the command would not change “beyond standard reassignments and permanent change of station moves,” according to Monica Tullos, the command public affairs officer, in an e-mailed response.

The plan was announced to command employees on Tuesday in a video teleconference, according to Cole. More information about which jobs would be eliminated or added will be given to employees by unit commanders over the next two weeks.

In locations such as Mons and Brussels in Belgium, a combined 19 of 21 civilian positions would be cut. Other locations also have a high percentage of their civilian workers laid off.

“Through technology, we now have remote administration of most of the services provided by the command,” said Col. Stephen Walker, the command’s deputy commander, in an e-mailed response.

“The restructuring plans allow for server consolidation, centralization of system administration functions, network operations command and control, and increased information assurance.”

Workers scheduled to lose their jobs could attend personnel workshops that would be scheduled in the affected communities, according to a 5th Signal Command news release.

“Every effort will be made to place U.S. and local national employees into continuing positions,” the release stated.

A link on the command’s Web site is being established to inform workers about job opportunities, according to the release.

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