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The Army civilian hiring freeze enacted this summer has cost Army Community Services at Camp Zama one quarter of its staff and is causing a few program cutbacks as a result, said services director Mardy Clark.

The staff shortage of 25 percent is only two positions out of a staff of eight, Clark noted. “But it’s still 80 hours of work a week.”

The shortage has led to a little reorganization and more work for the remaining employees, but it has caused changes to only newcomers’ programs, he said.

In September, ACS canceled the newcomers’ bus tour of Camp Zama, Sagami Depot and Sagamihara Housing Area, and combined the two-day welcome brief into one day.

Clark said after the changes were implemented in September, some people expressed concerns that newcomers weren’t getting adequate information. But Clark said he is assuring everyone that the same material is being covered.

Clark said ACS also is looking to reduce its hours until the vacant positions are refilled. The office would open an hour later in the morning — at 8 a.m. — and close a half hour earlier in the afternoon — at 4:30 p.m. — if the reduction is approved, Clark said.

ACS also hopes to turn over a few programs it had adopted over the years, including the installation of the Mayors Program and the Community Information Exchange, to other offices on the base. Both of those programs are not really the service’s responsibility, Clark said.

Clark said the changes could be short-term. He said he hopes the hiring freeze will end with the start of the 2008 fiscal year starting October 2007.

ACS won’t change the bulk of its programs including family advocacy, exceptional family member, financial readiness and Army Emergency Relief, Clark said.

“We’re still as informative and fun as we were before.”

For more information, call Camp Zama’s ACS office at 263-4357.

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